Spend Christmas in Paris 2023 | Cabarets, Operas, and Christmas Lights
Step into a world of endless magic by celebrating the "most wonderful time of the year" in the city where dreams come true, Paris! And to make your holiday the merriest it can be, here's a curated list of exciting things to do on Christmas in Paris.
Top 12 Things to do on Christmas in Paris
1. Marvel at Christmas Lights
From popular tourist attractions in Central Paris to quieter locations like Bercy Village, the city welcomes Christmas every year with extravagantly decorated streets that have become a must-see for both Parisians and tourists who are lucky enough to visit Paris at Christmas.
Check out the best Christmas light displays here:
2. Go Ice Skating
As one of Paris’s most popular Christmas offerings, ice skating is the perfect outdoor winter activity. With the onset of December in Paris, most Parisians strap on their skates and head to one of the city’s many famous ice skating rinks.
Check out the best places to go ice skating here:
3. Visit the Christmas Markets
Yet another one of the many activities that draw tourists to celebrate Christmas in Paris, the marchés de noël are places across the city where the festive joy comes to life. More specifically, these Christmas markets are known for their artisanal French goods, gifts, and traditional French fare.
The best Christmas markets of the season are in:
4. Attend a Christmas Concert
The diversity of performances during Christmas in Paris ranges from classical opera and ballet performances to newer rock and jazz pieces - all equally magical, of course. It is quite an experience to witness one of these shows, especially in a venue as historically renowned as La Sainte Chapelle.
Catch the best Christmas concerts at:
9. Attend Opera and Ballet Performances
The performing arts are deeply entrenched in Parisian culture and history, and thus, to absorb Paris’s heritage entirely, it is important to attend opera and ballet performances in popular theatres such as Palais Garnier and Paris Opera Bastille during Christmastime.
The most exciting opera and ballet performances to go to:
10. Embark on a Horse Carriage Ride
Yet another romantic way to make your way about the City of Love is taking a horse carriage ride around Paris. These old-timey carriages take you around popular tourist attractions like the Arc de Triomphe.
11. Attend a Workshop
Learn a new skill during the festive season - because who said vacations can only be leisurely? The possibilities are endless, from learning how to make your own French scrumptious goodies like croissants and macarons to making your own luxury bag with Chanel fabric!
Most fun workshops to attend on Christmas:
- Paris wine-making workshop
- Workshop in Paris: Create your Own Perfume
- Small-Group French Cooking Class in Paris
12. Head to a Department Store
While department stores seem like the least Christmassy location to be in when the festivities are in full swing, Parisians would beg to differ. As a tourist in Paris at Christmas, you can expect to see some of the most extravagant Christmas trees in department stores.
Best department stores to visit on Christmas:
Frequently Asked Questions About Celebrating Christmas in Paris
Christmas is one of the best times of the year to visit Paris, as the city has many exclusive experiences to offer to tourists during the holiday season.
During the magical occasion of Christmas in Paris, you can go on horse carriage rides, river cruises, shopping at Christmas markets, and viewing Christmas lights around the city.
Christmas in Paris is usually a busy time, as tourists flock to the city and locals head out of their houses to take in the Christmas air outside.
Almost all places are open in Paris on Christmas, except for many popular shopping destinations and most museums in the city.
The Notre-Dame Christmas Market on Square Viviani and the Champs de Mars Christmas Market, near the Eiffel Tower, are Paris's most popular Christmas markets.
Many restaurants are unfortunately closed on Christmas in Paris, though almost all places in the Jewish district of Le Marais might be open - a particularly popular restaurant there is L'As du Fallafel.
Hotels in the eighth arrondisement are considered to be the best places to stay in Paris for Christmas, as these are closest to the biggest Christmas markets and the famous Champs Elysées avenue.
Don't miss out on traditional Parisian favorites during Christmas, such as bûche de Noël, foie gras, escargot, and shellfish - and, of course, vin chaud.
Restaurants such as Le Train Bleu and Bouillon Julien are considered to be Paris's Christmas and Christmas Eve favourites, for both tourists and residents.
You can catch the best viewing of Christmas lights in Paris by going to Avenue de Champs Elysées, Bercy Village, and Place Vendome.
Parisians spend their Christmas by gorging on feasts including lobsters, foie gras, and plenty of cheeses, while also indulging in a traditional offering of Thirteen Desserts. Families head to watch Nativity scenes and explore Christmas markets throughout the month of December.