Paris is a place with a mythical, magical quality. Every day of the year can be special, but the City of Light really lives up to its name during the holiday season. It’s almost impossible not to fall head first into a pool of holiday spirit in Paris. Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy this most wonderful time of year.
1. See the Christmas lights on display throughout Paris with our walking trip of a few of the best and brightest. You’ll stroll past the futurist light display on the Champs Elysées, see the elegant shimmer on the ritzy avenue Montaigne and window-shop beneath the lights of the fabulous glimmering jewels at the Place Vendôme.
2. Visit one of the many Christmas markets in Paris. The Champs Elysées has one of the largest collections of chalets, selling everything from scarves to toys, soap and ornaments. And no trip to the markets is complete without vin chaud (warm spiced wine).
3. If you have more time on your hands, grab a train to one of the Alsatian Christmas markets in Strasbourg and Colmar. These are the granddaddies of all markets, with the entire cities transformed into a winter wonderland.
4. Window-shop at one of the grands magasins, where windows are decked out with the most festive of holiday decor. Printemps has Dior-inspired windows this year, with elegantly outfitted dolls floating throughout some of Paris’s prime locales. Louis Vuitton has adorned the storefront of Galeries Lafayette with polar bears, penguins and other creatures sporting some serious high fashion. Le Bon Marché also went with an animal theme, with singing birds soaring throughout Paris.
5. Lace up and utilize one of the ice-skating rinks set up around town, like the one in front of the Hôtel de Ville or the Eiffel Tower, or take advantage of a spectacular opportunity to skate under the dome of the Grand Palais.
6. Take a spin on the seasonal Ferris wheel on the Place de la Concorde for a grand view of the lights down the Champs Elysées.
7. Get your toe tapping with a holiday concert in a majestic setting like Notre Dame or la Sainte-Chapelle. Many churches have special offerings around this time.
8. It wouldn’t be the holidays in Paris without a fabulous French meal. Many of the large hotels are outfitted with holiday finery, like le Cinq at the Four Seasons, which has a new theme each year to get you in the spirit. Treat yourself to a luxurious meal, or for a less expensive alternative, enjoy une coupe de champagne and toast the wonderful holidays in Paris.
Le Grand Palais des Glaces
Listing of holiday concerts
Visit the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau for more details on dates and times of openings and activities.
Editor’s note: Our partner Easy Pass Trips has the perfect way to do New Year’s Eve at the Eiffel Tower—no waiting in line. And if you’re a GG2P Travel Club member, you’ll get a much better deal.