There are many romantic ways to spend winter days in Paris, like a moonlit boat along the Seine or beneath the cozy glow of a heated terrace with a glass of wine. But, unfortunately, Paris rarely receives much more than a coating of snow.
Here is everything you need to truly enjoy the most delightful time of the year in Paris, from the most magnificent settings for Christmas performances to the greatest places to shop, stay, and celebrate.
Top 5 Tips to Spend the Perfect Christmas in Paris
- Stroll beneath the twinkling lights on the Champs-Elysees.
Paris’s iconic avenue, lined with opulent retailers, barely needs a glow-up, but that’s exactly what it receives each winter due to 400 or so trees adorned with vivid red lights. La Flamboyance, a glittering performance, extends from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde Ferris wheel, where you may have a spin before visiting the Tuileries Christmas market.
Consider taking an open-top Christmas lights bus tour to see the city’s sparkling wonders from a unique perspective if you want to learn more about how the City of Light lives up to its name throughout the holiday season.
- Take a classical Christmas concert at one of the city’s famed churches.
Although it may not be the most divine way to celebrate Christmas, drinking Champagne in the church is undoubtedly one of the more memorable. Paris’ cathedrals are worthwhile to visit just for their stunning architecture. Some of the gorgeous locations in the city not only host religious services but also concerts in their revered spaces, like Sainte-Chapelle. This striking Gothic church is the former residence of the kings of France and hosts classical concerts beneath the stunning stained-glass windows up through New Year’s. It is situated on the Île de la Cité, the island where Paris was first founded.
- Ice skate against iconic backdrops.
If you want to enjoy the picturesque ice rink surrounded by wooden chalets and the aroma of Nutella crepes, you might want to hold off on the mulled wine while visiting the Tuileries Christmas Market. Over the years, several ice rinks have come and gone in Paris, with closures also being impacted by the epidemic. Highlights from the past that we expect to see return include a rink on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, another beneath the glass dome of the Grand Palais, and one right in the middle of the Marais, in the plaza of Hotel de Ville. However, those reopening this year are still up in the air.
- Cruise along the Seine on Christmas Eve.
The greatest way to experience Paris is on foot, but it’s also fun to see it from a different angle, and there’s no better way to do so than on a boat along the Seine. Tours are available every day of the year, but on Christmas Eve and Day, a few vendors advertise unique Christmas options that include five-course meals, Champagne, and other things.
- Eat, drink, and be merry.
Many businesses close for the week between Christmas and New Year’s, so if you’ve been saving eateries on Instagram for months, make sure they’re still open by checking their website or Instagram account. If so, reserve a table far in advance.