Christmas In Paris 2016 – Le Plus Merveilleux Time Of The Year!

Christmas in Paris is certainly a magical time. Shops glow with colorful Christmas displays, patisserie shelves groan with seasonal delights. Restaurants create special Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve menus that are filled with the bounty of the season — fresh oysters from Brittany, foie gras, truffles, chestnuts and champagne.

150,000 Christmas lights adorn the Champs Elysées and intricate window displays entertain children and parents alike at the Grand Magasins. Christmas concerts are performed throughout the city at some very famous venues: La Sainte Chapelle, Notre Dame, Palais Garnier and Opera Bastille. Remember that Christmas activities tend to sell out early. If you can't get a December 25 booking, why not try dates just before or just after Noël?

Christmas in Paris 2016 – Activities

Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge & Seine River Cruise

Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge & Seine River Cruise

We love this all-in-one activity that combines the Eiffel Tower, French cuisine, the Seine River, and the world's most popular cabaret — the winning ingredients for a special evening out in Paris.

The night begins at the 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant, with views overlooking the Seine and Trocadero, with a 3-course meal. After dessert, cruise on the river to admire the Christmas lights before departing to Moulin Rouge for a lively performance at the historic cabaret.

This combined activity is available throughout December including New Year's Day, but you must book early!

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Moulin Rouge – VIP Seating + Champagne
  • Spend a night during the Christmas season taking in the cabaret from an exclusive seat on the private balcony at Moulin Rouge while sipping champagne and nibbling Dalloyau macaroons. Available most dates in December including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
    Book Now, Likely To Sell Out

City Lights Dinner Cruise Along the Seine

City Lights Dinner Cruise Along the Seine

Spend a magical evening during the Christmas season floating down the Seine, enjoying the lights of the City of Lights, while dining on a 3-courses of the best in French cuisine.

The evening begins when the Bateaux Parisiens driver meets you at your hotel and whisks you to the river. There you board your dinner cruise boat, specially designed for great viewing and great dining. Then it's three hours of magical cruising along the most famous, and most beautiful river in the world. (At least that's what we think!)

When you book you're able to choose from three seating arrangements. We prefer what's called the Service Privilege Menu, with private window tables. Three courses, aperitif, wine, mineral water, and coffee are included, as is return to your hotel. Available every day December and into January, including the entire Christmas week, but book now to reserve your table.

VIP Dinner Cruise on a Private Yacht

VIP Dinner Cruise on a Private Yacht

Just imagine yourself aboard a private yacht in Paris — richly finished in hardwoods, brass, and leather — floating down the Seine and being served a gourmet dinner prepared by a Michelin chef. It's easy to see why we love this dinner cruise.

The yacht Don Juan II also sports an upper deck where the view is great and drinks are served, a private lounge, and handsome furnishing in the dining room. Your evening is arranged by our Paris Concierge, so you know it's going to be good. We suggest you ask him about pickup from your hotel as well, using the inquiry form.

Dinner on the Eiffel Tower + Illuminations River Cruise

Eiffel Tower Small Group Tour

Here's one more river cruise + dinner we want to tell you about. Once again it's a combination of two iconic activities, creating a magical winter night in Paris.

Enjoy the panoramic views of Paris Christmas lights in the distance from the 58 Tour Eiffel on level one of Eiffel Tower — the best vantage point in the city. The restaurant itself is styled like the airships of an earlier era and imparts a nice nostalgic feeling, but with really good food!

Your evening's not over yet. After dinner you stroll to the nearby banks of the Seine for a one-hour illuminations cruise. The evening includes pickup from your hotel and return at the end. Tours are available throughout the Christmas season, but you must book very early! Seriously.

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Eiffel Tower Christmas Dinner – Limited Availability!

Picture this. You & your special one overlooking the city of Paris while enjoying a multi-course Christmas dinner on the Eiffel Tower.

It's the stuff dreams are made of — if your dream involves being treated like a VIP in Paris. You can book this event every day in December. The Eiffel Tower is open daily including Christmas Day & New Year's Day. Includes skip-the-line ticket for fast access.

Christmas in Paris 2016 – Classical Music & Ballet

Christmas Concerts at La Sainte Chapelle

Christmas Concerts at La Sainte Chapelle

We can't think of a better way to celebrate the holiday season than a classical music concert at the stunning Gothic church on Île de la Cité.

La Sainte Chapelle, the 14th-century personal chapel of the kings, has just undergone a restoration with extensive cleaning and repairing to the structure's famous stained-glass windows, so everything is shiny and beautiful.

Experience the royal chapel with works by Vivaldi, Pachelbel, Bach, Monteverdi and other timeless composers. There are usually special performances on Christmas Eve, and December 26 through to New Year's Eve. Book as soon as possible, because the concerts around Christmas will sell out. (Some tickets won't be available until autumn, so be sure to check back here.)

Special Performances at Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

There are usually one or two outstanding concert events at Notre Dame during the holiday season.

Grab the rare chance to hear sacred masterpieces in this, the most famous cathedral in the world. So far, for Christmas 2016, a concert of Gregorian chant and medieval music has been announced for December 29, but be sure to check the ticket link in the autumn to discover what other performance tickets are available.

Swan Lake at Opera Bastille

Swan Lake at Opera Bastille

In Paris, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a seeing a performance of Tchaikovsky's most famous ballet, Swan Lake. This magical show (which was, by the way, Tchaikovsky's first ballet) is based on the legends of young girls being turned into swans. It's a perennial fave and should be on your must-see list. Performed at Opera Bastille on many dates from December 07 though 31. If you want to see it on New Year's Eve, you'd better book right now.

Holiday Season Performances at Palais Garnier

Holiday Season Performances at Palais Garnier

Another must-see in Paris at Christmas is a performance at the stunning Belle Epoque marvel, Palais Garnier. The building itself is as marvellous as any performance ever held there. Every year there are seasonal concerts and ballets and any one of them is worth seeing. So far, for Christmas 2016, three performances have been announced — an opera, a ballet, and a recital — but be sure to check back as the year goes on to sign up for a wonderful evening at this palace.

All the 2016 Christmas Concerts in Paris

In addition to lights, goodwill, lots of good food & wine, Christmas in Paris means music, music, music. Not just in the modern concert halls, but also in the historic churches and cathedrals of Paris.

A Christmas concert at one of these historic venues is something you will never forget. More concert events will be added as the festive season nears, so be sure to check back in autumn.

Christmas in Paris 2016 – Day Excursions

VIP – The Best of Versailles

Skip-the-Lines Tour, Grand Canal Lunch & The Grand Trianon

Best of Versailles

Paris is magical in December, and the magic continues beyond the city gates. There are so many wonderful experiences to be had on day trips from Paris. And this is the perfect Paris Noel day trip!

You experience the best of Versailles in the best ways. Travel by luxury caravan, then skip past the entrance lines with a priority-access ticket. See the State Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, and then explore the Gardens of Versailles, beautiful even in winter. And then there's the 3-course lunch by the Grand Canal, followed by visits to the Grand Trianon and the Queen's Hamlet. VIP tour available Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays, including December 23 & 30.

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Skip-the-Line Versailles Tour with Hotel Pickup & Return

Spend a Day in the Land of the Bubbly

Small-Group Day Trip to Champagne

"I am drinking stars," the champagne monk Dom Perignon said upon tasting the first glass of a sparkling wine.

Now it's your turn to taste stars in the legendary Champagne Region of France during your Christmas sojourn in Paris. Your senses will be on overload as you wander through the Roman chalk caves, see how champagne is made, and taste the bubbly in elegant salons of Grand Maisons de Champagne .

The day begins with your driver/guide meeting you at your Paris address then whisking you off through rolling hills towards Reims, the Birthplace of Bubbly. Maximum 8 people to ensure you get enough champagne! Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays, including December 23, 26 & 30.

Visit the Historic D-Day Beaches

Visit the Historic D-Day Beaches

It will be a poignant day trip from Paris to the Normandy battlefields and landing beaches of World War II.

You are driven through picturesque Normandy countryside to the Caen Memorial. After lunch (included), visit Pointe du Hoc, the German defensive battlement that was taken by American troops during the invasion. See Juno Beach, Omaha Beach, and the Omaha Beach Visitor Center, where you will learn powerful details about the beginning of the end of World War II. We suggest you opt for hotel pickup and return. Tours are available daily throughout December.

Christmas in Paris 2016 – Food & Wine Events

Christmas Day Dinner Cruise on the Seine

Christmas Dinner Cruise on the Seine

Plan a very special Christmas in Paris — an evening with dinner on the world's favorite river. On a boat on the the Seine, glide past illuminated Paris landmarks as your 3-course meal is served. The seasonal menu is prepared by a chef from the Academie Culinaire de France.

We recommend you select the service premier — a private table is reserved for you at the front of the bateaux with extra appetizers, aperitifs and liquers. Reservations are available daily through December including Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. But, you must book early!

Christmas Gourmet Tour of Paris

Gourmet Christmas Tour of Paris

In Paris, La Saison Des Fêtes, the holiday season, is all about great food.

On this small-group walking tour of the City of Celebration, you delve deep into the world of seasonal goodness. And you sample heartily! The tour starts at the renowned Christmas market on Place Saint-Sulpice, right in front of the magnificent church, and wanders through Saint-Germain. Bonnes Fêtes !

Wine Tasting in a Cellar near the Louvre

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Picture this — a certified wine sommelier leads you on a tasting tour of the top French wines as you sample artisanal bread, French cheeses and cured meats. And it all takes place in a wine cellar in central Paris.

You can choose from a basic one-hour tasting or a longer tasting with cheese and charcuterie, but we prefer the even-longer tasting experience with champagne, six grand cru wines, and le grand cheese and charcuterie platter. Available daily in December except for Christmas Eve & Christmas Day.

Christmas in Paris 2016 – Seasonal Events

Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets

Bundle up warm and go on exploring to see how the French celebrate Christmas. Every year seasonal Christmas markets spring up in many quartiers of Paris. It's where Parisians shop for crafts, decorations, and other seasonal specialties. From the middle of November to early January you can find Christmas Markets at these locations —

  • Saint-Sulpice (and Père Noël Village), 6th Arrondissement
  • Saint-Germain-des-Prés (and Père Noël Village), 6th Arrondissement
  • Place de la Nation, 11th Arrondissement
  • Place des Abbesses in Montmartre, 18th Arrondissement
  • Gare de l'Est, 10th Arrondissement
  • Trocadero, 16th Arrondissement

Christmas Lights on Champs Elysées

Christmas Lights

Paris lights up for the holidays and you find light displays in shop windows and on streets throughout the city. But the most famous light show, and perhaps the most spectacular, is on Champs Elysées.

If you're lucky enough to be in Paris in mid-November, you can watch the Christmas lights be turned on by celebrities and French dignitaries in a ceremony that kicks off the holiday season.

Christmas Eve & New Year's Eve Schedule

Christmas Eve & New Year's Eve Schedule

Most shops, museums and many restaurants will be open. Although Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are not official holidays in France, the train stations will be packed as Parisians head out for their Christmas getaway.

But be warned — chocolatiers, fromageries and anywhere food and wine are sold will be jam-packed with locals stocking up for Christmas New Years celebrations. Make sure to stock up yourself as most everything will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day. If you plan to dine out, make reservations well in advance around the holidays.

The good news is that the Eiffel Tower is open 365 days a year.

Christmas in Paris 2016 – Churches & Cathedrals

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Notre Dame Cathedral – Christmas Eve & Christmas Day

As you'd expect, at all the historic churches and cathedrals of Paris there are plenty of religious services during Christmas in Paris. If you're planning on attending Notre Dame Cathedral for Christmas Eve, our advice is to arrive early. On both days the cathedral opens at 7:45 AM and the first mass begins at 8:00 AM. English Mass begins at 2:00 PM, French mass at 4:00 PM with the final mass at 6:15 PM to 7:00 PM. The cathedral closes at 7 PM.
Calendar for Christmas Events

Sacre Coeur Basilica, Montmartre

Celebrate Christmas at the famous snow-white basilica set on the highest point of Paris. There is a Christmas Eve organ concert at 10:00 PM and an 11:00 PM vigil and Midnight Mass. On Christmas Day there is Mass at 7:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 6:00 PM & 10:00 PM. It's recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes before the service.
Sacre Coeur Christmas Schedule

Sainte-Etienne-du-Mont

Just kitty-corner from the Pantheon, Sainte-Etienne features stained-glass windows that date from the 16th and 17th centuries. By the way, the steps on the northwest side of the church were used as a location for Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris ! Place Sainte-Genevieve, 5th Arrondissement
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Saint Alexandre Russian Orthodox Cathedral

Set in the 8th Arrondissement close to Parc Monceau, this was the first Orthodox church in France, (established in 1861). Pablo Picasso and Olga Khokhlova were married here in 1918. 12, rue Daru.
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The American Cathedral in Paris

This historic monument is a a center for English-speakers in Paris. 23, avenue George V, 8th.
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American Church in Paris

This was the first American church established in Paris, in 1814. It's located on the left bank of the Seine between Pont d'Alma and Pont des Invalides. 65, quai d’Orsay, 7th.
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