We Pick The 45 Best Things To Do In Paris for December 2015

If you're lucky enough to be in Paris during this month of holidays, you'll be rewarded with the most magical events of the year. The city sparkles with a million fairy lights, and hundreds of decorated trees line the boulevards. Christmas in Paris is also a busy season! Concerts at the recently renovated La Sainte Chapelle, Palais Garnier or the newly-opened Philharmonie de Paris sell out quickly, so we book as early as possible.

One of our favorite things to do in Paris in December is to plan a day trip beyond the city gates. Visit the Valley of 1000 Castles and taste Loire Valley wines, explore the famous Château of Versailles, or sip bubbly in Champagne and return to Paris the same day. Everything is taken care of on the day excursions we recommended. You just need to sit back and enjoy! One more thing — for readers of Paris Insiders Guide (that's you!) the Paris Pass is offering a 10% discount when you use Paris Insiders Exclusive Discount Code: INSIDERGUIDE.

Most Popular Activities

Things to Do in Paris December 2015

Champs Elysées Dinner + Christmas Lights River Cruise

Christmas Lights + Seine River Cruise

Set aside an evening for a magical Christmas night taking in the stunning seasonal lights along the Avenue Champs Elysées.

Start with a Seine River Cruise to see more of the sparkling Christmas lights of Paris. After your illuminations tour along this most famous river, you're taken to your reserved table at a restaurant on the Champs Elysées for a multi-course dinner with wine. Tours are available daily throughout December, but they will sell out!

Christmas & New Years Eve at Moulin Rouge

Christmas & New Years Eve at Moulin Rouge

Make this holiday season even more special by taking in a festive show at this icon of Montmartre. There are many seasonal options to choose from — ranging from a show with champagne, a 5-course dinner menu plus the show; to a New Year's Eve Gala dinner, champagne and a dance that goes until dawn! This popular event sells out on most days, but even faster during the holidays, so be certain to book early.
Christmas at Moulin RougeBook Right Away

Skip-the-Line Eiffel Tower Tour + River Cruise

Skip-the-Line Eiffel Tower Tour + River Cruise

Don't be left out in the cold! The wait to get up the Eiffel Tower is always hours long, even in December. But don't worry, we have a solution. Book a skip-the-line tour and your guide will walk you past the ticket lines and into the elevator for the tower. Drink in the view to your heart's content, then stroll to the river bank for a one-hour cruise. You've got better things to do in Paris than to stand in line!
Skip-the-Line Eiffel Tower Tour + River CruiseInformation & Booking

Skip the Line at the Louvre Museum

A Paris Insiders Guide Recommendation

Skip the Line at the Louvre Museum

The Louvre is very, very popular, and that means lots of visitors and very long lineups. But here's an Insiders secret on how to skip the lines. It's easy as 1-2-3.

1. Book ahead.
2. Get skip-the-line fast access by booking this guided tour.
3. Enjoy your small-group walk through the world's most popular museum.

The tour is especially designed to feature the most famous works, the ones you must see when in Paris including Venus de Milo ; da Vinci's Mona Lisa ; and Delacroix's famous Liberty Leading the People, depicting the French Revolution. Don't waste your time or get lost in the mammoth 60,000 square foot museum — see it like a Paris VIP.

A Parisian Night on the Town

A Paris Insiders Guide favourite

A Night on the Town

In the city world famous for its nightlife here's how to get the full Paris nighttime experience. A fabulous dinner, with a wine tasting, followed by a jazz club and a night tour combined with a cabaret in Montmartre. These mix-and-match ideas come from our Paris Concierge, so you know it's going to be a great evening!
A Night on the Town Read Lots More

Airport Transfers

Airport Transfer

This is one of our best Insiders tips — arrange your transportation from the airport into central Paris before you leave home. It's easy to get tired when traveling, so it's good to know what's going to happen when you finally arrive. You can easily book a shuttle van service right to your hotel. In fact, here's the service our readers like, and it's cheaper than a taxi —
Paris Shuttle Arrival TransferBook Your Transfer

But our very best tip, is to arrange for a private car transfer from the airport, provided by our trusted Paris pal and driver, Manu. He will meet you at the arrival gate and whisk you into the city in his Mercedes S-Class. Honestly, it's the only way to do it!
Manu Prestige Service More Information & Booking

Fave Day Trips From Paris

Things to Do in Paris December 2015

Best of Paris & Versailles Day Trip

A Paris Insiders Guide Favourite

Best of Paris & Versailles Day Trip

On this action-packed, full-day tour, experience the best of both Paris and fabulous Versailles. First is a tour of the top Paris attractions before lunch at the Eiffel Tower. Best part? You skip the entrance lines with your priority-access ticket.

In the afternoon, you're whisked off to the Palace of Versailles, and then finish your day with a sunset Seine River dinner cruise. Numbers are limited on this small-group tour, so you'll want to book well in advance, especially during December.

Paris City Tour + Eiffel Tower Lunch + Versailles + Dinner CruiseInformation & Booking

If That's Sold Out, Consider These Versailles Alternatives at Christmas

Private Tour of the Loire Valley Chateaux

Private Tour of the Loire Valley Chateaux

The Top 4 Loire Valley ToursRead Our Recommandations

With your private/driver guide showing you the way, explore Château d'Amboise, Château de Chenonceau and Château de Chambord, three of the most magnificent castles in the Loire Valley. In between château visits, enjoy a 3-course lunch (included) at a nearby 18th-century inn nearby. This VIP tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off, lunch and private guide.

Private Tour of the Loire Valley ChateauxInformation & Booking

Small-Group Tour of Versailles from Paris

Small-Group Tour of Versailles from Paris

Instead of worrying about maps, trains, tickets, and guide books, take the VIP route in a private luxury van. At the palace an audio guide adds illuminating details to make the past come alive. You can select a morning or afternoon departure. Numbers are limited on this small-group Versailles tour, so book well in advance, especially during December. Includes roundtrip transportation from your Paris hotel, audio guide, andskip-the entrance lines with a priority-access ticket.
Small-Group Tour of Versailles from ParisComplete Information

Spend a Day in the Magical Champagne Region

Spend a Day in the Magical Champagne Region

A day spent in the Champagne region will be a highlight of your holiday visit to Paris. You are met at your Paris address by your driver/guide and whisked off through rolling hills and world-class vineyards to Reims, capital of the Champagne region.

After touring this historic city, including a visit to its famous cathedral, the champagne houses beckon and your sampling of bubbly begins! Available Mondays, Wednesday & Fridays.

The Historic D-Day Beaches of Normandy

A Paris Insiders Guide favourite

D-Day Tour

More than seventy years have passed since the Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, the brave action that spelled the beginning of the end of WWII. Take a day to step back in time, exploring the beaches, the monuments and the museums on a trip that returns you to Paris the same day.
Visit the D-Day Beaches – Sundays & Wednesdays Complete Information
Thursdays & SaturdaysInformation & Booking

Essential Day Trips from Paris

Trips from Paris

For VIPs & the Adventurous — Private Day Trips from Paris

These are just a few of the glorious things to be found not that far outside the gates of Paris. Our time in France is always more memorable when we take a day or two to experience the wonders of the country that are within easy reach of Paris. Here, we review our favorite day trips.
Essential Day Trips from Paris Our Recommendations

Paris Pass Discounts – Exclusive to You!

Paris Pass Discounts

Paris Pass is offering a special discount, exclusively for our readers, but only for a limited time.

The Paris Pass saves you a lot of money and time, getting you inside almost all the museums for free (and as many times as you want) and giving you unlimited rides on the Metro.

With this special offer you will save an additional 10% on all 4-day and 6-day Paris Passes. What used to be just a good deal is now a great deal. And, since the clock doesn't start ticking on the Paris Pass until you first use it, you can buy it way in advance.

Thanks to Paris Pass for making this special offer to our readers.

  • Be sure to use this code – INSIDERGUIDE
  • Save 10% on all Paris Passes Buy Yours Now »

Classical Music, Opera & Ballet

Things to Do in Paris December 2015

Concerts at La Sainte Chapelle

A Paris Insiders Guide Favourite

La Sainte Chapelle

You're going to love listening to classical music performed in the stunning La Sainte Chapelle. The Holy Chapel was built by Louis IX on Ile de la Cité in the courtyard of the Royal Palace. This is an especially opportune time to visit as the renovation has just been completed and the rose-stained glass wall is glittering.

Come for the music and be amazed by the recently restored stained glass and Gothic architecture. Sitting amongst these magnificent windows is an experience not to be missed, especially while listening some of the greatest pieces of music ever composed.
Christmas Concerts at La Sainte Chapelle – December 3 through to December 29 — Book Your Seats Now
New Year's Eve Concert at La Sainte ChapelleBuy Your Tickets

Concerts at Notre-Dame Cathedral

Concerts at Notre-Dame Cathedral

Could there be anything more thrilling that listening to classical music in the word's most famous 850-year-old cathedral? Believe us, attending a concert at Notre-Dame Cathedral will be one of the highlights of your trip to Paris.

Bach, Handel, Mendelssohn & Monteverdi – December 1 – Information & Tickets
Organ Recital – December 8 – Information & Tickets
Poznan Boys Choir – December 22 – Information & Tickets
Misericordia Domini for the Holy Year of Mercy – December 15 – Information & Tickets

Concerts at La Madeleine

Concerts at La Madeleine

The church's famous pipe organ, built in 1846, is still used today in concerts at L'Église de la Madeleine, located on the place of the same name. The neo-classical structure's history reaches back to Napoleon, the French Revolution and Louis XVIII. The now Roman Catholic church is recognized by its 52 Corinthian columns (each 20 meters higth). It's also an ideal venue for a classical music concert.

Vivaldi's Four Seasons – December 1, 9, 13, 16, 23, 26, 27, 29; January 1, 2 – Information & Tickets
Mozart's Requiem – December 19 – Information & Tickets

New Year's Eve Musical Events in Paris

La Bayadère – Paris Ballet

Paris Ballet

First performed in Saint Petersburg in 1877, La Bayadère tells the exotic love story between a dancer and and a warrior. The ballet remained unknown outside Russia until 1961, when the Kirov Ballet performed it in Paris at Palais Garnier featuring the young star dancer, Rudolf Nureyev.
• Opera Bastille
• Many dates in December including Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve
La Bayadère, Paris BalletReserve Your Seats

Le Chateau de Barbe-Bleue & La Voix Humaine

Le Chateau de Barbe-Bleue & La Voix Humaine

Music by Bela Bartok accompanies a performance of the one-act opera Le Chateau de Barbe-Bleue (Bluebeard's Castle), first performed in 1918. Combine that with La Voix Humaine, an one-act lyrical tragedy libretto written by Jean Cocteau, and you have a complete evening of stellar performances by the Paris Opera Company.
• Palais Garnier
• November 29, December 4, 6, 8, 10, 12
Le Chateau de Barbe-Bleue & La Voix HumaineInformation & Tickets

Our Top Food & Wine Activities

Things to Do in Paris December 2015

Eiffel Tower Christmas Dinner – NEW!

Eiffel Tower Christmas Dinner

Other December Activities That Include an Eiffel Tower DinnerOur Reviews

Picture this, you & your loved one(s) overlooking the city of Paris while enjoying a multi-course Christmas dinner on the Eiffel Tower. It's the stuff of which dreams are made — 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.
Eiffel Tower Christmas or New Years DinnerYou Must Book Right Now

Gourmet French Food Walking Tour

Gourmet French Food Walking Tour

Your start your culinary afternoon on the historic Left Bank, a virtual gourmet haven. At a traditional fromagerie you learn about French cheeses while you sample them. Next up are freshly baked baguettes followed by French wine. Don't forget the foie gras! And, don't worry, any calories you consume are going to be burned off by the walk!
Gourmet French Food Walking TourComplete Information

Wine Tasting in the Heart of Paris

Wine Tasting in the Heart of Paris

Sign up for a 2-hour tasting — that allows enough time to explore all the best wine regions of France, including Champagne. In this informal & informative wine tasting a professional French sommelier pours wine from the regions while giving an in-depth explanation of each. It takes place in a charming, centrally-located wine cellar .
Wine Tasting in the Heart of ParisLearn More

Chocolate Walking Tour

Chocolate Walking Tour

In Paris, chocolate is a major food group. At least that how it seems, what with over 200 speciality (and amazing) chocolatiers. On this tour you walk from chocolate shop to chocolate shop in the historic 1st Arrondissement of Paris. Hear about the secrets and specialities of each chocolatier, and sample all along the route. On a small group tour like this you get hands-on attention at a relaxed pace.
Chocolate Walking TourInfo & Booking

Market Tour & Classic French Cooking

Market Tour & Classic French Cooking

Our Paris Concierge has put together this food activity for people like us, who love Paris + food + shopping. Start off at one of the city's busiest open-air markets where you learn all about French foods found and you buy the makings for lunch. Back in the kitchen your chef/guide shows you how to turn your purchases into a fabulous lunch. Shop, cook, eat — a perfect day in Paris.
Market Tour & Classic French CookingBooking Details

Wine Tasting with Cheese and Charcuterie Lunch

Wine Tasting

In the cellar of a very popular wine bar in central Paris your expert sommerlier takes you on a guided tasting of the wines of France, from one end to the other. Learn a lot about how to choose and taste wine. Even better, there's a board of French specialty cheeses and charcuterie to match each wine.
Wine Tasting in ParisBook Online

Skip the Line – Evening Louvre Tour and Wine Tasting

A Paris Insiders Guide Favourite

Evening Louvre Tour and Wine Tasting

This full evening activity combines three of our fave activities — being in Paris (of course!), viewing world-famous art with a guide who can explain it all, and wine tasting with an expert sommelier in the most popular wine cellar in Paris. You also get to skip the lines at the Louvre, and walk past some of those 9 million people who visit it every year. December 4, 11 & 18
Evening Louvre Tour and Wine TastingMore Information

Preferred Restaurant of the Month

Our Review & Recommendation

Le Gabriel at La Réserve

Le Gabriel

Experienced young chef Jérôme Banctel brings his take on Japanese + French fusion to this impressive new restaurant in the brand-new Hote La Réserve found among the trees in the calm Elysées park in the 8th Arrondissement. It's right in the center of things, yet an oasis of comfort and deliciousness.
Le GabrielRead Our Complete Review

The Best Events in Paris

Things to Do in Paris December 2015

Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets

From the middle of November to early January bundle up warm and set out on the streets of Paris to learn how the French celebrate Christmas.

Seasonal Christmas markets are set up up in many quartiers of the city. These temporary tent and cabin villages are where tout les Parisiens shop for seasonal specialties, decorations and Christmas crafts.

During this festive time of year you will find Noel markets dot locations throughout the city, including —

  • 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, but the most famous light show is on Champs Elysées. If you're lucky enough to be in Paris on November 15 you can watch the Christmas lights be turned on by French dignitaries
• Avenue des Champs Elysées
• November 15 to January 5

Christmas & New Years at Disneyland Paris

Christmas & New Year at Disneyland Paris

A million lights will twinkle on Main Street USA. Disneyland Paris is transformed into a winter wonderland with garlands, decorations and wandering carollers bringing the spirit of Christmas to the Magical Kingdom. Every evening, just as the sun is setting, expect to see a glimpse of Père Noël at Sleeping Beauty's Castle. New Year's Eve will be an all-out celebration with a fireworks extravaganza. November to January
Noël at Disneyland Get Your Tickets

New Exhibits at the Museums

Things to Do in Paris December 2015

Who's Afraid of Women Photographers?

Women Photographers

See rare works of photography created by women in the early years of photography from 1839 until 1945. This groundbreaking exhibit explores the impact that women photographers made from the infancy of photography. The exhibit offers a rare view into works of women photographers in France, Germany, the UK and the United States. Part of the exhibit is at L'Orangerie, in the Tuileries, the other part is at Musée d'Orsay.
• Ends January 24, 2016.

Splendours & Miseries – Prostitution in France (1850 – 1910)

Splendours & Miseries

This is the first exhibit that focuses on the role that prostitution played in the development of modern painting. See paintings by Manet, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Munch that were inspired by their experience in brothels.
• Musée d'Orsay. Ends January 2016

Pablo Picasso & the Modern Masters

Pablo Picasso & the Modern Masters

Les Demoiselles d'Avignon and Guernica on display! Also see works by David Hockney, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Martin Kippenberger, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons. Whatever it takes, you have to see those very famous Picassos.
• Grand Palais
• Ends February 29, 2016

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