Le Jour de Noël – What To Do On Christmas Day In Paris

It's a wonderful feeling to be in Paris à Noël — we love everything about it. The whole city is in holiday mode with the shops, squares, and streets festooned with seasonal decorations. We adore being here on Christmas Day. Remember, though, if you will be here on December 25, most restaurants and activities are fermé — closed — so you must be sure to plan ahead. Not to worry, there's still a lot to do and see.

Christmas in Paris

Let's take a good look at the spectrum of the best of Christmas Day in Paris activities — from romantic dinner cruises to the Eiffel Tower to holiday lights, and everything in between.

Noël Dinner Cruise with Live Music

Christmas Dinner Cruise on the Seine

There's really nothing more celebratory than sailing down the Seine on a Bateaux Mouches evening dinner cruise. You'll be rewarded with a special Christmas Day four-course meal with the best champagne and wines plus live music. Book now as it will sell out quickly.

For the best seating, the best meal, and the ultimate experience choose the Dinner-Cruise Excellence option.

Christmas Day Dinner Cruise

Christmas on the Seine River

This special 9:15 PM Christmas Day sailing may be the the ultimate way to celebrate Noël à Paris. You start with a glass of champagne, bien sur, and continue with the best of seasonal French specialities: homemade foie gras, ripe cheeses, and dark chocolate. It's currently available on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but you're going to have to book soon to reserve a table.

More Holiday Dinner Cruises, Plus the Eiffel Tower…

Seine River Dinner Cruise

Dine & Cruise on Christmas Eve

If you can't sail on Christmas day, then book this 6:45 evening sailing for a magical Christmas Eve. Watch the lights of Paris drift by as you dine on a French classic multi-course meal on board a boat from Paris cruise specialists, Paris Seine. Book now as this will sell out quickly.

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Champagne Tasting on a Seine River Cruise

If you're looking for a festive way to celebrate Christmas in Paris this champagne cruise delivers. We know from experience! Sailings on Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 6:00 PM.

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Moulin Rouge Dinner & Show with Transportation

It's amazing that you can experience Paris' most celebrated night spot on Christmas Day! At least according to the current availability calendar.

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Christmas on the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is the one Paris attraction that is open every day of year, including Christmas Day. Instead of standing in a long line outside in the Paris winter, book this guided tour. It's how we do it.

Museums Open on Christmas Day

Jacquemart-André Museum Musée Jacquemart-André

It will come as no surprise that there are not many Paris museums open on Christmas Day,, but we've managed to find a few that will be open and are worth investigating. Of course, the Louvre, Musee d'Orsay and the Pompidou will be shuttered that day.

Musée Jacquemart-André on Boulevard Haussmann in the 8th is open every day, including Christmas Day and New Years Day.

Musée d'Art et d'histoire du Judaïsme (MAHJ), the Jewish Museum, is open every day except Mondays. On national holidays the hours are 11 AM to 7 PM, although the museum is closed on January 1.

The Institut du Monde Arabe is also open on Christmas Day and only closed on Mondays. Built on the banks of the Seine in 1987, the stunning building designed by Jean Nouvel is a landmark worth visiting. On the 9th floor, the rooftop terrace has remarkable views of the monuments of Paris, including Notre-Dame.

  • INSTITUT DU MONDE ARABE
  • 1 Rue des Fossés-Saint-Bernard, Place Mohammed-V 75005
  • Museum website

Christmas Decorations in Paris

Christmas Lights

Each Christmas season hundreds of trees on iconic Avenue des Champs-Elysées are decorated. From Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe these arbres de noël are aglow with a bevy of colorful, energy-efficient lights. It's a delight to walk along the avenue at dusk during the holiday week

Christmas lights in other areas also set Paris twinkling. Extra-special care is put into decorating the lavish windows and the streets around the department stores and other shopping districts. A few favorites streets and stores are —

  • Galeries Lafayette, Boulevard Haussmann
  • Printemps, Boulevard Haussmann
  • Le Bon Marché, 7th Arrondissement
  • BHV, in the Marais
  • Faubourg Sainte-Honoré, 8th Arrondissement
  • Forum des Halles, 2nd Arrondissement
  • Place Vendome, 1st Arrondissement

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The Top Seine River Dinner Cruises

Privilege Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
This romantic dinner cruise includes champagne, a 4-course classic meal, and VIP seating. #1 Traveler Choice.
More information…

Champagne Tasting on a Seine River Cruise
Cruise down the Seine on a bateau while being served a multi-course gourmet meal prepared by a French chef. 8:30 PM sailings.
More information…

Christmas Day Restaurants

The Ritz Bar Vendome

Most restaurants are closed on December 25 and January 1. The restaurants that are open offer a special dinner menu on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Eve. It takes a bit of research to find one that fits your budget. The sky is the limit. For instance at Le Cinq, the restaurant at the Four Seasons George V Hotel, the Christmas holiday menu started at over 700€ per person the last time we checked. And they're not even open on Christmas Day this year!

If you are planning to have dinner on Christmas Day in Paris — and we think it's a great idea, it's a wonderful experience — you must book well in advance. As December nears, restaurants will post their special holiday menus and hours online. It's necessary that you make a reservation, and as soon as you can.

We suggest you start with restaurants located at the top hotels in Paris — most of these are pretty darn good, with quite a few Michelin stars sprinkled among them. If they don't have their holiday menu and hours posted, just send them a message.

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Le Violon d'Ingres Le Violon d'Ingres in the 7th Arrondissement

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There are other, more casual brasseries that are open 365 and cater to a tourist crowd. Many, if not most, of them are past their glory days as far as food goes, but they can still be a fun experience. We're thinking of the brasseries that are part of the Flo Group, like Bofinger, La Coupole, Julien, Le Vaudeville, Terminus Nord, Brasserie Balzar, Le Boeuf sur le Toit. They're likely to be open Christmas day.

Here are some of the restaurants that are open Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. These are in the expensive-to-very-expensive category. They're all pretty amazing and have Michelin stars.

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Find Hotel Deals for Your Dates in Paris

Check with Booking.com to find today's sale prices on hotel rooms in every arrondissement of Paris. Save 20% to 30%… or even more!

Booking.Com Paris Hotel Deals
Find hotels in the Latin Quarter, Saint Germain, the Right Bank, the Marais, near the Eiffel Tower.
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Don't Forget Our Guide to Christmas in Paris

One more reminder — for the latest updates of what's on in Paris at Christmas, be sure to read our complete guide. We'll keep it updated as things change.

Six Free Paris Planning Guides

A Gift from Us to You.
Bon Voyage !