Christmas In Paris 2020 – Le Plus Merveilleux Time Of The Year

Christmas in Paris is a magical time. Shop windows are aglow (there's really no other word!) 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.

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Christmas In Paris 2020

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In post-lockdown Paris (Aprés Déconfinement, or AD) things are a little different this Christmas. But there is still a wonderful collection of tours and activities to do safely. In fact, we indicate the activities that have instituted special health & sanitary measures. We are continually updating information on the best things to do, what's open, and the greatest ways to explore and enjoy the city we love. Be sure to check back often for the latest.

The Best Holiday Events & Activities in Paris – 2020

Christmas Evening Dinner Cruise on the Seine

Christmas Dinner Cruise on the Seine

Covid health & sanitary measures are in place for this activity

You. In Paris. On Christmas Day. On the Seine River. Do we have your attention? The night begins on the banks of the Seine where you'll board your floating dinner cruise. As you sip French wine and enjoy course after course, the illuminated monuments of Paris slowly drift by.

This health and safety conscious cruise, operated by our trusted partners Paris City Vision, is currently available for the December holiday season, including Christmas Day. Sails at 6:45 PM.

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9 PM Romantic Christmas Dinner Cruise

Also available from Paris City Vision is the later sailing, where you can select a high-desirable window table.

Holiday Lunch Cruise on the Seine

Christmas Day Lunch on the Seine

Covid health & sanitary measures are in place for this activity

If you want to save Christmas Day for other things (giving gifts, for instance, hint, hint) then book a lunch cruise on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day, or any other day of the holidays other than the 25th. A seat at the window and a glass of champagne are included. Another safe and healthy activity from our friends at Paris City Vision.

Christmas Week Cruise & Multi-Course Dinner

Christmas Eve Dinner Cruise

Step aboard one of the luxurious boats in the Bateaux Parisiens to immerse yourself in the winter beauty of Paris while you enjoy a 5-course holiday dinner, prepared on board by a team of French chefs. For two and a half hours you sip a festive Champagne aperitif, enjoy live music, and dine on a gourmet 5-course meal as you take in the best views of Paris. Y

Operated by luxury cruise service Bateaux Parisiens, this is another health and safety conscious activity. You get to choose from two sailing times and two menus aboard the very comfortable, glass-enclosed boat. Not available December 24 or Christmas Day.

VIP Holiday Dinner Cruise with Live Music

Seine Dinner Cruise at Night with Live Music

An evening on a specially-designed dinner boat for three hours of magical cruising and dining along the most famous, and most beautiful, river in the world. Drift from the Eiffel Tower past everything Parisian. Beyond the islands the boat turns around, arriving back at the dock just in time for the Tower's 11 PM spectacular light show.

This 8:30 PM , 4-course dinner cruise is currently available for all days of the holiday week, including Christmas Day,

Nighttime Champagne Cruise Along the Seine

Nighttime Champagne Cruise

When you're in Paris, a cruise on the Seine is an essential activity and that's doubly true during the holiday season when the city is decked with Christmas illuminations. And if you're like us, you'll want to combine your boat ride with a guided champagne tasting led by an expert sommelier.

It all starts with priority boarding onto the bateau, where you are escorted to a private tasting room at the front for the best views of Paris. And, of course, there's lots of champagne. Your sommelier takes you through a flight of three champagnes — Brut, Demi-sec and Rosé — as the best of Paris slowly drifts past. Thursday through Saturday in December, excluding Christmas Day

Bateaux Mouches New Years Eve Dinner Cruise

New Years Eve Dinner Cruise

We love the lights of the city of Paris on any night, but especially on festive evenings like New Years Eve, and especially when seeing them from a boat cruising along the Seine. And especially when we're served a traditional multi-course French dinner on board the Bateaux Mouches.

On this night of nights, you board the boat at 8:30 PM for an unforgettable 5-hour dinner cruise that's followed by a Paris party to celebrate 2020. Champagne is included, of course, and wine with dinner. The dinner cruise is relatively affordable, given that it's a multi-course dinner on a glass-walled river boat on New Years Eve.

Moulin Rouge Christmas Dinner + Show

Moulin Rouge  Christmas Dinner + Show

Create a spectacular holiday-in-Paris memory with Christmas dinner and a show at the historic Moulin Rouge. Sip champagne and dine on a traditional five-course Christmas meal while the dazzling show takes place on the stage in front of you. This special Moulin Rouge Christmas activity is showing availability all Christmas week, even though the cabaret is closed until at least the end of August. Be sure to check back on opening and the health and safety measures that Moulin Rouge will institute.

The Best Christmas Activities – Paris 2020

Louvre Without the Line-Ups

Skip the Lines at the Louvre

Covid health & sanitary measures are in place for this activity

The Louvre is something you must see when you're in Paris, no matter what time of year you are here. To avoid waiting in line for hours, we always opt for this guided tour that takes you past the lines and directly to the Mona Lisa. (And other great works, of course!) Don't worry, you'll have plenty of time to wander.

Currently accepting booking during the Christmas season. (Not available Tuesdays or Christmas Day, when the Louvre is closed.) This health and safety conscious guided tour is operated by our trusted partners at Paris City Vision.

Skip the Lines at the Eiffel Tower

Skip the Lines at the Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is very popular, and there are always very long lineups. We don't like to stand out in the cold in a Paris December. For that matter, we don't like to wait in line, period. So we always look for a skip the line tour. The link takes you to a numbers of options to beat the lines at one of the most popular tours in Paris.

Since Eiffel Tower availability and times tend to change, especially in this unusal period, the best way to approach a no-wait ET visit is to check with the Skip the Eiffel Tower Lines link below. Also see, Big List of Eiffel Tower Tours…

Christmas in Paris 2020 – The Top Day Excursions

The Magnificent Chateaux of the Loire Valley

Castes of the Loire Valley

Covid health & sanitary measures are in place for this activity

Paris is the perfect location for a day trip to the Loire Valley and this full-day activity is what we call a win-win. You explore the Renaissance castles of the Loire plus sample delicate wines produced in this lush valley, all in a day trip from Paris.

It starts with a leisurely drive to the most famous castle of them all, Chateau de Chambord. Then, lunch is served at another nearby chateau with a cornucopia of fresh, local ingredients and a tasting flight of the best wines of the region. The last stop is Chateau de Chenonceau, the loveliest of the Loire castles. Finally, it's back to Paris in time for a late night supper. Includes hotel pick-up and return. Usually runs Monday, Friday, Sunday in December (or everyday as a private tour) except Christmas Day, but check availability for your dates.

This health and safety conscious guided tour is operated by our trusted partners at Paris City Vision.

Experience The Best of Versailles – The VIP Way

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

Best of Versailles

Covid health & sanitary measures are in place for this activity

With this day tour you experience the best of Versailles in the best way. You travel from Paris by luxury Eurovan, then skip past the long entrance lines at Versailles with a priority-access ticket. The tour takes you to the State Apartments, the Hall of Mirrors, and then explores the gardens of Versailles, beautiful even in winter.

Take a break for a 3-course lunch near the Grand Canal, followed by visits to the Grand Trianon and the Queen's Hamlet. Includes hotel pick-up and return, a definite benefit. Also available as a private tour for just you and your guests. Available Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday in December except Christmas Day.

This health and safety conscious guided tour is operated by our trusted partners at Paris City Vision.

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Morning Priority-Access Tour of Versailles

Another good way to see Versailles is on this morning tour that also includes priority access with an expert guide. It's a small-group with transportation right from your hotel. This health and safety conscious guided tour is operated by our trusted partners at Paris City Vision.

Spend a Winter's Day in the Magical Land of the Bubbly

Champage Day Trip

Covid health & sanitary measures are in place for this activity

"I am drinking stars," the champagne monk Dom Perignon said upon tasting the first glass of a sparkling wine. Or so the legend tells us! Now it's your turn to taste stars in the legendary Champagne Region of France during a Christmas sojourn from 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 whisking you off through rolling hills towards Reims, the Birthplace of Bubbly. A 3-course lunch is included and the small group size ensures you get enough champagne! This health and safety conscious guided tour is operated by our trusted partners at Paris City Vision.

Christmas in Paris 2020 – Food & Wine Activities

Chocolate & Pastry Tour – Special Christmas Edition

Chocolate & Pastry Tour

During the holiday season you can hook up with the special Christmas edition of this very popular chocolate and pastry walking tour. As we said, Christmas in Paris is all about food, and chocolate is perhaps the best example. Everyone's in the holiday mood as they pass out plenty of samples! This is one of the most popular food activities and, hence, likely to sell out.

Cheese and Wine Tasting in a Paris Cheese Cellar

Cheese and Wine Tasting, photo by Mark Craft

Covid health & sanitary measures are in place for this activity

Visit hidden Paris in a special cheese aging cave underneath a top fromagerie in the Marais. You'll get an Insiders view, led by a Master Affineur, on how cheese is aged to perfection before it is ready to sell. You will taste the most famous cheeses of France, while you soak up the stories of how cheese is made, and how to pair them with the perfect wines. This small-group tour has instituted health and safety measures.

Best Of The Marais Holiday Food Tour

Marais Holiday Food Tour

Covid health & sanitary measures are in place for this activity

If you've never to Paris during Christmas you're in for a treat. Take a culinary journey through the charming Marais — the best part is, since it's December, you'll get a chance to sample holiday delights. This very popular small-group food tour takes you from the oldest food market in the city and then zig-zags through the historic neighborhood to sip and nibble the best seasonal tastes at cheese shops, boulangeries, chocolatiers and patisseries. This small-group tour has instituted health and safety measures.

Wine Tasting in a Cellar Near the Louvre

Wine Tasting

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 Day.

Gourmet Food Tour – The Christmas Edition!

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 ! Available Monday through Saturday, except Christmas Day.

Christmas in Paris 2020 – Seasonal Events

Christmas Markets – Marchés de Noël

Christmas Markets

Bundle up warm and go out 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
  • Place de la Concorde, Norwegian Christmas Market, 1st Arrondissement
  • Notre Dame, Square Viviani, 5th Arrondissement
  • Saint-Sulpice (and Père Noël Village), 6th Arrondissement
  • Saint-Germain-des-Prés (and Père Noël Village), 6th Arrondissement
  • Eiffel Tower, Quai Branly, 7th Arrondissement
  • Eiffel Tower, Port de Suffren, near the Vedettes de Paris, 7th Arrondissement
  • Jardin des Tuileries, just off Place de la Concorde, 1st Arrondissement
  • Gare de l'Est, Alsatian Christmas, 10th Arrondissement
  • Place de la Nation, 11th Arrondissement
  • Place d'Italie, 13th Arrondissement
  • Tour Montparnasse, 15th Arrondissement
  • Made in France Market, Place Charles-Michels, 15th Arrondissement
  • Trocadero, 16th Arrondissement
  • Place des Abbesses in Montmartre, 18th Arrondissement
  • La Defense, at Line 1

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Notre Dame Christmas Market

Despite the tragic fire of last April, the annual Notre Dame Christmas market, held in the place in front of the church, is scheduled to be open from mid-December to early January, 2020. The giant decorated Christmas tree will continue to be one of the most-recognized beacons in Paris during the holidays. So, grab a mug of mulled wine as you wander through the chalets, shopping for artisanal gifts, nibbling on roasted chestnuts.

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Christmas Market at Hotel de Ville

From mid December to the beginning of January the place in front of the Paris city hall will celebrate Christmas. This year the team at Hotel de Ville have decided to opt for a Christmas market rather than the annual skating rink. Marvel at the illuminated forest of fir and birch trees, ride on the carousel, shop the chalets, and keep warm with chocolat chaud — hot chocolate.

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. In late November each year a celebrity has the honor of turning on the lights, kicking off the holiday season at the ceremony alongside Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. The lights will be turned on between 5:00 PM and 2:00 AM and will stay on all night on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.

Skating Rinks

Christmas Eve & New Year's Eve Schedule

Called patinoires in French, the festive skating rinks dot the Paris landscape from mid-December to late January. No need to bring your skates, rentals are available. For the 2020 holiday season we can't yet predict which of the rinks will be open, or when

  • The Eiffel Tower, 7th
  • Grand Palais, 8th
  • Christmas Village, Champs Elysées, 8th
  • Trocadero, 16th
  • Jardin d'Acclimation, 16th
  • Paris Zoo, Bois de Vincennes

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Le Grand Palais des Glaces

Each holiday season the Grand Palais is transformed into a winter wonderland for the Christmas holidays. (See photo above.) Set beneath the iconic glass roof, it's officially the biggest skating rink in France. Check the website for hours and how to book tickets. Yes, you can rent ice skates.

Paris Museums Open During Christmas 2020

Musee d'Orsay

The Louvre
  • Open: Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve
  • Closed: Christmas Day & New Year's Day
  • Closed Tuesdays
Musee d'Orsay
  • Open: New Year's Day
  • Closed: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve
  • Closed Mondays
Pompidou Centre
  • Open: New Year's Eve
  • Closed: Christmas Day & New Year's Day
  • Closed Tuesdays

What to Do on Christmas Day in Paris

Christmas Day in Paris

"What's open on Christmas Day in Paris?" readers ask us. So, for the lucky visitors who will be here on December 25, we've compiled the best things to do.

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 and New Year 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 2020 – Churches & Cathedrals

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Notre Dame

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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. Traditional Midnight Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral will not be held this year due to the damaging fire. However, here are some other options. The only way to secure a seat for mass is to to arrive early — we recommend you show up an hour early.

Église Saint Germain des Prés

Founded back in 542 AD (remember those years?), this Left Bank Paris church has history. Noted for its wonderful acoustics, it's an ideal destination for Christmas mass. Check their website for more details. (In French only).
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Saint Eustache

Although a church has been on this site since 1213, the first stone of the current church was laid in 1532 by Francis I. Fun fact — Saint Eustache's floor-plan and structure will remind you of Notre Dame, with a nave flanked by double aisles and chapels.
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Holy Trinity Cathedral

Nestled in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower the immense Russian mega-spiritual center with no less than five gleaming onion domes opened in 2016 and has become a popular religions destination.
Information

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Sacre Coeur Basilica

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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
Website

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.
Website

The American Cathedral in Paris

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

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.
Website

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