Christmas in Paris is magical. Store windows are aglow with colorful Noël displays, patisserie shelves virtually groan with seasonal delights, while restaurants create special holiday menus filled with the bounty of the season — fresh oysters from Brittany, foie gras, truffles, chestnuts and champagne.
In 2023 all of Paris will be joyeuse for Christmas, and it will be a busy season. So, be sure to book as early as possible as tours and activities sell out quickly!
Step aboard one of the luxurious dinner boats and immerse yourself in the winter beauty of Paris while you enjoy a memorable holiday dinner, prepared on board by a team of French chefs. Sip champagne & enjoy live music as you take in the best views of Paris. Choose the Service Premier option for the best seating, the best menu, and the ultimate experience aboard this comfortable, glass-walled boat.
Make magical memories of Christmas in the City of Light. Cruise along the Seine on December 25. savor a gourmet 3-course lunch with bubbles, wine, cheese, tea or coffee, and dessert. The holiday sights of Paris drift by — the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame, Musée d'Orsay — to the sound of a live band.
One of the absolute best ways to experience the Eiffel Tower is to dine at its newest restaurant, Madame Brasserie. As you sip champagne you gaze down at Paris and its full glory. From 2000 feet above the ground you truly understand the magnificence of the tower built by Gustave Eiffel. For the best experience, be sure to choose the Menu Grande Dame – Paris View option.
s On this night of nights, you board a bateau for an unforgettable 5-hour dinner cruise that's followed by a Paris party to celebrate 2024. Champagne is included, of course, and wine with dinner. The dinner cruise is a five-hour extravaganza featuring a multi-course dinner on a glass-walled river boat on New Years Eve! It's a safe bet that this is going to sell out. You need to book now.
You. In Paris. At Christmas. 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. Over three leisurely hours you sip French wine while enjoying course after course, all the while watching the illuminated monuments of Paris slowly drift by from a table on the glass-sided boats of Bateaux Mouches.
For the best seating, the best meal, and the ultimate experience we suggest you book the Excellence package. Available most evenings in December but not, alas, on Christmas Day.
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. This champagne-fueled evening cruise starts with priority boarding onto the bateau, where you are escorted to a private tasting room at the front of the boat for the best views of Paris. And, of course, there's beaucoup de bubbly. Your sommelier takes you through a flight of three champagnes as the best of Paris slowly drifts past.
We can't think of a better musical way to celebrate the holiday season than a classical concert at the stunning Gothic church on Île de la Cité. La Sainte Chapelle, the 14th-century personal chapel of the French kings, is now restored to its original stained-glass glory. Tickets will sell out quickly, so act now.
The stunning interior of the Belle Epoque opera house Palais Garnier is best experienced during a performance of a classic ballet or opera. This December (including on Christmas Day!) you can rejoice in Mozart's masterpiece, The Marriage of Figaro. Concerts and dates will be announced later in 2023, so check back. Performances at Palais Garnier will sell out, so you need to book as soon as you can. (You knew we were going to say that, didn't you?)
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 book a skip-the-line tour.
To our way of thinking, the best aerial views of Paris are from Level 2 (the middle level) of the Eiffel Tower. It's like seeing a human-scale model of Paris. But, it you want the full experience of seeing Paris like a bird, book a tour that takes you to the very top, the summit, Level 3. Whichever your choice, these tours will sell out quickly, so book now.
So far this Christmas we've got you out on the river, fed you lunch and dinner, and taken you to the Moulin Rouge. What's missing? A visit to the world's most famous art museum, of course. You certainly need to see the historic and important art found at the Louvre, but you also don't want to wait in a long line.
Luckily, this semi-private guided tour of the Louvre gets you past the line-ups and directly to the most famous works of art. Currently available every day (except Tuesdays) including Christmas Eve. But not for long!
Experience the festive magic of Paris on this private Christmas tour. Visit the top landmarks at their most merry, including Galeries Lafayette's famed Christmas window display & decorations. There's a ride on the historic Grande Roue de Paris (Ferris Wheel) and a trip to a holiday market with your private guide. You travel by foot and by private vehicle. Hotel pick-up and transportation is included. Did we mention the seasonal snacks and the mulled wine?
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, paired with the perfect wines, while you soak up the stories of how cheese is made and aged. This very popular tour is likely to sell out during Christmas.
Sign up for a in-depth wine tasting — that allows enough time to explore all the best 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.
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.
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.
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 in December.
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 throughout the city. (Exact locations of some markets may change as the season progresses. We'll do our best to keep the list up to date!)
Notre Dame at Christmas, in better days
The magic of the Notre-Dame Christmas market is back! Just across the river from the cathedral the Christmas vendors will be open from December 9 to 26. Marvel at the reconstruction of the cathedral that was nearly lost in the 2019 fire while you sample French seasonal delights and shop for authentic arts & crafts. The square's famous 400-year-old tree will be decorated for the season. So, grab a mug of mulled wine as you wander through the chalets, shopping for artisanal gifts, nibbling on roasted chestnuts.
From mid December to the beginning of January the place in front of the Paris city hall will celebrate Christmas. For the past few years the team at Hotel de Ville has decided to stage a Christmas market rather than the annual skating rink, and we're waiting to hear more about the 2023 plans.
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.
"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.
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.
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 probably not be held this year, but keep your eyes open for special outdoor service. 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.
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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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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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.
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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 …
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
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
This historic monument is a a center for English-speakers in Paris. 23, avenue George V, 8th.
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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