December is the biggest holiday month of the year in Paris, and there's a lot to experience. The city is filled with seasonal activities — from Christmas markets and gaily-decorated store windows, to thousands of Noël lights on the Champs-Elysées. So, grab your holiday spirit and discover the best Paris activities & events this December.
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December 25 is a French National Holiday. Museums will be shut tight as well as department stores and most shops. If you're not planning to cook in your Paris apartment, you'll want to be sure to make your Christmas dinner reservations well in advance.
Each Christmas season, 400 trees on the iconic avenue — from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe — are decorated with a bevy of colorful, energy-efficient lights. Each year a celebrity flips the switch to turn on the lights in a special star-studded ceremony. In past years Catherine Deneuve, Vanessa Paradis, Marion Cotillard, Laetitia Casta, and Charlotte Gainsbourg have been the lucky ones to switch on the lights. This year's special guest will be announced in early November. Stay tuned.
Christmas lights always set Paris twinkling. Extra-special care is put into decorating the lavish department stores and shopping districts that dot the Paris landscape. Here are few of our favorites streets and stores —
VIP Dinner Cruise with Bateaux Parisiens
Dinner Cruise by Maxim's of Paris
Celebrate the season by visiting some of the Christmas markets found throughout the city from late November to the end of December. There are over 100 Christmas markets in public squares, parks, avenues, and train stations in Paris. Here are few worth a detour —
Versailles with Priority Access + Gardens
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The horse show premiered in 1979 and is still going strong. Salon du Cheval de Paris hosts a program of national competitions, demonstrations, exhibits, and clinics. This year's competition includes all the horsey essentials from jumping, dressage, harness, vaulting, and hunter to Western riding. The program also includes national, professional, and amateur trials with prize money valued at €40,000.
The three key events are the Paris Longines Masters horse jumping competition; the Nuit du Cheval, an equestrian show; and the World Arabian Horse Championship, a three-day competition featuring the world's most beautiful purebred horses. It's the only one of its kind in the world.
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Attention wine lovers! Hundreds of French and global winemakers will gather at the Le Festival des Grands Vins in Paris to offer tastings, workshops, and culinary events.
France's largest boat show features all things water sports — from sailing boats, fishing, and motorboats to board sports and shows off all the latest gadgets and new technologies. If you are a lover of leisure activities on the water, this is the event of the year. Don't miss the the huge Nautic Spot, a massive waterslide and beach in the center of the exhibition.
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