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 a busy season. Concerts at the recently renovated La Sainte Chapelle, Eglise de la Madeleine, and Notre Dame Cathedral sell out quickly, so be sure to book right away. (Check below for an updated concert list.)
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 de Versailles, or sip bubbly in Champagne and return to Paris the same day. Everything is taken care of on the day excursions we recommend. You just need to sit back and enjoy! One more thing — readers of Paris Insiders Guide (that's you!) get an additional 5% discount on the Paris Pass when you use our exclusive discount code: INGUIDE10
|Our Fave Day Trips From Paris||The Most Popular Activities||Our Top Food & Wine Activities|
|All The Best Events in Paris||Classical Music, Opera & Ballet||New Exhibits at the Museums|
The Eiffel Tower is very popular, and there is always a long line. One way to avoid waiting out in the cold is to book a small-group, skip-the-line tour. You meet your guide at the base of the tower and are escorted past the massive lineup to the priority entrance. Learn fascinating details about the tower as you take the elevator to the top.
We like this complete night out in Paris, especially during the holiday season. You get to experience the best of Paris attractions in this one evening — dinner on the Eiffel Tower, a cruise aboard a boat on the Seine, and a fabulous cabaret at the Moulin Rouge. Even beter, this evening in Paris includes return to your hotel. Be sure to book early.
it's easy to see why travelers love this dinner cruise along the Seine. It's got romantic, great food, and spectacular views.It starts when your driver meets you at your Paris address. On board, you're lead to your private table for a relaxing cruise and 3-course French meal. The lights of Paris drift past while you are sipping wine. When the night is over, your driver will be waiting.
What's better than a dinner cruise along the Seine? How about a 5-hour New Years Eve dinner cruise with a 4-course gourmet French meal, champagne, and wine? You board your bateau at 8:30 for a 9:00 sailing time, marvelling at the lights of Paris as you dine. Did we mention the live music and dancing until 2 AM?
Reserve your place for the Christmas version of the Seine River dinner cruise. It's another 5-course extravaganza as you watch the holiday lights of Paris pass by. The Christmas Eve boat sails at 8:30 PM and the Christmas Day lunch heads out at 12:40 PM. These are definitely going to sell out
This popular and satisfying nighttime activity gets you past the line, up the tower, and into 58 Tour Eiffel for a classic 3-course French dinner at a restaurant where famous chef Alain Ducasse is at the helm. After dinner, when the lights of Paris are bright, you cruise the Seine to see the best of the city from the river. It's a perfect night in the City of Light.
The Louvre is very, very popular, and that means very long lineups. Get priority fast access by booking this guided tour, especially designed to feature the most famous works, the ones you must see when in Paris. Don't waste your time or get lost in the mammoth 60,000 square foot museum — see it like a Paris VIP. Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, including December 24 & 31.
What could be better than a relaxed, champagne-fuelled boat ride down the most beautiful river in the world? Well, what about have priority seating at the front of the boat? How about a French sommelier to guide you through a flight of three different types of champagne? Glide past the sights while sipping bubbly and discovering that the best way to see the City of Lights is on a bateaux.
See the Moulin Rouge show with dinner & wine on this nighttime activity in Paris that includes transportation to and from your hotel. It's the easy way — no need to figure out how to get there or what to do when you're ready to leave. Moulin Rouge regularly sells out weeks in advance. Book ahead of time to avoid disappointment.
Louvre + Seine River Cruise + Eiffel Tower. This smart tour gets you to the best of the city in a single day. No senseless dawdling or getting lost. Skip past the lines and into the Louvre for the highlights, then take a Seine river cruise to the front door of the Eiffel Tower. From high atop Restaurant 58 you can see forever. But you're not done yet — visit Notre Dame Cathedral on the picturesque Île de la Cité. Everything is included: entrance fees, lunch and river cruise.
We felt like we were starring in a movie set in Paris in the 1940s when we took this satisfying tour through the city in an iconic, vintage Citroën Traction Avant. Our "gentleman driver" showed us the sights in a brand-new way. (Or was it the old way?) It's so much fun seeing Paris like this, and made even better with the sun roof opened all the way. As we say in our review, this is "retro luxury from another era."
Discover how to make these heavenly, melt-in-your-mouth confections. It's a dream come true to attend a cooking class in Paris where, along with Chef Marthe, you learn to make your own delicate meringue-based morsels. Class size is limited to eight people, so you get lots of individual attention to assemble the classic creamy filling just so. Your reward? Your own box of macarons to take home.
In the country that practically invented the art of scent, get behind the scenes up for an everything-perfume workshop led by an industry expert who teaches at the Ecole Superieure du Parfum. You learn the basics of perfume, including the characteristics of distinct families of scents. Then you dive in to make your own unique perfume to take home. This is a very unique activity.
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
But our most special Insiders 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, direct to your hotel or apartment, where he'll help you get your luggage inside and get settled. Honestly, it's the only way to do it!
The Paris Pass saves money & time — get into the museums for free and ride the Metro for free. But the big advantage is bypassing the ticket lines. If you've ever stood in line for hours at the Louvre, you'll appreciate how nice that is.
We also have a special discount for you — 5% off on all 4-day and 6-day 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 up to a year in advance. Use the discount code: INGUIDE10.
It's easy to see why we call this the "Best of Versailles". Your driver picks you up at your Paris address and whisks you off to the royal estate where you walk right past the long ticket lines directly into the magnificent chateau. The full-day tour includes a stroll through the gardens, Marie Antoinette's hamlet, and a gourmet lunch (with wine) along the Grand Canal. Includes Paris hotel pick-up.
A day spent in the Champagne region will be a highlight of your holiday. 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! Wednesday & Fridays.
One of the things you don't want to miss when you visit Paris is the Loire Valley with its magnificent castles. It's an easy day trip from Paris and we recommend this small-group tour, in a luxurious eurovan, that meets you at your hotel and whisks you to the Loire Valley for priority-access visits to the famous chateaux of Amboise, Chenonceau, and Chambord. It's a day you're not going to forget anytime soon.
Although it took the Allied Forces 70 days to get from the shore to liberate Paris, it will only take you a few hours to get from Paris to the historic D-Day beaches of Normandy. Perhaps the most important battle site of World War II, the landing beaches still evoke powerful memories and emotions. Visit the most important sites on a day trip from Paris that returns you to Paris the same day.
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's where we review more favorite day trips —
This is the first of its kind, and a one-of-a-kind opportunity. Up on the Eiffel Tower, for two days only, you can hear the best of classical music being performed live while you gaze out over Paris. On January 1 hear Strauss, Brahms, and Bartok. Buy your tickets now, before they sell out. Includes priority access to the tower.
On January 5, 2018 hear Vivaldi's most famous work, The Four Seasonsl live on the Eiffel Tower.
December's the time to experience Puccini's timeless tale about an artist's struggle in a materialistic world. In the end, love and art transcend tragedy and death. Performed in Italian with French and English surtitles. This opera will sell out quickly.
• Opera Bastille
• Ten dates in December, including New Years Eve
Nureyev's choreography showcases the virtuosity of the Paris Ballet's premiers danseurs in ensembles and pas de deux inspired by Marius Petipa in a joyful ballet with a Spanish flair. This special holiday event will sell out quickly
• Opera Bastille
• December 11 to January 6, including Christmas Day
In December you have the rare chance to see Mozart's final opera, The Clemency Of Titus. It follows Roman Emperor Titus as he ponders the nature of power, strength, and fragility. The opera is performed in the lovely Palais Garnier, so it's an event you don't want to miss, especially if you get tickets to the Christmas Day performance.
• Palais Garnier
• December 8 11, 17, 21, 25
Vivaldi, the most popular baroque composer, loved to create music that painted a picture. There's no other piece of music that evokes the natural phenomena of the seasons quite like this — the wind and rain of autumn, the rebirth of spring, the light and warmth of summer, and the sleeping stillness of winter. Experience Four Seasons at La Sainte-Chapelle, the most beautiful music venue in Paris.
• December 29, 30
Could there be anything more thrilling than listening to classical and spiritual music in the word's most famous 850-year-old cathedral? There are a handful of great performances during the holiday season. Believe us, attending a concert at Notre-Dame Cathedral will be one of the highlights of your trip to Paris.
• December 22 2017 only
This Latin Quarter church was originally built in 1335, but was completely rebuilt in the 17th century. The soaring ceilings make for ideal ideal acoustics for classical music concerts. Saint Ephrem is a small church and feels more like you're listening to a concert in your living room than in a concert hall.
There will be candlelit performances of Chopin piano music on Christmas Day and New Years Day.
During the holiday season, there's no better place on Earth to hear great classical music played in superb venues in this ancient city, like the historic church, Eglise de la Madeleine. Here's the best of the music coming to La Madeleine this Noel.
And be sure not to miss The Four Seasons, playing at the end of the month, including Christmas Day.
Here's more of the best Christmas music to be heard this December in our favourite holiday city.
Built by Louis VIV, Église Saint Roch is located on Rue Saint-Honoré in the 1st Arrondissement.
Paris features so much music during the holiday season that these are just a handful of the stellar classical performances to be heard. There are many more concerts this month, performed at other Paris venues — like the Salle Gaveau, Philharmonie de Paris, and other churches. Be sure to check out what will be playing when you're in Paris in December.
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!
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 (our readers' fave food activity) you walk from chocolate shop to pastry shop to chocolate shop in an historic district of Paris and sample all along the route. On a small group tour like this you get hands-on attention at a relaxed pace. Daily except Sundays.
Sign up for this 2-hour in-depth 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. Available Christmas Eve & New Years Eve.
You start your culinary afternoon on the historic Left Bank, a 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! The Christmas version of this popular tour is not to be missed.
Imagine a gourmet 4-course meal with wine as you gaze down on Paris — a birds-eye view of the Champ de Mars, Les Invalides, Montparnasse Tower, Montmartre, and the river Seine. Your priority-access pass gets you past the lineups and up the tower to restaurant 58 Tour Eiffel. Wine is included, of course.
Here's the ultimate Eiffel Tower dining experience. Up above 58 Tour Eiffel, on the second level of the tower, is where you'll find Alain Ducasse's Le Jules Verne, with one Michelin star. It's a place where not only is the view unequaled, but where the 6-course dinner menu will amaze you. Guarantee a window table by following the link below — you'll also get some extra-special perks, like a glass of champagne and a copy of Alain Ducasse's cookbook. It will truly be a night to remember. (Lunch is also available.)
Cruise slowly down the Seine on a La Marina de Paris bateau while sipping champagne before dining on a 3-course French meal. The glass walls of the boat provide perfect viewing of the sights of Paris as they drift by — Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, Musée d'Orsay, the Louvre, and the islands of Paris. On the Saveurs Menu you'll find all the French classic dishes — seared escargot, beef tartare, grilled beef and roast chicken. And for dessert? Macarons, eclairs, or biscuit viennois with chocolate ganache.
What better place to take a cooking class that Paris? Especially when it also includes a trip to an outdoor food market to meet butchers, fishmongers, and produce sellers as you gather the fresh ingredients for your class. . This popular class teaches you how to create an entire French meal — entrée, plat, et dessert. Cooking finished and plated, you sit down to enjoy your creations with your fellow students.
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 cities 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 dotting locations throughout the city, including —
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 in mid November you can watch the Christmas lights be turned on by celebrities and French dignitaries. (We're still waiting to be invited to throw the switch!)
• Avenue des Champs Elysées
• November 15 to January 6
Here's an easy way to see all the seasonal goodness that Paris has to offer. Follow your guide to explore Christmas in its many forms — the decorations & displays at Galeries Lafayette, window displays in the city's Art Nouveau shops & boutiques, in and out of quaint food and tableware shops, and finishing up at a traditional Parisian win bar for champagne and foie gras. Bonnes Fêtes !
Admire the amazing Christmas trees created by top designers that are auctioned to raise money for cancer research.
• Théâtre des Champs-Elysées
Best of Versailles. Skip the Line, with Hotel Pick-up & Lunch
VIP Versailles Tour with Private Viewing of the Royal Quarters
Even though it's the holiday season, museums are in full bloom with special exhibits mounted in most of them. Here are some of the favourite exhibitions that continue through December.
Remember, the best way to visit the Paris museums is to skip the lines by using the Paris Pass…
Autumn 2017 in Paris is the time to see Monet's personal art collection on exhibit at the museum dedicated to him. You'll also get a chance to see some of his most important works, including Impression: Sunrise.
• Musee Marmottan
• September 14 to January 14
1932 was a banner year for Pablo Picasso, and the Paris museums dedicated to the Spanish artist is exhibiting the explosion of masterpieces created by Picasso in that year.
• Musee Picasso
• October 10 to February 11
Discover What's On When You're There
• January 2018…
• February 2018…
• Valentine's Day in Paris…
• March 2018…
• Easter in Paris…
• April in Paris 2018…
• May in Paris 2018…
• Month-by-Month Calendar…
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