Winter holidays in Paris give you the chance to go for walks through sculpture gardens and tree-lined avenues, enjoying the warmth of cafés and shops dressed up for the festive season. Book a winter hotel in Paris in the holiday season and see the City of Light glow with Christmas illuminations.


    Avenue des Champs-Élysées stroll

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    All across Paris, the trees lining the city’s boulevards are laced with twinkling lights in winter, most famously along the Champs-Élysées, which appears to be blanketed in stars. Wrap up for an early-evening stroll along the avenue to the floodlit Arc de Triomphe, then step into the warmth of the Ladurée tearooms for raspberry macaroons and a piping-hot cup of hot chocolate.


    Christmas markets

    You know it’s Christmas in Paris when “snow”-covered chalets and stalls selling regional favourites like sausages and gingerbread line the streets, and the aroma of roast chestnuts and mulled wine (vin chaud) fills the air. Visit 1 or more of the Paris Christmas markets at Place Saint-Germain- des-Prés and Place Saint- Sulpice on the Left Bank, Place des Abbesses in Montmartre and along the Champs- Élysées.

    photo by Cécile Leducq (CC BY 2.0) modified


    Christmas lights and shopping

    Department stores turn on their party lights for Christmas on winter holidays in Paris. Flashing lights in patterns of arabesques and sparkling stars decorate Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, and Christmas trees soar under their Art Nouveau stained-glass domes. Children and adults alike are enchanted by the animated window displays at BHV and Bon Marché, depicting the story of Christmas.

    Emotions soar to the rousing soundtrack of organ and choral music at Notre Dame Cathedral, as images from art and history are projected on to its medieval walls during the Christmas Mystery light show. Children’s choirs ring out throughout the festive season, and a nativity scene fills a chapel on the cathedral’s nave. For an unforgettable Christmas experience, attend midnight Mass at the cathedral before returning to the warmth of your Paris winter hotel.

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    Carousels and ice rinks

    Illuminated carousels are a magical winter tradition in Paris, their brightly painted horses, flashing lights and music enticing children to take a ride. The 2 carousels on the Right Bank that light up the winter night sky and fairy-tale turrets of the Hotel de Ville. If you want to enjoy ice skating, pop-up ice rinks can be found on the Left Bank of the Seine. You can rent skates for yourself and bobsleigh rides for young children for a few euros.

    photo by Thomas Conté (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Christmas menu

    Though many Paris restaurants close from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, the Art Deco La Rotonde brasserie in Montparnasse is open for business. Settle into a red velvet banquette and celebrate Christmas with a seafood platter laden with oysters, prawns, lobster and mussels, in the lamp-lit splendour of Ernest Hemingway and Pablo Picasso’s former haunt.


    photo by flightlog (CC BY 2.0) modified


    New Year’s Eve in Paris

    There’s a heady air of excitement on New Year’s Eve in Paris, one of the most festive cities on the planet in which to count down the hours. Crowds throng the Champs- Élysées to watch the Arc de Triomphe’s colourful pyrotechnics when midnight strikes. Another kind of festive night awaits you in the restaurants of Montmartre, but you need to book quite long in advance.

    photo by Falcon® Photography (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

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    Attractions and experiences recommended in our guides may be affected. Please check local guidance before you travel.

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