Christmas in Paris

Christmas in Paris Christmas in Paris is simply magical. Paris at Christmastime is as refined as the city itself. Every corner of every quartier has its own special enchantment from lively outdoor ice skating rinks to the many charming Christmas markets that line the streets and squares. Paris isn’t called the City of Light for nothing, and especially so at Christmas. Here are just a few of the things not to miss in Paris at Christmastime

A rare snow in Paris dusts a fir tree near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France
Paris Christmas Markets Europe’s Christmas markets are magical. A favorite part of the holidays in Europe, Christmas markets are a long tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. Traditionally held in the town square, the Christmas markets were a bright spot during the short winter days that ushered in the Advent season.
While Christmas markets originated in Germany, they’re now found all of Europe. And Paris is no exception. The city has a number of Christmas markets from some of the largest in the Paris region to quaint, boutique Christmas markets tucked away from the normal tourist trodden streets.
Paris Eiffel Tower Christmas Market
Ice skating with the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop is a festive way to spend the holidays in Paris

Champ-de-Mars Christmas Village

The Champ-de-Mars Christmas Village at Champ-de-Mars and Quai Branly offers Parisians and tourists alike the opportunity to soak up a little Christmas spirit. Visit the 120 chalets for a wide selection of gifts, treats and decorations for the holiday season.

Not to be missed is the outdoor ice skating rink. Nothing is more romantic than skating hand-in-hand at dusk as the Eiffel Tower twinkles near by.

Massive candy canes are sold from one of the wooden huts at the Christmas market in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris
The Christmas market at the Jardin des Tuileries is one of the city’s largest

Tuileries Garden Christmas Market

The former Champs-Elysées Christmas Market that stretched from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place du Concorde was cancelled in 2017 after a dispute between the organizer and the city of Paris. But it was re-imagined starting in 2018 as the Tuileries Garden Christmas Market with more than 100 chalets set up in the Tuileries Garden next to the Louvre.

It’s not Paris’ biggest Christmas Market and not to be missed when visiting Paris at Christmastime. Santa himself will make an appearance to delight the young and old alike.

La Défense Christmas Market

Another of Paris’ biggest Christmas Markets, La Défense has more than 350 chalets with artisans from all over France selling their wares spread over 13,000 square meters. This year’s theme also features a massive globe and 18 meter tall Christmas tree.

Energy saving LED lights illuminate immersive light displays created especially for Paris La Défense. Like Christmas magic, they switch on and off as you walk past leaving visitors feeling like the experience was created for them personally.

Christmas bulb ornaments painted with the Eiffel Tower found at a Christmas market in Paris, France
Find Parisian Christmas decorations to take home as souvenirs at Paris’ Christmas Markets

Saint Germain des Prés Christmas Market

Away from the crowds of the Champs-Elysées and a favorite Parisian neighborhood of many Paris insiders, a Christmas Market has appeared alongside the church of Saint Germain des Prés since 1999. The small, but quaint Christmas Market again returns with merchants delight visitors with a selection of French crafts and gastronomic specialties.

A Santa Claus poses at the Marche de Noel Paris Notre Dame while the cathedral is illuminated behind himParis Christmas Light Displays

Champs Elysées

While many streets in each arrondissement are decorated, the Champs-Elysées is one of the most popular and festive of the Parisian light displays. The most beautiful avenue in the world transforms into a Christmas wonderland with lights.

For 2019 the Christmas Lights on the Champs Elysées are officially switched on November 24. The Champs Elysées is even car-free for the occasion, so that visitors and Parisians alike can gather right in the middle of the Champs Elysées.

The Christmas tree in Galeries Lafayette decorated with candy decorations under the glass dome in Paris, France

Galeries Lafayette

Don’t miss Galeries Lafayette for holiday lights and windows that arguably rival those of New York City department stores. Every year the theme changes. and past themes have included classic American musicals. 

There’s not a more mesmerizing sight than window displays with with animated scenes like the Radio City Rockettes dolls wearing Santa suits, gold clogs and red tams or bathing suit clad teddy bears with snorkels and fins dancing away to the tunes of Mamma Mia. No matter what the year’s theme, Galeries Lafayette knows how to enchant window shoppers from near and far..

Exterior of Printemps department store in Paris decorated in red, white and green Christmas lights
Stop by Printemps department store for their Christmas displays

Printemps Paris Haussmann

It’s “A Very Curious Christmas” at Printemps Paris Haussmann this year! The French department store known for its selection of beauty, fashion and accessories has created a magical world with amazing animals with contagious energy.

The exterior of Le BHV Marais in Paris decorated for Christmas with a dedication to Strasbourg, the Christmas Capital of France

Le BHV Marais

Le BHV Marais department store transports Parisians and visitors alike to the Christmas Capital of France with their Strasbourg themed Christmas window displays this year. Strasbourg knows Christmas; they’ve been putting on a Christkindelsmärik since 1570. And this year Strasbourg has teamed up with Le BHV Marais with a mini version of the famous Strasbourg Christmas Market enchanting in the store’s windows.

Skaters ice skate on the outdoor rink at Jardin des Tuileries in Paris, France
Twirl around some of Paris’ ice rinks during your holiday visitIce Skating in Paris

One of my favorite holiday activities is ice skating. It immediately transports me back to my childhood when I’d impatiently wait for our pond to freeze so I could lace up my skates and practice my figure eights. The magic of twirling around the ice definitely hasn’t escaped Parisians, and a number of rinks pop up around the City of Light during the festive season.

Grande Arche Rooftop Ice Skating at Paris La Défense

The rooftop of Paris La Défense’s Grande Arche gives visitors a 360-degree view of some of Paris’ most beautiful monuments. Worth a visit for the panoramic view anytime of the year, the Grande Arche is even more magical when the 110 meter high rooftop ice skating rink opens for the holiday season.

The rooftop rink at Galeries Lafayette with a view of the Eiffel Tower at nighttime in Paris

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