Paris at Christmas - A Beautiful Place To Be
Paris is the city of romance, and at Christmas that feeling just gets stronger and stronger - walking along the banks of The Seine, sipping hot chocolate in a cafe watching the world go by, or eating a wonderful meal in any one of the city's amazing restaurants... surrounded by sounds and lights of Christmas.
If you are short of time in Paris it's worth taking a tour of the city to immerse yourself in the city. The quickest way to do this is to via an organised coach and river trip.
Take in the delights of iconic Place de la Concorde (you'll recognise it when you see it), the unforgettable Champs-Elysees which is absolutely covered in thousands upon thousands of lights at Christmas (late November to early January), the majestic Arc de Triomphe, and the beautiful Palais de Chaillot and Palais Bourbon before you jump on board a boat for a full hour's cruise down the River Seine whilst learning the fascinating history of Paris.
During the holiday season many of bridges are covered in unique decorations and illuminations, so if you're on board after sun down it's even more memorable. The tour ends in style with a trip to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower.
Although not technically in Paris, one of our favourite places at Christmas is Versailles. Walking through the crisp gardens of one of the world's most spectacular palaces is an absolute treat, and the recent renovation programme has made an enormous difference. If you're lucky enough to be at Versailles at Christmas and the snow starts to fall, it is completely magical.
Things To Do In Paris at Christmas 2014
As we mentioned there are plenty of Christmas lights around the city, and if you want to see a great Christmas trees, our favourite is can be found at Galeries Lafayette which always has the most incredible decorations, but the most well-known is outside of the Notre Dame Cathedral.
The Christmas Village on the Champs Elysee is well worth a look, with over 12m visitors last year, and the Christmas Fair at the Grand Palais is a must-see if you have kids, with a giant ferris wheel and lots of treats on sale. If you're looking for something a little more refined, then perhaps the Montparnasse Christmas market, selling regional food products, is more to your taste.
Although not exactly a true Parisien experience, but if you want to have a day of family xmas fun you can very quickly get to Disneyland Paris and visit their very own Santa Claus village and the Winter Wonderland.
2014 Christmas Shopping in Paris
Paris has great shopping, and the stores come alive with festive spirit at Christmas.
Other great places for unique boutiques include Les Créateurs des Abbesses in Montmartre - where you can buy wonderful jewellery, unique clothing and a whole range of unusual presents. The best streets are Rue des Abbesses, Rue Yvonne-Le-Tac, Rue Houdon and Rue d'Orsel.
Christmas for Kids in Paris
Ice skating is a popular pastime in Paris at Christmas for kids and they are pretty much guaranteed fun on the rink at the Hôtel de Ville. If ice isn't their thing, then they can ride on of one of the Merry-go-rounds that appear all over Paris in December. For the more religious-minded, Notre Dame cathedral holds a special Midnight Mass for children at 6pm and there's another at Sacre-Coeur in Montmartre at 7pm.
Christmas in Paris, Like The Locals Do
The Parisiens tend to have their big christmas meal on Christmas Eve and then head off to Midnight Mass at one of the famous churches and cathedrals, such as Notre Dame or Eglise de la Madeleine.
Traditionally the festive food includes foie gras and oysters followed by turkey (or in some cases goose), and no special occasion in France can be without a bottle of Champagne.