Let your imagination run wild as you picture Christmas in the French capital. This year, why not make sipping mulled wine by the Eiffel Tower a reality? Explore Paris’ Christmas markets in all their festive glory and take advantage of ice rinks, river cruises and so much more.
A Starry Christmas – Christmas Village (Nov–Dec*)
Spanning across 70 stalls, this Christmas Village packs in plenty of shopping potential. But it’s especially fun for youngsters, with its workshops and chances to write a letter to Santa. You can tuck into tasty treats here, while you discover parts of the area such as the Enchanting Forest!
Christmas village on La Défense Esplanade (Nov–Dec*)
This Christmas market is the largest in Paris, with more than 350 craft-selling stalls to entice you. Come and do some authentic souvenir shopping, then reward yourself with a fab French feast of street food – including local favourite raclette – as the city’s lights start to sparkle. It’s a fun choice for kids too.
Notre-Dame Cathedral Christmas Market (Dec*)
French artists and craftspeople bring their best works to showcase at this Parisian Christmas market in Square René-Viviani, just minutes from Notre-Dame Cathedral. The city’s oldest tree is dressed in pretty orange and yellow lights, and you can buy gifts such as jewellery, decorative ironwork and leather items.
Abbesses Christmas Market (Dec–Jan*)
Around Montmartre, you can walk through a village with fairy lights in the trees and nearly 20 small market vendors dotted about. It’s a quaint affair and there have been animations and displays created by children in the past, which you can check out while you’re there too.
Champ de Mars Christmas Market (Dec–Jan*)
This is the place to be if you fancy ice skating by the Eiffel Tower. As enchanting experiences go, Champ de Mars Christmas Market is up there – not only do you get epic views of Paris’ most iconic landmark, there are more than 100 market stalls set up to browse by the rink.
St Germain des Prés Christmas Market (Dec–Jan*)
Set up rather aptly near the church, this Christmas market in Paris is a bit more modest in size than some of the alternatives and pulls off an especially jolly atmosphere year on year. You can buy a range of things, including handmade decorations, craft objects and classic French produce.
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When in Paris, it’s simply essential to go on a cruise of the River Seine. But, in the winter months as the festive period draws near, it’s the best time of the year to embark on this voyage to see the Christmas lights brighten up this already glowing city. It’s a magical marvel.
2. Chic boutiques
Avenue Montaigne proudly unveils its exceptional arrangement of Christmas lights around November time. Designer labels such as Chanel are among the stores to participate. Christian Dior has featured a large twinkling hot air balloon in the past, which added a certain je ne sais quoi to lavish Christmas shopping afternoons.
3. Get your skates on!
Paris has a good list of ice skating rinks open over Christmas, so you won’t struggle to find one! Pick a place to slice up the ice and make an evening of it. You can rent skates easily and it’s something exciting for all ages too.
4. Fanciful French fare
People tend to flock to Paris if they’re foodies – so consider combining your idyllic break with a culinary crawl! You’ve got to grab a croissant on the go and nibble a delicate macaron, but the festivities are best celebrated with chocolate, cheese and wine.
5. Wonderful windows
Shop windows become theatrical displays at Christmas in Paris. With dainty interactive models, dancing figures and pretty miniature scenes, shops such as Galeries Lafayette really come into their own at this time of year. You’re bound to stand outside in awe for a while before even setting foot inside!
6. A wheely good laugh
Whether you’re with the children, your other half or a group of friends, a spin on the Big Wheel is great fun and gives you unbeatable views of the brightly lit city! It’s part of the Christmas village along the Champs-Élysées, so it’s hard to miss.