Ah, Christmas in Paris … it just has a gorgeously sparkling ring to it, n’est-ce pas?
Few places are as festive and as fairy-lit a wonderland as the City of Light in December. Whether you’re going this year, or dreaming of it for the future, here’s some inspiration for making your Parisian Noël all the more Joyeux.
Case on Point
First things first … You’re not going to be very merry if you shiver your way through this chilly Parisian month. So make sure to fill your suitcase with lots of layers, along with sturdy waterproof boots. It’s a celebratory month, though, so make sure there’s some sparkle in there — say, a beaded beret, a sequinned scarf, faux-fur-trimmed gloves … And make sure to have one fabulous winter coat — perhaps of the wrap variety — that works from day to night.
Christmas markets might have originated in Germany, but Paris has made them its own in recent years. These bud-lit villages of charming wooden chalets infuse some glittering fairytale-like magic into the long, cold nights. Visit for the eclectic arrays of artisanal products, to pick up some festive bijoux for your tree (or yourself), and to warm yourself with mulled wine and Nutella crêpes. There are numerous marchés de noël around town: the old Champs-Élysées market has moved down into the Tuileries Gardens, complete with a Ferris wheel that proffers breathtaking views over the city’s rooftops; other must-visit markets include those of Saint-Germain, the Eiffel Tower, and Notre-Dame (just across the river, over in Square René Viviani).
And surely the chicest Christmas chalet this year will be that of the Ritz. Head to Place Vendôme from 7th December, to treat yourself to lauded pastry chef François Perret’s apfelstrudel, as well as a cup of velvety chocolat chaud, and then venture into the hotel to swoon over the glittering Christmas tree by the grand staircase, and through to the enchantment that is the bud-lit winter garden within.
Ice-skating has become a Parisian Christmas institution (snowflake jumper optional). There are rinks in the Tuileries and Eiffel Tower Christmas villages, as well as various locations around town.
For a skate with a view, don’t miss the superb rink atop Galeries Lafayette (above), while another fabulous setting is in the Grand Palais …
The Grand Palais des Glaces will be the largest ice rink in the world from 13th December to 8th January. Buy your tickets here.
City of (Glittering) Light
Practically every Parisian café, boutique and florist gets into the sparkly spirit of Christmas, which makes strolling the streets a continual joy, even when the air is icy and sky grey. Take time to admire the glitzy shopfronts along the Avenues des Champs-Élysées and Montaigne, and the twinkling trees dotted around Place Vendôme.
And when you get too cold to care anymore, the opulent decorations within the Le Bon Marché and Galeries Lafayette (above) department stores will give you the warm and fuzzies.
Surely the most delicious Parisian Christmas ritual is deciding which Bûche de Noël (Christmas Log) to buy for the season. The city’s pâtissiers outdo themselves in the quest for an ever more creative take on the traditional cake; check out those at Ladurée, Stohrer, Carette and Pierre Hermé.
If you’re looking to outsource your Christmas lunch you might as well do it in style. After all, you’ll be in the city that created the concept of fine dining! Not many restaurants open on Christmas Day, but those that do know how to put on a show.
See what the top hotels have on offer; another popular option is the legendary restaurant Le Train Bleu (above), which this year offers a set Christmas menu of €145 per head (without drinks).