With numerous Christmas markets, skating rinks and superb decorations throughout the city, as always, Paris goes all out to create a festive atmosphere ensuring any visitor’s stay will be a memorable one. There’s also plenty to do once you’ve finished shopping and admiring the festive lights this year, with circuses, ballets, musicals and art exhibitions including, Frida Kahlo and Goya, to name but two.
Here is just a few of the highlights of Paris at Christmas.
The seasonal lighting displays in Paris’ streets and squares are among the most beautiful in the world; Paris certainly lives up to its nick name of ‘the City of Lights’. The most well-known are those decorating the Champs Elysées and this year the 2oo trees that line this famous avenue are dripping with stars and glittering garlands, as each one in turn changes colour creating a wonderful display.
As well as the streets, all the big shops, most notably, the luxurious department stores Printemps and Galeries Lafayette, on the Boulevard Haussmann, compete with each other to produce the loveliest Christmas decorations and window displays.
Les Marchés de Noël (Christmas Markets)
Wherever you are staying in Paris in December you are most likely near one of the city’s many Christmas markets, the perfect places to buy handmade gifts, locally produced food, Christmas decorations and so much more!
Avenue des Champs-Elysées From 15 November 2013 to 5 January 2014
One of the largest Christmas markets in Paris with some 160 chalets lining the Champs-Elysées between the Rond-point and Place de la Concorde.
Saint Germain des Pres, Santa’s Village (Latin Quarter) From 6 December 2013 until 2nd January 2014)
Along boulevard Saint Germain, some 30 chalets full of tasty seasonal treats and gifts.
St. Sulpice (Latin Quarter) From 6 December 2013 to 2 January 2014
The European Christmas Village ‘Trocadero on Ice’ (Place du Trocadéro, 16th arrondissement) From 4 December 2013 to 2 January 2014, 11am to 8pm
A Christmas market and ice-rink near the Eiffel Tower.
Further markets include those at the Montparnasse on Place Raoul-Dautry, at the Gare de l’Est, the Gare Saint-Lazare, and the Place de la Nation.
As well as two permanent ice skating rinks that are open year round, every Christmas more pop up in Paris adding to the festive cheer.
Patinoire de L’Hôtel de Ville (Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, 4e) 21 December to 2 March 2014, Monday to Friday noon-10pm, Saturday & Sunday 9am-10pm
The most popular seasonal rink is huge, as are the queues, but it is stunning after dark when the 19th century city hall is lit up. Children and beginners have their own smaller area with free instruction available. Free entry, €5 for skate rental.
Patinoire des Cinq Continents (Champs-Elysées, Village de Noël Champs-Elysées, between the Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées and Place de la Concorde, 8e), 15 November to 5 January 2014, Sundy to Thursday 10.30am-midnight; Friday-Saturday 10.30am-1am
Amidst the magical Champs-Elysées’s annual Christmas village, you’ll find some 300 animated animals from around the world including pandas, polar bears and wolves in an ice garden with a 60-metre-long path of ice leading you through them. There is also areas for speed skating and games and an artificial ice surface for small children.
Trocadéro (Esplanade des Droits de l’Homme, 16e) 13 December to 6th January 2014, Daily 11am-8pm
Ice skating and a Christmas Market near the Eiffel Tower. Free entry, rentals for €5.
Please note: dates and information on the above may be subject to change, so please check before making arrangements or travelling.