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What is Christmas in Paris Really Like?

August 26, 2023
Paris is already one of the most beautiful cities in the world no matter the time of year. What more when it's the holiday season? With twinkling lights, glittering balls, well-decorated wreaths, and perhaps even some falling snowflakes all around, the French capital will certainly look more enchanting, won't it? Such is the magic of spending Christmas in Paris. Not only will the city look even more beautiful, but there's also a lot you can look forward to! Visit the Christmas Markets and buy as many gifts as you can. See the captivating window displays of the most prominent department stores. And don't forget about Disneyland Paris too!

What is Christmas in Paris Really Like?

Lives Up To The “City of Lights” Title

If you thought Paris deserved the “City of Lights” moniker before, wait until you go here around Christmastime! When the city puts up the fairy lights all around, it's as if the French capital turns into a fantasyland! Paris transforms into a glittering utopia, one that's perfect for the holiday season. Go to the Champs-Élysées, the world-famous avenue in the 8th arrondissement, and see how the tree-lined path glows when they turn on the lights. Or head to Place Vendôme, where tall Christmas trees signal the start of the “most wonderful time of the year” in Paris.

A Ton of Bustling Christmas Markets

Arguably the best part about spending Christmas in Paris is the flurry of markets they set up. Europe is all about the Christmas markets during this time of year, and the French capital has more than a handful in store. There's the Forum des Halles Christmas Market, for example, where 20 wooden chalet-like stalls surround a sparkling 20-meter-tall tree. The quirky design harkens back to the idyllic French Alps; hopefully, it won't be as cold in Paris when you get there. The 6th arrondissement's Saint Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market is also noteworthy, what with all the treats and toys you can get here.

What is Christmas in Paris Really Like?

Lots of Shopping To Do

Since Christmas is as much about shopping as anything else, Paris really is the perfect place for the holiday. It's the most influential fashion capital, after all. The biggest brands have their headquarters here, along with flagship stores, smaller shops, and more. It's during this season that you simply have to visit the most popular department stores in Paris. Galeries Lafayette, located in the 9th arrondissement, turns into the shiniest jewelry box every Christmas. With a massive tree at the center of all the haute couture brands, it's the most enchanting holiday sight in the entire city.

The Most Captivating Window Displays

These department stores also set up the most magical window displays during the holiday season. As early as late November, they reveal their windows for all the world to see. It's become somewhat of a holiday tradition in Paris, and every year, their displays just get bigger, brighter, and more ornate than ever before. More than just displaying the clothes and accessories, they'd also add animatronics, toys, moving sculptures, and more. Though they're mostly commercial ventures for the Parisian retail behemoths, these displays have also become mediums for local artists to express creativity beyond the usual museums and art galleries.

What is Christmas in Paris Really Like?

Holiday Extravaganzas All-Around

The holiday extravaganzas in Paris don't just stop with the Christmas lights and department store window displays. You'll also see them in cabarets and show venues. Without fail, these spectacular hotspots put on the most glamorous holiday shows. Perhaps the most famous of them all is the iconic Moulin Rouge cabaret in the 18th arrondissement. The cabaret's Christmas and New Year's shows are often the hottest tickets in town. They combine the dinner show with their old-school cabaret performances, a hybrid of two of what Paris is most known for (showmanship and food), making for the quintessential Parisian holiday experience.

Beautiful Music in Beautiful Churches

For a more solemn Christmas in Paris, you can always check out the music concerts in the city's grand churches. Sainte-Chapelle in Île de la Cité is always front and center at these sorts of events. Its Gothic style will already take your breath away, what more when you fill it with heavenly music? With orchestras and choirs in tow, their Christmas concerts are some of the most haunting holiday shows in Paris. Even if you're not a Catholic, you won't help but appreciate the talent and beauty in the French capital.

What is Christmas in Paris Really Like?

A Haute Cuisine Holiday Feast

Let's not forget that Paris is also the food capital of the world. From Michelin-starred restaurants to historic cafes, there are lots of great places to eat in the city. And they're all perfect for a nice Christmas dinner. Montmartre's La Crémaillère is famous for its holiday feasts, making it the perfect choice for dinner on December 25th. If you're the kind to eat out on Christmas Eve, however, you'll want to dine in the iconic La Tour D’Argent. Its panoramic views of the rest of the city are the perfect pairing for your first-class dinner with your loved one/s.

Don't Forget About Disneyland Paris!

When all else fails, there's always Disneyland Paris. Though it's a fair distance away from the central neighborhoods in Paris, it's worth traveling here during the holiday season. The theme park lights up unlike any other at this time of the year, both literally and figuratively. The lights and decorations they put up will inspire a festive spirit, especially when you see your beloved characters in their “gay apparel.” And at night, there's the Christmas parade, a music and light-filled extravaganza that can give the Paris cabarets a run for their money.

What is Christmas in Paris Really Like?

Christmas in Paris will dazzle you like no other! From the captivating window displays and twinkling lights all around to the lively Christmas markets and other festivities, you'll have a ball in the French capital during the holiday season!