Paris in December: Top Attractions and Activities to Experience

Visiting Paris in December has a unique charm, distinct from any other time of the year.

During the holiday season, the city transforms into a winter wonderland. Imagine warming yourself with a cup of Vin Chaud as you wander through charming Christmas markets, each buzzing with a magical ambiance unique to Paris.

Despite the chill, the city brims with activities and events, ensuring your visit is unforgettable.

While Paris is enchanting in all seasons, December adds a unique layer of magic. Winter here allows travelers to explore famous attractions without the usual hustle, and there’s an undeniable delight in strolling through holiday-decorated streets.

Whether it’s your first Parisian adventure or a return journey, December always offers something new and memorable.

Key Takeaways

  • Unique December Experience: Festive events, *fewer crowds, and a magical ambiance.
  • Ideal Exploration Time: A perfect period to visit famous attractions and soak in the city’s holiday charm.
  • Strategic Planning: Consider weather and local advice to maximize your Parisian adventure.

20. Reasons to Visit Paris in December

  1. Christmas Markets: Picture yourself savoring chocolat chaud and crêpes with Nutella, with the aroma of vin chaud filling the air.
Christmas market paris

2. Jardin Des Tuileries Market: Between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde, this market is a feast for the senses, offering everything from Nutella waffles to a sophisticated Champagne bar.

Jardin de Tullerias en Navidad

3. Le Village de Noël at Les Halles: Tucked under the canopy of Les Halles, this market offers an intimate shopping experience and a beautifully decorated Christmas tree.

4. Square de la Tour Saint-Jacques Market: A hidden gem near the Marais, this market is perfect for a quick stop to enjoy vin chaud.

5. Montmartre’s Abbesses Market: Experience the local flavor here with a delightful Chocolat chaud and the neighborhood’s famous mushroom dish.

6. Saint Germain des Prés Market: Wander among fairy-lit huts, offering everything from tree decorations to pastries, right on the Boulevard Sant Germain.

Christmas market France

7. Christmas Decorations: Each neighborhood sparkles with its own festive lights – a sight best enjoyed on a nighttime open-top bus tour.

Champs Elysees Christmas Lights

8. Galeries Lafayette Haussmann Tree: An artistic spectacle reaching 16 meters high, different each year, and a photographer’s dream.

Galleries Lafayette Christmas tree

9. Rooftop Terrace at Galeries Lafayette: Not just views, but a charming ice rink adds to the festive spirit in December.

10. Shopping at Printemps: Beyond shopping, hunt for hidden Christmas trees and admire the seasonal window display.

11. Place Vendôme: Turned into a fashionable selfie hotspot with its tall Christmas trees.

Place Vendome Christmas Trees

12. Traditional Cafes: Immerse yourself in the Parisian cafe scene with a morning café crème or an afternoon espresso.

13. Wine Conversations: Spend evenings under heaters at cafes, enjoying wine and the vibrant atmosphere along Rue Montorgueil.

14. The Louvre Museum: Admire the Mona Lisa by day and the illuminated pyramid by night.

Museo del Louvre, Selfi Vero con la Mona Lisa

15. Ice Skating: Enjoy ice skating at iconic locations like the Hôtel de Ville or near the Eiffel Tower.


15. Attend a Christmas Concert: Many churches and concert halls offer Christmas shows, including the famous Notre Dame Cathedral and Sainte-Chapelle.

17. Try Christmas Gastronomy: Be sure to taste typical Christmas sweets, like “bûches de Noël” (Christmas logs) in local pastry shops.

18. Enjoy a Seine River Cruise: A cruise along the Seine River offers a unique perspective of the illuminated city.

big boat on the River Seine Paris

19. Visit Disneyland Paris: Experience the magic of Disney with a Christmas twist at Disneyland Paris.

Disney Paris

20. Climb Montmartre: Enjoy the winter views of the city from the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre. Montmartre is also perfect to enjoy the fireworks on New Year’s Eve.

Sacre Coeur on Holidays

Your journey through Paris in December will be filled with moments of wonder and cultural immersion. From the warmth of a cafe to the glow of Christmas lights, every experience here weaves a story of its own.

What to Do in Paris in December: 4-Day Itinerary

Day 1: Getting to Know the City

Piramide Louvre
  • Take an open-top bus tour for an overview
  • Visit the Louvre museum
  • Explore Les Deux Plateaux
  • Shop for souvenirs on Rue de Rivoli
  • Browse through Shakespeare & Co.
  • Admire the Sainte-Chapelle
  • Savor the festive atmosphere at the Saint Germain des Prés Christmas market.

Day 2: Iconic Sites and Shopping

Eiffel Tower from Trocadero
  • Enjoy a view of the Eiffel Tower from Trocadéro
  • Stroll along the Champs-Élysées
  • Visit the Arc de Triomphe
  • Choose between Musée d’Orsay or other museums along the Seine River
  • Indulge in shopping at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann
  • Explore Jardin Des Tuileries Christmas Market
  • See the Eiffel Tower illuminations from Trocadéro

Day 3: Art, Culture, and History

Montmartre at night
  • Discover the charming Marais district
  • Visit the Centre Pompidou for modern art
  • Check out Abbesses Christmas Market at Montmartre
  • Immerse yourself into Montmartre’s historic atmosphere
  • Admire the Sacré-Cœur Basilica
  • Pass by the famous Moulin Rouge

Day 4: More Shopping and Festive Fun

Galleries Lafayette
  • Continue shopping at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann or Printemps
  • Visit Le Village de Noël at Les Halles for shopping and Christmas market
  • Go for food, drinks, and people-watching at Rue Montorgueil
  • Choose between Square de la Tour Saint-Jacques Christmas Market or an open-top bus tour at night.

Alternative Day 4: Magical Excursion

  • Consider a day trip to Disneyland Paris and experience the festive magic.

Paris Travel Planning Advice

Finding Accommodations in Paris

Parisian Hotels

Hostels in Paris

What to Wear in Paris in December

December Weather in Paris

Paris weather in December can be unpredictable. Expect a mix of rainy and dry days with lows of 3°C (37.4°F) and highs of 8°C (46.4°F). It might even reach below 0.

Days are shorter in December, with the sunset around 17:00-17:30. The temperature drops at night, so dressing in warm, waterproof clothing is essential.

Is There Snow in Paris During December?

Vero Eiffel Tower snow

Snow in Paris during December is rare, with more frequent snowfall in January and February. But, in 2022, it snowed the first week of December, and I was there 🙂

When it does snow, transportation might be disrupted, but the locals enjoy the change of scenery. Keep an eye on the weather app and communicate with your accommodation to be prepared for snow.

Currency Used in Paris

Paris uses the Euro as its currency. Debit and credit cards are widely accepted, and some shops even have special cash tills that dispense coins to minimize contact with cash.

Tourist Information Centers

Paris has several tourist information offices, with the main one at 29 rue de Rivoli, Paris 4e, inside the beautiful building of the Town Hall.

Recommended Tours and Activities for Winter in Paris

To enjoy your trip to Paris in December, consider the following tour and activity recommendations:

  • Louvre Timed Entrance
  • Arc de Triomphe Skip The Line
  • Sainte-Chapelle Skip The Line
  • Open-top Bus
  • Disney Shuttle Bus

Remember that airport-style security is common at attractions, so have your bag ready to expedite the process.


Outfit Planner

EXTRA TIP: plan what you will wear in advance so you take everything you need and do not have to make extra expenses at the destination. You can download the PDF here; the price is up to you!

Suggested Clothing and Accessories for Paris in December

Here’s a list of items to consider packing for your trip to Paris in December:

  • Layered clothing, such as cardigans and sweaters
  • Tights to wear under pants, skirts, or dresses for extra warmth
  • Waterproof coat, padded jacket, hat, gloves, and scarf
  • Waterproof shoes or boots without air holes and warm socks
  • Refillable water bottle (tap water is safe to drink)
  • Tote bags for shopping
  • Camera, portable charger, and hydration tablets for potential hangovers

Remember to purchase travel insurance before your trip to Paris, and enjoy a memorable experience in the captivating City of Lights!

Best Things to Do in Paris at Christmas

Experiencing Christmas Day in Paris

Public activity is limited on December 25th and January 1st as these are official holidays. The metro, RER, and public buses will operate on a reduced timetable. However, some establishments will remain open, including:

  • Hotels offering Christmas lunch/dinner – make reservations during your stay
  • Ethnic restaurants not celebrating Christmas
  • Local convenience stores not celebrating Christmas
  • Paris attractions like the Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge, Sacre-Coeur for mass, and Seine cruises

Closed Attractions on Christmas and New Year’s Day

Keep in mind that some major attractions will be closed on these holidays, such as:

  • The Louvre
  • Sainte-Chapelle
  • Arc de Triomphe

If staying in an apartment, complete your grocery shopping before Christmas Day and enjoy the almost empty city!

Celebrating New Year’s Eve in Paris

After experiencing Christmas in Paris, prepare for New Year’s Eve festivities. The official celebration is around the Arc de Triomphe, featuring family-friendly animations and fireworks. Restaurants should be booked in advance, and clubs may charge an additional entry fee.

Arriving in Paris

Paris has two main airports, Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG) and Orly (ORY), both with public transport links to the city. The RER B train connects CDG to central city stations in 30-40 minutes for under 11 euros.

You can take the OrlyVal train from Orly to the RER station at Antony, which takes around 40 minutes.

If you live in Europe and arrive at Beauvais Airport, here is an article about getting from Beauvais Airport to Paris.

Navigating Paris

Paris is divided into arrondissements or neighborhoods. Starting with the 1st arrondissement in the center, subsequent arrondissements spiral outwards like a snail.

Popular attractions can be found throughout the various districts. Paris offers a well-connected public transport system utilizing the metro, RER trains, trams, buses, taxis, Uber (more expensive), e-scooters, and boat tour rides on the Seine River.

Consider the Passlib, an official tourism pass for public transport access, a Seine cruise, and entry to Paris museums. Choose the duration of the pass as per your preference. Metro tickets can be bought in packs of ten (un carnet).

Plan Your Trip to Paris

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