Fete the Holiday Season: 7 Fun Activities to Do in Paris

Fete the Holiday Season: 7 Fun Activities to Do in Paris

The holiday season is officially here! And there’s no better place to spend this time of year than in the City of Light. In December, Paris is as stunning as ever. Never mind the cold – you’re going to have a ball of a time no matter which way you slice it.


Here are seven fun and festive things for you to partake in this holiday season while in Paris – whether you’re traveling solo, living in the city, or enjoying some time there with your family.

Go Shopping at Galeries Lafayette 

Paris’s most famous department store goes all-out during the holiday season, transforming itself into a twinkling, glittering extravaganza of Christmas magic. You do not want to miss a trip to Galeries Lafayette Paris Haussmann in December. It’s a special sight to behold, and it’ll have you “feeling all the feels,” as they say about the magic of the season.



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Galeries Lafayette is said to have the most elaborate displays among all the Paris department stores. So get yourself over there, so you can take part in the fun! Other good bets for Paris department store shopping and Christmas browsing include BHV Marais and Bon Marché.


Visit the Christmas Markets

Christmas Markets in Paris are called “Marchés de Noël” and they’re the perfect spot to get your fix on holiday cheer, mulled wine, and last-minute gift-buying. Enjoy some cheeses, chocolates and hot drinks as you take a relaxing, bundled-up stroll through these enchanting markets.

Paris typically sees 15 to 20 Christmas markets around the city during the holiday season, along with “pop-up” markets here and there.

See the Lights at Place Vendôme

At the grandiose Place Vendôme, you’ll be treated to some stunning lights displays at this center for luxury shopping in Paris. Among shops like Cartier and Louis Vuitton, you’ll find the festive season in full swing, thanks to decorative window displays and beautiful lights.

Check out La Magie de Noël aux Tuileries

One of the city’s most alluring Christmas markets is the Marché de Noël des Tuileries in the Tuileries Garden near the Louvre. Doubling as a fête foraine with lots of rides and amusements, the event is called “La Magie de Noël aux Tuileries.”

Here you’ll find an abundance of French food products, gorgeous lights, Swiss-style chalets, a champagne bar, and much more. Oh, did I forget to mention the Ferris Wheel? Yes, the garden’s Ferris Wheel is operating in full force for the festive fun. This is a great spot for those with little ones, thanks to the fun activities and rides.

Best of all – admission is free! But, be prepared, it can get quite crowded on the weekends and in the days leading up to Christmas.


Enjoy the Lights on the Champs-Élysées

The city’s most famous avenue glows during the month of December as festive, twinkling lights sparkle and shine. There are reportedly over one million lights strung up here each year. These glittering lights are wrapped around the trees between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde.

Amble down the avenue and take in the lights, sights, and sounds of the season. You can also find some of the best window shopping in the city here. You can count on the lights being on from approximately 5 pm to 11:45 pm. (This year the city is shutting down the lights earlier to save energy.)

Sip Some Bubbly

 When it comes to drinks, nothing quite matches the level of festive energy like a glass of chilled champagne. Over the holiday season, check out some of Paris’s best champagne bars and sip the night away – responsibly, of course – toasting to the end of this year and the beginning of the next one.

Paris spots like Le Dokhan’s Bar, Ma Cave Fleury, and Café La Perle are go-to destinations for sipping a tasty glass of bubbles.

Attend a Holiday Music Concert

Let’s not forget the reason for the season – the month of December hosts Christmas, Kwanza, and Hanukkah, which are all centered around religious events and faith traditions. Honor the season in the way that most resonates with you and your loved ones.

If you’re a Christmas-celebrating person, a nice way to honor the joy of the season and remember the reason it’s celebrated is to attend a Christmas music concert at one of the city’s many gorgeous churches.

The American Church in Paris hosts Candlelit Christmas Concerts where you can experience moving Christmas songs performed by some serious talents. Other Paris churches, like La Madeleine Church, Saint Eustache Church, and Saint-Germain-des-Prés, also feature holiday concerts. (See Michele Kurlander’s excellent BP article about church concerts in Paris here.)


Lead photo credit : Photo by Celine Ylmz on Unsplash

More in Champagne, Champs-Élysées, Christmas, Christmas in Paris, christmas lights, Christmas markets, galeries lafayette, Holidays in France, la magie de noel aux tuileries, music concerts, Place Vendôme, shopping in Paris

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Anne McCarthy is a contributing writer to BBC News, Teen Vogue, The Telegraph, Dance Magazine, and more. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Westminster and is the Editor in Chief of Fat Tire Tours’ travel blog. She lives in New York City.