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If you are lucky enough to visit Paris in December 2021 you can look forward to a beautifully illuminated city, magical Christmas events, and a truly unforgettable city escape.
Paris in December is one of the most beautiful times of the year and a fantastic time to visit France’s capital. Don’t miss our post about Winter in Paris to get more ideas on how to spend a wonderful winter trip in Paris.
But before you dive in and get inspired on how to fill your vacation days with activities, I want to stress out that it is almost mandatory for many activities in Paris to purchase your admission in advance.
Plan ahead for the top sights when visiting Paris in December!
I know, it kills a bit the spontaneous, easy-going holiday vibe you are certainly keen on. But there are a few reasons why you should book your tickets in advance when visiting Paris this December:
- Popular sights like the Eiffel Tower or the Catacombs book out weeks in advance, especially in high season!
- Covid-19 and social distancing measurements limit visitor numbers. To comply, most sights require prebooking.
- Some ticket booths on site are closed or require you to queue for hours
Hence, I strongly recommend reserving your entrance tickets in advance to avoid disappointment or wasting time queuing.
Below, you find the sights that you absolutely need to book before you arrive in Paris. For your convenience, I added links to my most trusted ticket provider:
- The Eiffel Tower – click here for tickets to the summit!
- The Louvre – Click here to see the Mona Lisa
- The Catacombs – click here to enter Paris’ underground
- The Castle of Versailles – book your ticket here
You also can purchase tickets directly on the sights homepages. However, the downside is that they usually don’t have a cancellation policy. While reserving your Paris tickets with get your guide grants you a 24h cancellation and refund policy.
What are the best activities for December in Paris?
When you are in Paris in December, you can fully immerse yourself in the Christmas magic. Sparkling fairy lights, Christmas carols, mulled wine, and of course Christmas markets, gingerbread, and festive decorations. If you love the holiday season, Paris is your place to be this Christmas.
Read on and know how to embrace Christmas in Paris to the fullest.
Good reads for your next trip to Paris:
25 reasons why you should visit Paris in Winter 2022
This article may contain compensated links. Please read disclosure for more info.
15 Mistakes Tourists Make While Visiting Paris
This article may contain compensated links. Please read disclosure for more info.Last updated on 02 February 2022 by Lena Even though visiting Paris for the first time is fairly easy, there are a few Paris mistakes you easily can make. Rookie mistakes that…
≡ Explore the Paris Christmas Market while visiting Paris in December
Christmas Markets are a tradition from the east of France and Germany, but for some years they are very popular in Paris as well. The Tourism Office of Paris just published the list of Christmas Markets in 2021 and there are no less than 25 markets registered!
Most markets open on the first weekend of December, but some markets open their chalets already by the 20th of November.
ATTENTION: Christmas Markets are a popular place for PICKPOCKETS! Read this article and know how to prevent getting scammed.
The biggest Christmas Market in Paris is usually at La Défense. However, you can find smaller ones although around Montmartre, Trocadero, and Saint Germain. Visiting a Christmas market is one of the best things to do in Paris in December.
Did you know that the oldest Christmas Market in Europe — and also one of the nicest — is less than 2h away? If you’re keen to get the full Christmas experience, check this post and know how to take a day trip to Strasbourg!
≡ Admire the illuminated Paris by taking a Cruise on the Seine
Treat yourself to something special and enjoy a Cruise on the Seine by night. You will not only be awarded one of the most incredible views of Paris, but you also get to unwind, lean back, and appreciate a glass of Champagne, if you like.
≡ Tour the Christmassy Paris with a Local!
With a local on your side, you can be sure to make the most of your trip to Paris during Christmastime. You will not only explore corners you normally wouldn’t have set foot in, but you also get interesting insider stories, anecdotes and so much Christmas cheer.
Luckily, there are a handful of local experts available to reveal to you what this unbelievable city has to offer.
≡ Enjoy the Christmas Events at Disneyland Paris
It’s likely you always dreamed about visiting Disneyland, and maybe you have it already on your Paris must-do agenda. But know that Christmas at Disneyland is beautiful, especially if you are a Disney fan. You find the park decorated and Christmas flair is everywhere. For many, Disney is a must when visiting Paris around those events. Plus, if you are visiting during the week, you’ll find shorter queues.
≡ Take an Open Bus Tour to See all the Christmas Lights
Make sure you don’t miss anything in the Christmas decorated Paris and sign up for a sightseeing bus tour. During Christmas, you will not only get a glimpse of the most beautiful corners of Paris but you will also be granted fantastic views of the most breathtaking Christmas illuminations of Paris. Just don’t forget your coat!
Click here for more information and schedules for your Christmas lights bus tour.
≡ See the Festive Christmas Displays at the Big Department Stores
A must-do for many Christmas fans in Paris is the visit to the big department stores. Not only because the facades of Gallery Lafayette, Le Bon Marche, Printemps Haussmann, and BHV are illuminated!
The window displays are revealing whole worlds of Christmas scenes with animated figures, wrapped gifts, and everything that goes with it. If you are already at the Galeries Lafayette, don’t miss their excellent food hall! Click here to know more about it!
≡ Learn how to Cook a Traditional French Christmas Dinner
Did you ever wish you could cook a French dish as a real French Chef could? That’s your chance! Take a cooking class in Paris and learn from a professional French Chef how to cook a 3-course Christmas Dinner from scratch! Click here for more information
≡ Admire the Christmas Tree at the Galarie Lafayette
If you are following Paris-related social media channels, you will notice that there is barely another topic by the end of November than the Christmas Tree at the Galerie Lafayette, and the big question: What is the theme of 2022?!
The gigantic tree is always stunning and something you shouldn’t miss at all. The tree for 2021 got revealed yesterday, on the 17th of November and I, of course, went there right away to take a look:
Pro Tip: When you are at the Galeries Lafayette to marvel at the Christmas tree, plan in a bit extra time to visit the free rooftop. It is a wonderful viewpoint, and actually also a great spot to take fantastic photos of the Eiffel Tower.
≡ Enjoy the Christmas Decorations and Illuminations all over Paris
During Christmas, you’ll be surprised to find many Parisian streets beautifully decorated and illuminated. The most famous illuminations are along the Champs Élysée, but you find them within every neighborhood. For example, in the Rue Montorgueil or the Rue Daguerre.
Those streets are excellent places as well to buy french specialties, as they are home to many delis. Don’t miss this post if you want to know more about in hidden gems in Paris!
What to do in Paris on Christmas Day?
If you plan to celebrate Christmas day in Paris, you have many options to make this day a very memorable one. However, know that many sights and museums close on Christmas Day.
≡ Enjoy a festive Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve at a Cabaret!
Click here to know which Cabarets in Paris are the best
If you are celebrating Christmas Eve in Paris and are looking for a very festive and unique way of spending this special day, have a look at the Cabarets! Many are hosting special events on Christmas Eve with a festive dinner, Champagne, and of course, the famous Cabaret show.
Tip: Those shows are wildly popular and fast sold out, reserve your spot quick. If you want to be on the safe side, some shows are offering free cancellations up to 24h before the show.
≡ Treat yourself to a Panoramic Christmas Dinner Cruise on the Seine on Christmas Day
An exceptional way of celebrating Christmas day in Paris – or Christmas Eve – is on board of a ship! Take a Cruise on the Seine and enjoy a festive 5-course Christmas dinner while enjoying the beautiful view over the illuminated Paris by night.
This tour got excellent reviews last year 🙂
≡ Have a Bûche de Noel
The traditional French Christmas cake! A Bûche de Noel is a Yule log made from sponge cake with buttercream, icing, or/and ganache. It’s one of the indispensable food items to try during Christmas season.
≡ Attend a Christmas Concert
During Christmas in Paris, many classical concerts and chorals are taking place in Paris. Click here to know what’s going on where and purchase your tickets.
≡ Attend a Christmas Mass in Paris
Parisian’s churches are obviously celebrating Christmas and you can choose whether you want to go to one of the big churches like the Basilica Sacré Coeur or Saint Sulpice, or attend a service at a local church.
Basilique de Sacré Coeur service times (from 2020)
- 10 pm: Organ concert
- 11 pm: Sung Christmas vigil
- Midnight: Midnight Mass
- Mass: 7 am, 11 am, 6 pm, and 10 pm.
- Vespers: 4 pm
Tip: arrive at least 30 minutes early
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