December in Paris – wonderful things to do at Christmas 2021
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December in Paris – wonderful things to do at Christmas 2021 

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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.

 

Paris in December - one of the highlights is the Christmas decoration at the Galerie Lafayette
December in Paris – The Galerie Lafayette is beautifully decorated for Christmas

 

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:

  1. Popular sights like the Eiffel Tower or the Catacombs book out weeks in advance, especially in high season!
  2. Covid-19 and social distancing measurements limit visitor numbers. To comply, most sights require prebooking.
  3. 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:

 

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.

 

Paris in December

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.

 

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Good reads for your next trip to Paris:

 

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.

The Christmas markets are good places to visit in Paris during Christmas
The Christmas markets are good places to visit in Paris during Christmas

 

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

Click here to book your cruise

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.

 

Christmas Decorations at the Bon Marchè
Christmas Decorations at the Bon Marché in Paris

 

 

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

Click here for more info on the Christmas themed sightseeing tour

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!

Paris at Christmas - what to do in Paris in December
One of the many decorated vitrines at the Galerie Lafayette – Picture by L.C.

 

 

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 2021?!

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:

Christmas Tree Lafayette 2021
The Christmas Tree in the Galerie Lafayette in 2021

 

 

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!

One of the many beautifully illuminated and decorated streets during Christmas in Paris
One of the many beautifully illuminated and decorated streets during Christmas

 

 

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.

Not the Eiffel Tower, though! Book your tickets here in advance because it will get very busy!

 

 

Enjoy a festive Christmas Dinner on Christmas Eve at a Cabaret!

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.

Christmas Eve in Paris
The yule log is the traditional Christmas cake in France

 

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.

take a walk at the Palais Royal - amazing no matter what season in Paris, but as well if you visit Paris at winter
taking a walk at Palais Royal is nice no matter the season

 

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)

Christmas Eve

  • 10 pm: Organ concert
  • 11 pm: Sung Christmas vigil
  • Midnight: Midnight Mass

Christmas Day

  • Mass: 7 am, 11 am, 6 pm, and 10 pm.
  • Vespers: 4 pm

Tip: arrive at least 30 minutes early

 

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December in Paris - wonderful things to do at Christmas 2021

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