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I have good news and bad news – let’s start with the bad. Paris on New Year’s Day is not the greatest day for sightseeing, shopping, or eating out. Because … the first of January is the day, where many shops and sights are closed! It’s quiet on New Year’s day in Paris.
But don’t despair – because the good news is: There is still plenty you can do to spend a fabulous New Year’s Day in Paris! Read on to know the best activities for Paris on the first of January – and more important: know what is open on January 1st in Paris!
For more ideas for December and January, check our post on Winter activities in Paris!
Visit the Eiffel Tower on NYD
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When traveling to Paris it’s almost obligatory to visit the Eiffel Tower, and luckily this is possible year-round! The Eiffel Tower remains open on the first of January! But even though you might expect it to be less crowded than on other days of the year – or maybe not, you never know – get your tickets in advance. The Eiffel Tower is very often sold out days in advance – especially if you want to take the lift to the summit or prefer to avoid waiting for hours in the queue. It’s winter after all, and it will be cold! Click here to see all ticket options for visiting the Eiffel Tower
Go ice skating on the world’s biggest indoors rink
During Christmastime in December, there are quite a few ice skating rinks installed in Paris and many of them are opened until into January. The most beautiful – and biggest – is located in the amazingly beautiful Grand Palais. It’s not the cheapest activity to do, but if you see the place, you understand! Fun Fact: It’s the biggest indoor ice skating rink in the world! Click here to get more info on the Grand Palais Ice Skating rink
Take a tour on the Grand Roue – The Ferris Wheel
The Ferris Wheel in the Tuileries Garden grants you an excellent view over Paris, and it’s open on New Year’s Day! It’s located on the Christmas Market and you can’t miss it!
Enjoy a show at a Cabaret on New Year’s Day
However, if you plan to visit more than just the Cabaret on New Years day, there are some great combi-all-inclusive- tours out there.
You can for example visit the Eiffel Tower, have dinner during a cruise and sip Champagne while enjoying a show at the famous Moulin Rouge. That’s definitely a treat to start the New Year appropriately 🙂 You can get all information about this activity here!
Or you opt in for a lighter version with a sightseeing cruise and a glass of Champagne at the Moulin Rouge! Click here to check they still have spots!
Tip: be quick about it, some are already sold out!
Attend a classical concert
You probably know that Paris has many very beautiful churches, but did you also know that many are the location of classical concerts? Attending a classical concert on the first of January is actually a great way to welcome the new year!
Visit a museum
Many museums are closed on January first, the Louvre for example. But many are also open! The Musée d’Orsay for example, or the Musée Montmartre with the Garden of Renoir. Other museums that are open:
- Orangerie Museum art gallery of impressionist and post-impressionist
- Quai Branly Museum featuring the indigenous art and cultures of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas
- Espace Dali permanent exhibition devoted to Salvador Dalí and more particularly to his sculptures and engravings
- Atelier des Lumières immersive art installation of art and music
- Jacquemart André Museum Private art museum
- Centre Pompidou Museum of modern and contemporary art
Tip: if you plan on visiting a few museums, check if the Paris Museums Pass is beneficial for you! Click here to know which museums are covered!
Eat Seafood on New Year’s Day in Paris!
Seafood and Oysters, in particular, are surely not for everyone, but for most french, they are an absolute delicacy! They are eaten especially around Christmas and New Year – it’s also the best season for getting the best seafood!
Check our Paris Foodie Guide for more culinary input for your Paris-Must-Eat list!
Visit the Père Lachaise Cemetry
The famous cemetery is not only worth a visit as it’s the last resting place of Jim Morrison, Molière, Chopin, Edith Piaf, Oscar Wilde..I could go on forever, but I guess you get the idea. It’s the biggest cemetery in Paris and pretty old, yet not the oldest burial ground of Paris. However, strolling on the old cobbled stone lanes, along with overgrown and weathered graves, it’s really a very atmospheric activity in Paris.
Have a fancy afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea is not a typical Parisian – or French – thing to do. Yet, more and more luxury hotels are offering this treat, and it’s surely a nice thing to do on the first day of the year in Paris! Check out the afternoon tea at Le Maurice, The Four Seasons, Shangri-La, or the Hotel Ritz
Go for a walk in the historic neighborhoods
The Marais, the Quartier Latin, Saint Germain… the historic districts of Paris around the Notre Dame Cathedral are usually packed with people. They are popular neighborhoods amongst locals and tourists. However, New Years day in Paris is rather quiet – most people recover from New Year’s Eve and you have the chance to explore those very nice areas. You won’t be alone, don’t have wrong expectations, but it won’t be as full as usual.
Stroll around Montmartre and the Sacre Coeur
A classic! And perfect on New Years Day! Some shops might be close, but it’s likely that the district is less crowded as well. Many points of interest are freely accessible in Montmartre and therefore completely independent of bank holidays and access hours. Click here to know what to do in Montmartre!
If you wish to attend a mass in the Sacre Coeur Basilica, they are scheduled at 7:00, 11:15, 18:30, and 22:00.
Visit the Aquarium de Paris
The Aquarium de Paris is located just across the Eiffel Tower in the gardens of the Trocadero. It has more than 10000 fish, a touch pool, sharks, stingrays and many more. Click here to buy your ticket for the 1st of January.
Go for a walk in the Tuileries Garden
The Tuileries is the public garden between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde in the center of Paris. The gardens belonged originally to the king’s palace and are open to the public since 1667.
On New Years Day the Christmas market in the Tuileries is still open and a perfect occasion to try some delicious French food, relax in a wine bar, or heat up with a typical Christmassy cup of hot wine. The entrance is free.
Take a cruise on the Seine
And another classic Paris activity that is enjoyable on the first of January: A sightseeing cruise on the Seine!
That’s actually one of my favorite activities in Paris when it comes to sightseeing. It’s laid back, relaxed, and it’s simply wonderful to see Paris from the perspective of a riverboat. Especially if you’re cruising during nighttime. However, you can simply take a basic tour and have the best time, or you treat yourself to something special on this New Years Day: A Dinner Cruise on the Seine – enjoy a fancy gourmet dinner (or lunch!) while taking in the stunning view on Paris.
See a movie
Most theaters are broadcasting original film versions, look out for the label “VOST” – Version Originale Sous-Titrée: Original version with subtitles. Check here for schedules.
Eat a Galette des Rois – the kings cake
That’s a classic, and you can’t miss it. Traditionally it’s eaten on the 6th of January, but you find a Galette des Rois already in December everywhere. It’s a puff pastry with a marzipan filling and, and that’s the special about it: a little fève. The fève is a little figurine baked in the cake and the one who finds it in his slice is the king or the queen. Very convenient, the crown is delivered with the cake.
Enjoy Disneyland or Parc Asterix
Disneyland is open year-round and a great thing to do on the first of January! Parc Asterix is also open for a few days around New Years and Christmas.
If you are traveling over a certain season, check our seasonal Paris guides!
If you have any questions about Paris or need some advice and how to plan your trip, don’t hesitate to reach out! I created a Facebook group for this matter and I am available to help you out! Click here to join the Salut from Paris Facebook group!
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