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If you’re travelling to Paris during the holiday season and want the make the most out of your Christmas in Paris – there is certainly plenty to do! Ranging from Christmas markets in Paris to Christmas activities in Paris and even just where looks the most Christmas-y – you won’t be left wondering what to do in Paris at Christmas.
Have a look at our top picks for all the Christmas activities you can do to thoroughly explore the festive season in Paris…
Best things to do in Paris at Christmas
ICE SKATING IN PARIS
Ice skating is a fantastic activity that becomes even more accessible around the Christmas season in Paris. Ice skating rinks pop up all over the city in various locations so there’s always somewhere to have a skate. This activity is perfect for families visiting Paris at Christmas and your children will love the magical world of ice-skating for a break in-between your Parisian exploring!
The Champs-Élysées, running between the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde, is home to one of the largest Christmas markets in Paris. Every year there is a pop-up ice-skating rink which is open every day until midnight! It is open until January 3rd 2017 and costs 10€ for adults and 8€ for children – these prices include the costs of renting the skates. Head over for a skate underneath the wonderful Christmas market decorations with a mixture of Christmas and pop songs playing in the background. This rink is perfect for families visiting Paris and could even be great for those romantic couples looking to propose to their significant other! You can find it at the very start of the Champs-Élysées near to Place de la Concorde.
Every year, the iconic Eiffel Tower is home to an ice-skating rink on the 1st floor! If you want to kill two birds with one stone by visiting the famous monument and going ice-skating this place is perfect for you. Or if you’re travelling with a family and want to keep the kids entertained then venture to 1st floor of the Eiffel Tower for free ice-skating – rental of skates is also free! Open from 10.30am – 10.30pm but you’ll have to pay for a ticket to go up to the Eiffel Tower to at least the first floor.
For a fantastic pretty picturesque and an Instagram-able view of the Eiffel Tower – Trocadéro is one of the most popular places to go (pictured above). You’ll be happy to know it’s also home to an ice-skating rink every year! At this big open space very close the the Eiffel Tower it is free to skate excluding rental of the skates. It is open daily from 11am – 11pm and from the 15th of December until the 3rd of January 2017. You’ll find it near the Trocadéro metro station in the Jardins du Trocadéro in the 16th arrondissement of Paris.
If you’re looking for something a bit more off the beaten path, why not check out the Charlety Stadium near the South of Paris. Not only an ice rink, this place is fantastic for those who are visiting Paris and that love Winter sports! Along with ice-skating you can also go sleighing, the merry go rounds, trampolines and much more. This place is perfect for both children and adults who are visiting Paris. The wonderful Winter world is open from the 19th of December until the 31st of December and is completely free! You’ll find it at Stade Charléty, 99 Boulevard Kellermann, 75013 Paris every day from 11am – 6pm!
INSIDR TOP TIP: GRAND PALAIS
For the first time in two years, the Grand Palais is opening its doors to show a magician Winter extravaganza! Featuring the largest ice-skating rink in France – you’ll be able to skate underneath one of the largest glass domes in the world, with a fantastic view of the Parisian sky in one of Paris’ most famous museums. Open from the 14th of December until the 2nd of January 2017 – it is open from 10am – 1pm, then 2pm – 8pm every day for amateurs, children and families. But after 9pm until 2am it turns into a cool nightclub with a dance floor! This is perfect if you’re a thrill seeker visiting Paris or are just looking for something new to try.
HOTEL DE VILLE – CLOSED THIS SEASON
Another pop-up ice-skating rink in Paris but this one is in front of the iconic and historic town hall or ‘Hotel de Ville’. Open everyday from 10am – 10pm and on weekends until midnight this place is great for a central location to enjoy ice-skating in Paris! It’s also perfect for families visiting Paris as it has a small section dedicated to children-only. It’s completely free to use and costs 6€ for ice-skate rental. It usually opens mid December and closes as late as the beginning of March. It is unfortunately not opening this season in Paris but look out for it any next time you come back to Paris!
FUN CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS IN PARIS
If you’re travelling to Paris with children and are looking for fun things for your kids to do other than ice-skating, here are a few ideas! These also apply if you’re an adult and want to something a bit more fun than the usual museums!
PARIS FERRIS WHEEL
Place de la Concorde in Paris is home to a huge Ferris wheel known as the ‘The Big Wheel’ (pictured above). Open from 11 November 2016 to 15 May 2017, its 48 pods will give you a great view of Paris from a central location and it’s fun for all the family! Enjoy the breath-taking view over the Tuileries Gardens, the Louvre and the Christmas lights on the Champs-Elysées – all for the price of 8€. It’s open every day from 10.30am until midnight.
Merry-go-rounds are a fun thing to do in Paris during the festive season and children love them! Those which pop-up over the Christmas period are completely free and the others aren’t too expensive. You’ll find at least one in every arrondissement of Paris barring the 1st and 2nd districts.
Check out all their locations: square du Temple (3rd), Place de l’Hôtel de Ville near to rue de Rivoli (4th), Bordure du square St Médard (5th), Place Sainte Sulpice (6th), Place Joffre, Metro Ecole Militaire (7th), Place de la Concorde (8th), Place Lino Ventura, around Metro Pigalle or Anvers (9th), Place Bonsergent (10th), Place du Père Chaillet, Metro Voltaire (11th), Rue Antoine-Julien Henard at the corner of Avenue Daumesnil (12th), Place d’Italie at the corner of Avenue d’Italie (13th), Angle rue Didot et rue d’Alésia, Metro Plaisance or Alésia (14th), Esplanade Gare Montparnasse – Place Raoul Dautry (15th), Place du Trocadéro (16th)
Place du Docteur Félix Lobligeois, near to Metro Brochant or La Fourche (17th), Square Louise Michel, 6 place Saint-Pierre, Metro Anvers (18th), Place Armand Carrel, Metro Laumière or Bolivar (19th) and finally Rue Belgrand, Metro Gambetta or Porte de Bagnolet (20th).
FUN & GAMES AT THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS
Many of the Christmas markets in Paris have fun things to do to keep your children entertained. Check out the live entertainment shows with dinner in certain tents along the Champs-Élysées, the big slides, small roller coasters and many other activities for you and your children to enjoy!
CHRISTMAS SHOWS AND SPECTACLES IN PARIS
One of the most popular activities over the Christmas period in Paris is the Cirque d’Hiver. Dating back from the 11th December 1852 by Duke of Morny ( thehalf-brother of Prince Louis-Napoléon). who was granted permission to build a circus. A few years later, in November 1859, the circus was really brought to life by the ‘flying trapeze’, an act invented by Léotard. Every year this circus features new and exciting acts and performances. Be sure to check it out for a great activity for all the family in Paris over the Christmas period! You can see book tickets and see more about their performances on their website.
SWAN LAKE BALLET PERFORMANCE
Christmas would be incomplete without a viewing of the very famous ‘Swan Lake’ ballet performance, and Paris is no different. Throughout the month of December you can watch the incredible performance by world-class performers! This audio-visual masterpiece in one of the fanciest places in the city will be sure to entertain you and is great for all the family visiting over December in Paris, or for those romantic couples looking for a lovely evening or even just a wonderful evening by yourself! Check their website out to book tickets and to find more info.
The Sainte Chapelle Christmas concerts are truly a thing of wonder. Often described as a breath-taking site, you can listen to some of the most famous classical music by the likes of the greats such Mozart, Vivaldi and many more. The superb performances take place in the famous La Sainte Chapelle church which have huge stained glass windows and are the perfect setting for this beautiful music! If you’re a fan of classical music when visiting Paris this festive season be sure to check them out. They also offer champagne and dinner tickets which include dinner before or after the show as well as a glass of champagne. For more information and to book tickets you can find out all about them on this website.
MOST CHRISTMAS-Y AREAS IN PARIS
Whether you want to find tthe most Christmas lookingplace in Paris to Instagram or simply want to enjoy a cup of mulled wine under the Christmas decorations – you have lots of options to choose from! Nearly everywhere in Paris is lit up with decorations or trees or lights, but here are some of our top picks!
- CHAMPS-ELYSEES – The classic and most known Christmas area of Paris featuring the iconic Christmas markets.
- MONTMARTRE – Around the Sacré-Coeur it offers a lovely village feeling that’s very Christmas-y.
- LE BON MARCHE, GALERIES LAFAYETTE and PRINTEMPS – These department stores are full to the brim of Christmas gifts and decorated with beautiful Christmas decorations.
- SAINT-GERMAIN AREA – Is a lovely, famous area that’s even better with Christmas lights!
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