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!
GALERIES LAFAYETTE HAUSSMANN
Located on the famous department store’s rooftop, Galeries Lafayette Haussmann ice skating rink offers the nicest skyline view! Admission is FREE! Accessible from 9:30pm to 8:30pm on the rooftop of the store with the mechanical stairs and elevator.
Don’t forget to also stop and admire the fabulous Christmas Tree. The window displays are heart-warming for kids and adults alike!
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.
INSIDR TOP TIP: GRAND PALAIS
For the second time, the Grand Palais is opening its doors to show a magician Winter extravaganza! Featuring the largest ice-skating rink in the world: 29,000 ft2 of ice under the stunning nave of the Grand Palais.– 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 13th of December until the 8th of January 2019 – 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.
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
Tuileries Gardens in Paris host a huge Ferris wheel known as the ‘The Big Wheel’ (pictured above). 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 Place de la Concorde – 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. For families in Paris, the perfect Christmas combo is: going on a Seine River Cruise with Vedettes de Paris and enjoying on the way the mini Christmas market that will be set up on Port de Suffren (just next to the Eiffel Tower)!
INSIDR Tip: Make sure you download your INSIDR Crepes Cruise Upgrade voucher before buying your cruise tickets online!
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.
BEST MUSICAL SHOWS
Whether you’d like to enjoy the smooth tunes of jazz or you prefer to listen to classical music being played an ancient church, you won’t be left longing for fine music while in Paris this Christmas.
For Jazz Lovers
Duc des Lombards Live Jazz Club has an amazing line-up of artists this month!
Dec 14 – a great Jazz Quartet from the south of France the Thomas Galliano Quartet
Dec 26 – catch the French trio of Bloom who’ll e performing a mix of jazz, pop, and soul!
Dec 29 – this is the show to catch if you’re looking to dance!
INSIDR Tip: Order the INSIDR team’s favorite cocktail: Gin Basil Smash that goes so well with their charcuterie and cheese plate! Buy your tickets online in advance and make sure you have your INSIDR voucher with you for a discounted ticket rate and priority seating at the show.
For Classical Music Lovers:
– At Paris Philarmonie: Paris Orchestra plays Debussy and Stravinsky on December 19 and 20
– At Sainte Chappelle Church: Bach and Vivaldi special Christmas recitals
– At Eglise de La Madeleine: Vivaldi’s Four Seasons & Christmas songs on December 27
MOST CHRISTMAS-Y AREAS IN PARIS
Whether you want to find the most Christmas looking place 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!