Christmas in Paris is truly a dream! The weather is just chilly enough, the atmosphere is festive, and everywhere you look screams of CHRISTMAS! There are a ton of exciting stuff happening all around the city. There will be Christmas markets, ice skating rinks, Christmas lights and Christmas trees, holiday-themed shopping, and of course, a lot of restaurants will be serving their special menus. This article rounds up all of the best of what Paris has to offer for Christmas 2020!
What you’ll find in this article are:
– The best Christmas markets
– Where to find the best Christmas decorations
– The best Christmas gifts
– Where to have your special Christmas meals
The best Christmas Markets in Paris
1 – La Magie de Noel at Tuileries Garden
Just like last year, the famous Champs-Elysées Christmas market will be taking place at its new home, the Tuileries Garden. The famous gardens just next to the Louvre will be extra festive and bright this winter as the park celebrates La Magie de Noel, or The Magic of Christmas!
- Dates: November 15, 2020 – January 5, 2021
- Address: Place de la Concorde, 75001
- Access: Tuileries – Line 1
2 – La Defense Christmas Market
This will be the biggest Christmas market in Paris this 2020. Though the location may be a bit outside of the city, getting there by subway is actually very easy! The La Defense market will have over 350 wooden chalets that will be offering a wide variety of artisanal Christmas-themed goods as well as delicious treats from different regions of France.
Visiting the market at night will be extra special as the buildings around the market will be lit up in colorful lights! Aside from the delicious food and cozy atmosphere, there will also be an ice skating rink on the top of the Grande Arche building! This is probably the most exciting rink in Paris this year as you’ll get to go ice skating 110m above ground! Enjoy 360° panoramic views of Paris while you glide through ice!
- Dates: November 21 – December 29, 2019
- Address: 1 Parvis de la Défense, 92800
- Access: La Defense – Line 1 / RER A
3 – Traditional Alsace Christmas Market
Parisians know the courtyard of the Gare de l’Est is the place to go for delicious food specialities from Alsace. Alsace is a north-eastern region in France that is right next to Germany and Switzerland. This geographical positioning has made the mix of cultures between French, German and Swiss inevitable.
Unlike the French way of eating, Alsatian food is all about conviviality. Therefore expect large platters of hearty dishes at the Christmas market! The region is also very well-known for wine so don’t miss out on getting a sip or two. Kids will also enjoy traditional pretzels, gingerbread, and Christmas biscuits! As for shopping, you’ll go crazy over the elaborate Christmas decorations, trinkets and fabrics that will be on sale!
- Dates: December 4 – 20, 2019
- Address: Place du 11 novembre 1918, 75010
- Access: Gare de l’Est – Lines 4, 5 7
Find all of Paris’ Christmas markets this 2019 when you open our Christmas 2019 Map on Google!
The best Christmas Decorations in Paris
1 – Grands Boulevards
Paris isn’t nicknamed the City of Light for nothing! This isn’t any more true than when Christmas time rolls around. This is where several establishments show off their creativity and this is particularly most apparent on Boulevard Haussmann. Did you know that Parisians actually make it a tradition to stop by the busy boulevard to gander at the heart-tugging window displays?
Make sure not to miss Galeries Lafayette Haussmann who always treats the public with their annual Christmas decorations. For this 2019, their theme is ‘La Ruche de Noël’ which translates to The Christmas Beehive. You can expect to see a lot of very festive golden decorations as well as different specially-designed bee characters who will be prominent throughout the entire department store. But of course, nothing will beat the massive and always awe-striking Christmas tree that will be right under the Grande Coupole. You can get really nice photos by going on the Glass Walk which will be back this year. Catch all of these at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann until early January.
INSIDR Tip: Did you know that you can enjoy a VIP shopping experience at Galeries Lafayette? Download your voucher before heading there.
- Address: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009
- Access: Chausée d’Antin La Fayette – Lines 7, 9
2 – Rue de Rivoli
Another bustling street in Paris during the holidays is rue de Rivoli. The boutique-lined street will be glowing brighter than ever kicked off by LE BHV MARAIS‘ 2019 Christmas decorations. If last year’s impressive theme was around Mary Poppins, this year, the beloved Marais department store is partnering up with the city of Strasbourg to deliver Parisians the ultimate holiday vibe! There will also be a Christmas choir sing (weekends from November 30 – December 22, 3-7pm) and appearances by Santa Claus on Wednesdays and Sundays!
LE BHV MARAIS’ windows will look like the famous Christmas market chalets found in Strasbourg! And at the BHV Cour de l’Homme, there will be a genuine Alsacian village that will be serving Flammekueche, sauerkrauts, and organic wines. You can enjoy all of this from November 13 to December 31, 2019.
INSIDR Tip: Don’t just stand outside to admire the festive decors, make sure to head inside LE BHV MARAIS to shop! They have an amazing stationery and home decors section. Plus, you can get a 15% discount and a free coffee+cake from Café Marlette with this INSIDR voucher!
- Address: 52 Rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris
- Access: Hotel de Ville – Line 1
3 – Avenue des Champs-Elysees
Boutiques and flagship stores of Longchamp, Guerlain, and Marionnaud are about to get even more festive. As if the most famous avenue in the world needed more attention, from November 24, 2019, Champs-Elysées will be even brighter as the Christmas lights will go on. The launch will be on a Sunday where cars won’t be allowed on the street so people can witness the launch at 6pm!
Because of the city’s commitment to running eco-friendly systems, this year’s lights will be the same red ones from last year. The same light installations will be used for 3 to 5 seasons so if travellers miss it this year, there’s a big chance you can still catch them next year.
INSIDR Tip: After you’re done admiring the lights on the Avenue, walk down to Le Grand Palais and put your skating boots on because their famous ice skating rink is back for one more season before it closes for renovations in 2020!
- Access: George V – Line 1
The best Christmas gifts to buy in Paris
And because it’s Christmas, we’re happy to share our gifts to our INSIDR travellers and readers. Make sure you click on every link to get a very special discount or gift voucher!
1. Secrid Wallet
Did you know that regular wallets and cardholders are no longer safe these days? Luckily, a stylish and protective cardholder/wallet comes through Secrid! The wallet has a protective steel layer that guards your credit cards from being tampered with! We love its sleek shape that’s bound by leather in different colors. Secrid wallets are available at Arty Dandy! And with this voucher, you can get it embossed for FREE!
2. By Terry makeup
We can’t help but swoon over how perfect this CC Powder from By Terry is! It’s their limited edition Starlight Rose CC Powder. Just a few strokes with a brush and your skin will instantly look luminous and pore-free! You can also enjoy a free makeup session for 30 minutes! Buy any 2 products at By Terry using your INSIDR voucher to get a free make-up kit with travel size products!
3. Jacquemus shoes
Of course, everyone has heard of the ground-breaking designs of Simon Jacquemus. His clothes and accessories are exclusively distributed by Galeries Lafayette! We love these stylish mules. Perfect for all the holiday parties you’ll be attending this season. More international high-street brands can be found at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann.
4. Longchamp accessories
For a treat-yourself moment this Christmas, we can’t recommend Longchamp’s handbags and ready-to-wear collection enough! If you’re thinking of getting this bag, you might as well do it VIP-style with champagne and macarons! Book a free VIP shopping experience at their Saint-Honoré or Champs-Elysées flagships right here.
5. French perfume
It’s a well-known fact how romantic the French are. This isn’t more true than when they choose a specific scent for their romantic partners. We suggest you do the same for the one you love. Marionnaud has a wide selection of French-brand fragrances that span different budgets. Go for the classic Shalimar by Guerlain or Sauvage by Dior. Using this voucher at Marionnaud gets you as much as 27% off your purchases!
6. a bag organizer
One of the best gifts you can give someone is something that is guaranteed to be extremely useful. We just love the compact bag organizers from Delfonics. They come in different designs and colors and they’re perfect for both men and women. You can find more organizational goods and stationery at their boutique in Carrousel du Louvre! And don’t forget, spending 100€ gets you an exclusive gift set with a variety of products worth 40€!
The best restaurants for a holiday meal in Paris
1 – Les Ombres
Dining out somewhere special during the Christmas season can be challenging as tables get booked pretty early on and there are just so many great ones to choose from. One of INSIDR’s standing favorites is Les Ombres for its unobstructed view of the Eiffel Tower and delicious seasonal menu. Can you imagine enjoying your meal as you stare at the sparkling lights of the tower?
INSIDR Tip: Before your dinner reservation, enjoy a walk through the gardens of Musée du Quai Branly. The entrance is free and they currently have an amazing lights installtion on!
- Address: 27 Quai Branly, 75007
- Les Ombres website
2 – Le Chalet Savoyard
The cold weather will definitely make you want to indulge in some hearty mountain dishes like raclette, fondue, and all sorts of cheesy potato dishes! The best place to sample authentic versions would be at Le Chalet Savoyard. If you wanna know about what other winter food you must try while in Paris, read our guide!
- Address: 58 Rue de Charonne, 75011
- Le Chalet Savoyard website
3 – A typical French brasserie
If you’re traveling on a budget but still want to experience French-style dining, we highly recommend eating at a brasseries. Brasseries serve French fare and are open all day, 7 days a week. The food is moderately priced and you’ll often find set menus that won’t dig a hole through your wallet. A couple of our favorites are:
– Au Pied de Cochon: 6 Rue Coquillière, 75001
– Grand Café Capucines: 4 Boulevard des Capucines, 75009
For more brasserie recommendations, download our Eating in Paris Guide!