(Our) Top Ten Favourite Things to do in Paris during the Winter Holiday Season

1. Go ice skating. Ice rinks pop up all over the city.

We recommend the one on the Champ de Mars. From 16 December to 2 January you can skate in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower!

ice skating
ice skating

2. And while you’re there, why not climb to the top of the Eiffel tower on Christmas day?

It’s one of the few monuments in Paris that are open on December 25th, and what better way to celebrate than with a glass of champagne at the top of the tower!
ice skating

3. Go and check out the window displays in the big department stores.

The Parisians take their children to admire them every year. Our favourite ones are at the Bon Marché on the Left Bank :
📍 Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche, 24 rue de Sèvres, 75007 Paris or the Printemps, 64 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris

ice skating

4. Go to one of the big department stores food halls

We suggest the Grand Epicerie at the Bon MarchĂ© or Lafayette Gourmet across from the Galeries Lafayette. The French take Christmas and New Year eating very seriously. It’s a chance to indulge in all sorts of delicacies, and the food is always both delicious and incredibly beautiful. Look out for the traditional BĂ»ches de NoĂ«l, or Yule logs.

Grande Ă©picerie de Paris
Chocolates from "La grande epicerie"

5. Visit the Galeries Lafayette

Take a look at the Christmas tree hanging in the stunning art nouveau dome :
đź“ŤGaleries Lafayette, 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 75009 Paris

Christmas three ineGalerie Lafayette

6. Marchés de Noël (Christmas markets) pop up all around the city.

Our favourite is at Abbesses, at the foot of Montmartre. This year all the stands are selling gifts made in France, and you can taste traditional French food specialties from local producers of cheese, foie gras, mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and much more!
đź“ŤPlace des Abbesses, 75018 Paris. 26 November – 2 January

Pop up stores in Paris

7. Enjoy some of the best lights

Walk along the rue St Honoré from the intersection with the rue des Pyramides to the intersection with rue Cambon, and make sure you don’t miss the lovely Place Vendome.

Pop up stores in Paris
Pop up stores in Paris
Pop up stores in Paris
Pop up stores in Paris
Pop up stores in Paris
Pop up stores in Paris

8. Take a walk up the Champs Elysées after dark and enjoy the iconic Christmas lights

then climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for wonderful views across the city, including a bird’s eye view of the Eiffel Tower lit up (remember she sparkles on the hour every hour for 5 minutes). And while you’re on the Champs ElysĂ©es, take a short detour and check out the gorgeous lights on Avenue Montaigne.

8. Take a walk up the Champs Elysées after dark and enjoy the iconic Christmas lights

then climb to the top of the Arc de Triomphe for wonderful views across the city, including a bird’s eye view of the Eiffel Tower lit up (remember she sparkles on the hour every hour for 5 minutes). And while you’re on the Champs ElysĂ©es, take a short detour and check out the gorgeous lights on Avenue Montaigne.
Pop up stores in Paris
Pop up stores in Paris
Pop up stores in Paris

9. Take a ride on a wooden horse on one of the city’s traditional carrousels.

Many are installed all around the city for Christmas and the ones at the Hotel de Ville and Bastille are free throughout the holiday period.
A carousel

10. Visit a church and see a traditional nativity scene.

Households all over France prepare their own, using traditional ‘santons’ or clay figurines made in Provence in the South of France. One of the biggest, with over 1000 figurines, is at the Church of St François Xavier, 12 Pl. du PrĂ©sident Mithouard, in the 7th arrondissement.
You can collect an entire village full of colourful, traditional Provencal figures, we buy one or two new ones every year to add to ours. If you want to take some home and start your own collection, there is a small shop on Place St Sulpice that sells them, otherwise look out for them at the Christmas markets. The most famous ones are made by Carbonel, Fouque or Escoffier:
đź“ŤGeorges Thuillier, 10 Place Saint Sulpice, 75006 Paris

 a traditional nativity scene