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Christmas in Paris 2022

Ave Montaigne Christmas

Parisians will be celebrating the holidays with the usual selection of Christmas markets, holiday lights, and other special events starting mid-November through the beginning of January.

Check out the Holiday Lights and Decorations

Holiday lights Champs Elysées
Christmas lights on the Champs-Elysées in 2021

Despite inflation and skyrocketing energy prices, The City of Lights isn’t going dark during the holidays, but instead is relying on LED lights and shorter hours (ie turning off all of the lights before midnight) to maintain the usual festive light displays throughout the city, but especially the Champs Elysées (best seen after 10pm when most of the shops have closed and the crowds of shoppers have disappeared). Other chic shopping streets lit up for the holidays are the Avenue Montaigne (8th), the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré (8th), and the Place Vendôme (1st). You’ll also see decorations on many pedestrian market streets such as Rue Mouffetard (5th), Bercy Village (12th), and Rue Montorgueil (2nd).

It’s traditional to check out the elaborately decorated shop windows of the Grands Magasins (department stores): Printemps and Galeries Lafayette (on Boulevard Haussmann, 9th), BHV (across from Hôtel de Ville, 4th), La Samaritaine (Rue de Rivoli, 1st), and Le Bon Marché (near St-Germain-des-Près, 6th) are usually worth a peek, and they even have little wooden platforms for the kids to see better. Like the Champs-Eysées, sidewalks are less crowded after the shops close, so aim for 10pm. I also highly recommend the Covered Passages (Galerie Vivienne, Passage Jouffroy, etc), which are magical during the holidays.

Christmas windows at BHV
Christmas decorations at BHV Department Store 2021
Christmas decorations at BHV Department Store 2022
Christmas decorations at BHV Department Store 2022 “Noël en Provence”

Christmas Sightseeing & Activities in Paris

  • Nov 23-Jan 2
    The historic Grand Rex Cinema (1 Blvd Poissonnière, 2nd)  is putting on its annual laser-light-water-jet-pop-music show (you have to see it to believe it…), Féérie des Eaux. €12-€16 (€14 for students under 26), includes the show followed by the feature film Le Chat Potté 2 (French dubbed version of “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish”). You’ll want to be on time for this, people line up early! If you want to splash out a bit more cash, €35 gets you a Carré d’Or ticket with your own priority line, a special goodies box from the snack bar, and the best seats reserved just for you. Note that all Féérie des Eaux screenings are in VF (dubbed in French).
Grand Rex Christmas show
  • Nov 14-Jan15
    The Jardin des Plantes (5th) is hosting another evening illuminations festival in their gardens over the holidays. This year’s theme is “Mini-Mondes: The Enlightening Evolution” featuring more than a hundred light structures representing the fabulous world of insects. “Meet the little beasts that inhabit the meadows, ponds and forests of France, or even inhabit our bodies. Discover species that are sometimes familiar – centipedes, woodlice or glowworms -, sometimes more mysterious , such as springtails, diplouras, or the astonishing tardigrade.” You can see them for free in the daytime during regular garden opening hours, but will need tickets to see them lit up at night, from 6-11pm. Tickets €12-€15, AVAILABLE ONLY ONLINE here.
  • November 18-January 8
    Another light show, Lumières en Seine, takes place for the second year at the Parc de Saint-Cloud, a forest in the west suburbs of Paris. It’s a bit pricey, but offers “an enchanted setting for an exceptional and spectacular evening as you make your way along an illuminated trail filled with the magical feel of the festive season and the wonder of winter.” Open tickets are €26 (€20 for kids 3-11), and specific time-slots are €20-22 (€16-18 for kids). Family tickets are €65-72. Spots book up fast, reserve online as far in advance as possible. And bundle up!
  • November 24-January 2
    For those who prefer the East side, the Parc Floral in the Bois de Vincennes is holding its first light show called Les Sentiers Lumineux de Noël, an illuminated path that takes about 60-90 minutes to explore. Time slot tickets are €24 (€16 for kids 3-12), €74 for families. Open tickets that can be used any time on a specific date (keeping in mind it’s only open from 5:30pm -9pm.
Sentiers Lumineux de Noël
Sentiers Lumineux de Noël
  • Throughout December
    For carnival rides with a holiday spirit check out the Jours de Fête à la Villette (Place de la Fontaine aux Lions, 211 avenue Jean Jaures, 19th) with 60 rides and stands. Free entry, ride tickets from €2-€10. Open Sunday-Thursday 2-9pm, Fri-Sat 11am-11pm.
  • November 17-January 4
    The pedestrian-only Bercy Village (Cour St-Emilion, 12th) is decorated with a sparkling canopy of illuminated hot air balloons and clouds, and an “Instagram” portrait space for the holidays, and each weekend there are free jazz concerts, Gospel singers, activities for kids, and Père Noël with his elfin assistant. Check their website for specific times for the events, or just hang out at the shops, the large cineplex, or heated sidewalk cafés for the ambiance.
Bercy village lights
Bercy Village Lights
  • Nov 17-Dec31
    In addition to their window decorations and the large Christmas tree under the Coupole, this year the Haussmann department store Galeries Lafayette is hosting “Planet Christmas” (which they call Planet Sapin in French), with an immersive experience, Planet of Fir Trees Expedition, “A journey through a magical world of images and lights, culminating in a place of unique spatial design. All the senses are engaged through a vibrant ambiance of sound and vision.” It takes place in Le Salon Opéra special events lounge on the 4th floor of the Galeries Lafayette Coupole store, at the shoe department, next to UGG and Galeries Lafayette Paris’s corners. Adult entry is €5 for the 10-minute experience, book your time slot directly online here.
  • Dec 15-Jan 1
    “Lumières!” lights up the Parc de la Villette again this year, using LED lighting, low-power lasers and eco-compatible materials to create several luminous works – some of which were created for La Villette – and playful installations for a nocturnal journey. “Strolling from work to work, walkers discover artistic worlds that combine visual illusion, hypnotic installation, immersive work and interactive experience.” Free and open to the general public each evening.
Père Noël at the Hôtel de Ville
  • Dec 3-Jan 2
    The esplanade in front of the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall, 4th) will once again be decorated with an “enchanted forest” of pine trees that come from sustainable nurseries in the region, and will either be composted in Parisian gardens or reused next year (the ones still in pots). A holiday light show will be projected onto the façade of the building, and there will be a free merry-go-round, a “snow mountain” for kids to climb or sled down, and a small handful of chalets selling products “Fabriqué à Paris” (made in Paris) and mulled wine and warm pretzels. Free entry, open 11am-9pm.
The Enchanted Forest at Hôtel de Ville
  • Dec 3-26
    The pedestrian area of the Place de la Bastille will have an “enchanted forest” decorated with holiday lights, a few wooden chalets selling sweet and savory treats, a free carrousel for the kids 11am-9pm, and visits from Père Noël on Wed, Sat, Sun 1-7pm (daily during the school holidays).
Free Carrousel Rides for Kids
  • Dec 26- Jan 2
    The Musée des Arts Forains (Carnival Arts Museum) at Les Pavillons de Bercy (53 Avenue des Terroirs de France, 12th) is a private museum of carnival rides and decorations usually closed to the general public (the venue can be hired for private events). It’s exceptionally open for the holidays for the annual Festival du Merveilleux, decorated in winter wonderland style, with antique merry-go-rounds, carnival games, automatons, and live magicians and jugglers. Book online in advance to secure your spot! Tickets €18.80 (€12.80 kids 3-12), includes two tickets for the rides. There are hot drinks and food like onion soup served in the garden outside, so dress warm to enjoy it fully!
Antique carousel horses at the Carnival Arts Museum

Christmas Markets in Paris

Christmas Markets, aka Marchés de Noël are traditionally found in the French region of Alsace (the most famous is the Strasbourg Christmas Market), but Paris has quite a few Christmas markets of its own, some small with just a few wooden chalets, others huge affairs with rides and entertainment. All of them sell a selection of holiday gifts and decor, mulled wine and other gourmet goodies. The latest trend is seeing a lot more emphasis on unique themes, sustainability, quality and artisanal products made in France, and markets supporting charities. This isn’t an exhaustive list (see the Paris Tourism Office for that), but it includes many of the ones worth crossing town to visit, as well as special holiday sales benefitting local charities. Note that these markets are usually closed on Christmas Day and close early on Christmas Eve.

Mulled wine keeps visitors warm!

Traditional Christmas Markets for Shopping & Eating (Outdoors)

  • Nov 19-Jan 8
    The biggest Christmas Market in Paris is in the Tuileries Gardens (1st), which combines the same carnival rides you see over the summer (but decorated with Christmas garlands), a Ferris wheel (enclosed, €12), a smallish 500m² skating rink (€10 for adults, €6 for kids, everyone mixed in together), live music, and a village of 100 wooden chalets selling decorations, toys, gifs, and gourmet treats. A special food market sells plenty of hot food and drinks to enjoy seated at picnic tables or as you walk around. They are supposed to focus on quality and products made here in France (there are even craftspeople making their wares right at the market), but double-check before spending. Free entry. Open Sun-Thurs 11am-11:45pm; Fri-Sat until 12:45am (11am-8pm on Dec 25th and 31st).
Tuileries Marché de Noël
Tuileries Marché de Noël
Tuileries Marché de Noël
Tuileries Marché de Noël
  • Nov 23-Dec 24
    The 27th edition of the annual Marché de Noël de La Défense on the esplanade of La Défense, overlooking Paris (end of metro line 1) will be different than previous years with a new company at the helm managing it. They promise it will have “new chalets and totally new decoration” for the 150 stands selling all of the standard Christmas decorations, gifts and regional foods. The famous stall selling Santon figurines will be back, but there will also be new stands, with a focus on local artisans and an “eco-responsible” setup. DJ music Friday and Saturday nights. Open Sun-Thurs 11am-8pm, Fri 11am-10pm and Sat 10am-10pm. Closes at 6pm on Christmas Eve. Free entry.
La Defense Christmas MArket
La Défense Christmas Market
Alsatian Christmas Market pretzels
Alsatian Christmas Market pretzels (aka bretzels)
  • Nov 30-Dec 16
    The annual Alsace Fête Noël market at the Gare de l’Est train station is open all day long, 9am-7:30pm (from 10am Sunday), featuring all of the traditional Alsatian specialties like pretzels (or “bretzels” in France), Pain d’Epices ginger bread, Gâteaux de Noël (Bredala), and regional wines. I would certainly not cross town for this one (besides, every Christmas market has an Alsatian stand or five), but if you’re catching the train or meeting someone at the Gare de L’Est, it’s a nice little detour.
  • Dec 3-Jan 8
    The annual Marché de Noël de Saint-Germain-des-Près (Place St-Germain-des-Près, 6th) is a series of little wooden chalets along the Boulevard in one of the poshest shopping districts of Paris. It’s a nice little market to visit if you’re in the neighborhood anyway, open daily 11am-8pm.
  • Dec 9-26
    Although the reconstruction scaffolding can be seen where the roof used to be, Notre Dame Cathedral is still a magnificent backdrop for the Marché de Noël Paris Notre Dame across the river in the Square Vivani (5th), with two dozen artisan stands selling crafts, décor, gifts, and gourmet foods (see them listed here). Open 10am-8pm (until 9 pm Fri-Sun).
Ntre Dame Christmas Market
Marché Notre Dame
  • December 1 – March 2023
    The longest-lasting Marché de Noël is the Place Suisse in the Trocadéro Gardens, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower (5 avenue Albert de Mun, 16th), more focused on Swiss foods (like the cheesy raclette and fondue) as well as crêpes, sandwiches, and vin chaud. There’s also some games for kids and a BAM Karokoé stand for adults. Open daily noon until midnight.
  • December 10-31
    The Marché de Noël in Montmarre at the Place des Abbesses (18th) is run by the local artisans’ and shopkeepers’ association, with decorated pine trees along the Rue Lepic and stands with traditional Christmas crafts and foods. Daily 10am-8pm
  • There are also stands at the Place St-Michel (5th)

Christmas Markets for a Good Cause

Super Noël d'Emmaüs Défi
  • Dec 3-11
    Les Féeries d’Auteuil (40 rue Jean-de-La-Fontaine, 16th), is a Christmas Market in the gardens of the Fondation d’Auteuil that welcomes carefully selected exhibitors, craftsmen and designers from all over France, as well as a choir, puppet shows, food stands, and a flea market. Open 11am-7pm daily, all proceeds support the foundation’s child protection services and teen training programs.
  • Dec 10
    The Super Noël d’Emmaüs Défi toy sale for charity takes place this year on December 10th at 40 rue Riquet, 19th (open 10am-6pm) and Le 104 (5 rue Curial, 19th), open 1:30-6:15pm). There are thousands of new toys and boardgames available at rock-bottom prices: €1, €2, €5, and €10. Get there early for the best selection! All proceeds help Emmaüs’s mission to help those in need with clothing, housing and finding employment.
  • Dec 17-18
    The Grande Vente de Noël at the Parc Floral de Paris (Bois de Vincennes, Route de la Pyramide, 12th) is a sale of 100 major brands of women’s/men’s fashion, leather goods, shoes, gastronomy, household appliances, toys, beauty, decoration, etc. for the benefit of the Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque (children’s cardiac surgery): 10am-6pm (Sunday until 4pm), reserve your time slot here: https://mecenat-cardiaque.org/grande-vente-de-noel/#ID-Reservation

If you’re looking to volunteer for the holidays, check out Serve the City,  or the American Cathedral (specifically, they do an annual Love in a Box project). And more opportunities (in French only) at the Secours Populaire and on these sites that group multiple calls for volunteers: Jemengage.paris.fr and FranceBenevolat.org. You can also check out the updated information in the article, “Volunteer Opportunities in Paris: Get Involved!”

Cotton candy at a Christmas market in Paris

Art & Artisan Christmas Markets (Indoors)

  • Nov 26
    St George’s Anglican Church (7 rue Auguste Vacquerie, 16th) are holding their annual Christmas Bazaar today with English specialties, books and clothing at low prices, a kids’ corner, and baked goods. Open 11am-4:30pm, free entry.
  • Dec 1-22
    The Drawing Market is a pop-up Christmas market of 250 artists and artisans in the Gaîté-Montparnasse district (19, rue Vercingétorix, 14th, next to Gare de Montparnasse), hosted by the neighboring boutique hotel, The Drawing House. Dedicated to editions by contemporary artists, there are silkscreens, engravings, books, ceramics, clothing, stationery, alcohol, and artists’ editions. Open Tuesday-Sunday noon-7pm.
  • Dec 2-4
    The Swedish Church of Paris (Eglise Suédoise, 9 Rue Médéric, 17th) has their annual Christmas bazaar for three days, featuring Swedish specialities, Christmas decorations, a gourmet selection, crafts, candles and candlesticks, stationery, and greeting cards. Free entry, open Fri 11am-8pm, Sat 11am-7pm, Sun 12:30-5pm.
  • Dec 10
    Wecandoo (111 Avenue Daumesnil, 12th), the center for artisan workshops, is hosting another Christmas market Les Doos Moments #2, with 15 artisans selling their wares, including ceramics, chocolates, jewelry, embroidery, distiller, olive oil, engraver, bookbinder, candles, leather crafts, etc. Open 11am-7pm, free entry. Snacks and hot drinks available on-site.
  • Dec 10-11 and 17-18
    La Félicità (55 Boulevard Vincent Auriol, 13th), the massive Italian food court in the Station F startup incubator, is holding their annual marchés de Noël two weekends in December from noon until “late” (9pm?) with a giant Christmas tree, vin chaud, bretzels and other holiday snacks, Gospel concerts, and stands selling “eco-friendly products”. They’re also collecting used toys in good condition for charity (by Le Secours Populaire). Free entry.
  • Dec 17-18
    Le Klin D’oeil Christmas market at the Carreau du Temple (4 rue Eugène Spuller, 3rd) is back with a mix of 70 créateurs (home decor, clothing and accessories, prints, ceramics, children’s items), tattoo stands, a massage and well-being corner, a food court, and live music and DJ (Saturday 8-9:30pm) and a swing ball (Sunday 3-5pm). The market is open Sat 11am-8pm (the concert), Sun 11am-7pm. Free entry.
The Drawing Market
The Drawing Market

Christmas Markets for the Planet

  • Dec 3
    La Maison Zéro Déchet is hosting a “zero waste and upcycling” Christmas market for one day at their boutique in the Faubourg St-Antoine district, 1 passage Emma Calvé, 12th, from 11am-8pm. There will be artisans selling zero waste creations (cosmetics, jewelry, etc) and upcycled accessories (bags, kits, etc), a second-hand market of clothes, toys, and decor, and the zero waste snack bar will be open. Free entry, indoors.
  • Dec 3
    The Mairie du 12ème is hosting a Noël en Vert et Solidaire, a green and socially engaged Christmas Market on the square in front of the Town Hall of the 12th Arrondissement (130 avenue Daumesnil) from 2-6pm. There will be “zero waste, zero-carbon-emissions” stands selling the usual gifts and foods you find at Christmas Markets, but with an eco-friendly twist.
  • Dec 9-10
    The MAIF Social Club (37, rue de Turenne, 3rd)  is hosting another Marché de Noël, a different kind of Christmas market which brings together the creations of “socially engaged” entrepreneurs. “During these two days, come and meet the creators who carry out socially committed projects and hear their convictions. Participate in numerous workshops and conferences to understand their concepts. Looking for ideas for your gifts? Drinks, food, games, books, zero waste cooking, beauty etc.” Open Friday 2-8:30pm and Saturday 10am-7pm. Free entry, indoors.
  • Dec 10-11, 17-18
    Bundle up and get out into nature for the Marché de Noël Ecologique et Solidaire two weekends at the Fondation Good Planet (Domaine de Longchamp, 1 carrefour de Longchamp, 16th, Bois de Boulogne). Gourmet food, toys, décor, fashion, zero-waste, travel and beauty products, all chosen for their eco-friendliness and commitment to social inclusion. Free entry, open 11am-7pm.
Christmas market at Le Hasard Ludique
  • Dec 3-18
    Le Hasard Ludique (128 Ave St-Ouen, 18th) hosts several weekend holiday markets with different themes: Ubuntu (African) Dec 3-4, “Made in the 18th” (neighborhood artisans) on Dec 11th, and The Gros Marché (ethical and sustainable) on Dec 18th. The 30 stands stretch along the covered terrace of the Petite Ceinture railway tracks. Free entry, noon-8pm. The bar abd café of Le Hasard Ludique will also be open.

Christmas Markets that Celebrate Diversity

  • December 3-4, 10-11, and 17-18
    Le REcyclerie (83 blvd Ornano, 18th) hosts several themed Christmas villages in December promoting responsible, ethical, and multicultural shopping. So…not your usual Christmas markets! December 3-4 is an earth-friendly market, the 10-11th is the Shorba Market, and 17-18th is the Eco-Village Féministe market.
  • December 6-18
    The Little Africa Village (6bis rue des Gardes, 18th, open 11am-7pm) presents the Yéyé Pop Up shop December 6-13; a Jamii party on December 9th (7-10pm), the first game testing knowledge of Afro history and pop culture from the 5 continents; a “Home of Thamani” Tea Tasting of Kenyan teas on December 10th (3-7pm); and a tasting of Fresh Afrika, the gourmet brand that gives power back to small producers from small farms in sub-Saharan Africa.

Ice Skating in Paris

Ice Skating is a popular activity in Paris, but locations tend to change every year (Eiffel Tower, Hôtel de Ville, Champs-Elysées…). So far for 2022, aside from the smallish skating rink mentioned at the Tuileries Marché de Noël, the only other one we know about is at the esplanade of the Hôtel de Ville de Vincennes, but check back in December for the latest updates.

Christmas Concerts & Shows

Christmas Concerts usually take place in the city’s many churches throughout the holiday season, but there are also a few big holiday concerts in concert halls. You can find most of the listings on the ticket sites like FNAC: https://www.fnacspectacles.com/ , ClassicTic: https://www.classictic.com/ , and Musique Sacrée de Notre Dame de Paris (currently at St-Sulpice): https://musique-sacree-notredamedeparis.fr/. If you’re planning on seeing the Eiffel Tower anyway, they’re hosting classical music concerts over the holidays in the Gustave Eiffel Lounge (first level) from €30/person.

Orpheus Esemble
Orpheus Esemble

A special shout-out for the December 14th Christmas concert by the Orpheus a capella vocal ensemble from Ukraine, performing sacred Slavic and folk-inspired songs, evoking the Nativity at the 13th-century Collège des Bernadins in the Latin Quarter (20 rue de Poissy, 5th) at 8pm, tickets €25. Reserve online here.

For comedy shows in English and French theatre with English surtitles, check out the offerings by Theatre in Paris, including Cyrano de Bergerac at the beautiful Théâtre Le Ranelagh, and Oh My God She’s Parisian at the Théâtre Bo Saint Martin. Find all of the Christmas entertainment ideas in their article: Festive Things to Do in Paris for Christmas and New Year’s 2022

Midnight Mass & Advent Services in Paris

Most Catholic churches in Paris celebrate midnight mass on December 24th. Sadly, Notre-Dame Cathedral is still closed, but Paris has no shortage of alternatives including St-Sulpice (6th) and Basilica Sacre-Coeur (18th), both with services at 11pm and midnight mass; and St-Eustache (1st) at 10pm. Eglise St-Paul St-Louis (99 rue St Antoine, 4th) at the intersection of rue de Sévigné, is a beautiful church worth visiting. This 17th-century church was built when the Marais was the heart of aristocratic Paris, very much in the bright style of Versailles. Mass at 11pm. All will be filled completely and may be standing room only if you’re not there early.

Candlelight Advent mass at St-Sulpice Church

Lesser known by visitors, but much more magical (at least if you’re an early riser) are the candlelit Rorate masses celebrating Advent in the weeks leading up to Christmas:

  • Eglise Saint-Roch (296 Rue St-Honoré, 1st): Weekdays December 12th-16th and 29th-23rd at 8am, service in Latin.
  • Eglise Saint-Sulpice (2 rue Palatine, 6th): Wednesdays November 30th and December 7th, 14th, and 21st, and Fridays December 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd, followed by petit-déjeuner (breakfast)
  • Eglise Saint François-Xavier (12 place du Président Mithouard, 7th): Thursdays December 1st, 8th, 15th and 22nd at 7:15am, followed by café-croissant (don’t miss their famous nativity scene — crèche de Noël — made of over 1000 Santons).
  • Eglise Saint-Pierre de Montmartre (2 rue du Mont Cenis, 18th): Fridays December 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd at 6:30am with Gregorian chant and organ, followed by petit-déjeuner.

Check out this December 2020 article about the Rorate services from the New York Times: With Paris Theaters Closed, Church Is the Only Show in Town

Smiling angel statue Reims Cathedral
Smiling angel statue at Reims Cathedral

Christmas Activities Beyond Paris

  • Every Weekend from Nov 26-Mar 5
    The Cité Fertile, a “Third Space” in the Parisian suburb of Pantin, transforms into La Cité des Merveilles every weekend through March at their massive space dedicated to sustainable living. On the program of this fun fair are sweet and savory street-food stands, oversized art installations, and different eco-friendly Christmas markets every weekend in December, including a Shizen Japanese Christmas market on Dec 10-11 and a Paris Night Market Dec 17-18 with local artisans (see the schedule here), live music, a labyrinth, games and attractions for young and old, and a magical atmosphere where tree-huggers have a good time! Free entry (but reserve your date online), open noon until 8pm.
Cité Fertile
La Cité Fertile
  • November 19 – December 31
    The family-owned Château Vaux-le-Vicomte (the 17th-century palace that inspired Versailles) becomes a Christmas wonderland in December. For the 17th year of “Vaux-le-Vicomte en Lumières”, the château pays homage to Molière for his 400th birthday, where the château is transformed into a Palais d’Art with thousands of lights and holiday decorations. This year will also have a 360° projection recounting the Ceremony of the Turks from the “Bourgeois Gentilhomme”, to the music of Lully. Every night ends in a sound and light spectacle projected on the façade of the château. Dress warm, and don’t miss the roasted marshmallows! Open Wed-Sun 10am-6pm from November 19th to December 17th, and every day from December 18th-31st (closes at 4:30pm Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve). Entry €22 for adults, reserve in advance online, €17.50 just for the gardens alone, €16 for kids 6-17 years old. TICKETS MUST BE PURCHASED ONLINE IN ADVANCE, NO ON-SITE PURCHASE IS ALLOWED. More info here.
Vaux le Vicomte castle
Photo from Château Vaux-le-Vicomte
  • Nov 12-Jan 8
    Disneyland Paris celebrates Christmas each year with holiday decorations, a huge Christmas tree on Main Street, and a holiday parade for Disney’s Enchanted Christmas, as well as a New Year’s Eve party when the park is open past midnight. There are special shows on the different stages, Disney Christmas souvenirs (of course), and a Christmas Market at Disney Village (open free to the public, no park tickets required). Tickets from €59 for the Enchanted Christmas.  See some photos from previous years here: http://www.secretsofparis.com/heathers-secret-blog/disneyland-paris-for-the-holidays.html
Christmas at Disneyland Paris
Christmas at Disneyland Paris
  • Nov 25-Dec 24
    Strasbourg is the uncontested Capital of Christmas, a magical town where every street is hung with illuminated garlands, every façade covered in decorations, and every square hosting its own special Marché de Noël. It’s a bit of a hike from Paris on the TGV, doable in a day but so much more enjoyable (and affordable) if you stay a night or two to enjoy all the activities, sights and tastes of Alsace. For more info read Heather’s “Daytrip to Strasbourg Christmas Market
Holiday lights at the Strasbourg Cathedral
Holiday lights in Strasbourg, France

How Do the French Celebrate Christmas?

Even though France is a staunchly secular country, Christmas celebrations are still a big deal, much like in the US, with special food, gifts, decorations, and a bearded guy in a red suit. There are, however, a few big differences you’ll notice if it’s your first time in France for the holidays. Parisian transplant Alysa Salzberg wrote a very comprehensive article “These Are the Surprising Differences Between Christmas in France and Abroad which also includes some useful holiday greetings vocabulary, information on New Year’s Day and Hanukah, and gift suggestions for French friends. Another handy article that fills in some of the gaps is A Guide to 25 French Christmas Traditions.

Department store window Christmas decorations

And if you’re in the mood for a different  kind of Christmas story, gather around the fire with a mug of mulled wine (or two) and read Heather’s classic holiday tale: “Santa was a Pirate

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  • Hi Heather, It’s been quite a few years, but I remember a hardware store that had wonderful windows with lots of mechanical puppets. Is it still happening? A tour of the best window displays would be fun.
    Thank you for your great work. Best wishes, David

    • Thanks David! Not sure which shop you mean…Leroy Merlin is the only one that would have large windows for that kind of display (unless it was just a tiny neighborhood quancaillerie). Anyone else recognize this?

  • Yes, that was a worthy article, although I did find it odd to have to say I speak “intermediate French” to log in. (I’m a translator/interpreter from Montréal), I’ve happened to be in Paris more than once that time of year; most of my ardently secular friends (whether from Catholic, Jewish, Muslim or other backgrounds) are more inclined to make New Year’s the main celebration.

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