Spend the Perfect Christmas in Paris 2023 – Best Things To Do in Winters

Christmas in Paris is a magical time of year, with twinkling lights adorning the city and the aroma of mulled wine and roasted chestnuts filling the air.

Last but not least, the delectable Bûche de Noël cakes grace every patisserie’s windows.

The city’s grand department stores put on dazzling holiday window displays, and charming Christmas markets pop up throughout the city.

Also, the historic churches host spectacular Christmas and New Year concerts, including a not-to-be-missed Handel’s Messiah sing-along. 

Plus, enticing sales make your holiday shopping even more enjoyable.

Each of Paris’s regions has something festive going on, from window shopping, a Christmas market, and ice skating to enjoying a vintage fair.

So take out your favorite scarf, gloves and coats and discover the best things to do in Paris at Christmas. Get ready for the Parisian Ho Ho Ho holiday.

1. Attend Christmas Concerts in Paris 2023

The first and foremost way to get into the holiday spirit is via music.

And some classical music with professional artists is the perfect way to set the holiday spirit for you.

The best part is that Paris has a lot of churches where you can hear music while enjoying the joys of Christmas.

The venue includes Sainte-Chapelle, Opera Garnier, Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Eglise de la Madeleine, Saint-Sulpice, Saint-Eustache, and the Eiffel Tower.

But beware, as attending a concert or opera is a big tradition in December, so book your tickets in advance.

Want to attend classical music concerts at the Sainte Chapelle of Paris? Read to learn the schedule.

2. From the Seine to Santa: A Tacky Christmas Adventure

From the Seine to Santa A Tacky Christmas Adventure
Image: Viator.com

To experience Christmas in Paris 2023 in all its glory, take on the illuminated River Seine Cruises.

This way, you can see the sparkling holiday lights from a different angle.

Here are some of the popular Seine River cruises for Christmas 2023:

  • Christmas Lunch on the Seine River

To tour Paris at Christmas, adorned with lights, hop on this sightseeing River Seine cruise.

You can enjoy a special 3-course lunch, live music, and magical views of famous sights and landmarks along the Seine River as you cruise by in a comfy glass-covered boat. 

See the city’s main highlights, from the Eiffel Tower to the Pont des Arts, while devouring a full three-course à la carte meal.

These holiday cruises always sell out, so book early to avoid disappointment!

  • Romantic Dinner on River Seine

Paris, the City of Lights, is a haven for couples seeking romantic experiences. 

By booking a cruise, you can savor a delicious meal at your preferred time while watching Paris glow as the night falls.

As you glide along the Seine, the city’s twinkling lights will cast a magical spell on your evening. 

As you share this intimate moment with your beloved, keep your eyes open for iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Musée d’Orsay.

Watch dazzling views of the city to kickstart an unforgettable celebration.

  • River Seine Cruise & Champagne at Moulin Rouge

You can dine on the tower or the cruise and end your evening celebration with a brilliant performance at Moulin Rouge.

Step inside the opulent Belle Époque theater and prepare to be amazed by the “féerie” revue.

Sixty dazzling Doris Girls, renowned for their high-kicking can-can performances, will take your breath away. 

See how art, music, and dance create harmony with 60 chorus singers and 80 musicians performing original songs.

3. Treat Yourself at Moulin Rouge Cabaret

Celebrate the biggest festival of the year by devouring a traditional French dinner and Champagne at Moulin Rouge.

Along with the food, have a blast by entertaining yourself with the incredible féerie show with 100 artists, 80 musicians and 60 choral singers.

Be dazzled this Christmas in Paris by the famous cabaret’s costumes, songs and set designs.

Make sure to book a tour in advance with Champagne only or a show with dinner for the holiday, as they tend to sell out fast.

4. Attend Christmas Masses at Paris Churches

Attend Christmas Masses at Paris Churches
Image: Sbs.com.au

If you are seeking a unique Christmas experience in Paris, plan to visit the several churches there.

You can attend an evening mass on December 24 or view nativity scenes in various historical churches in the city.

Most churches in Paris, like Sainte Chapelle, are Catholic, but they typically conduct their masses in French and sometimes offer a few services in English.

If you are not fluent in French, don’t worry; you don’t need to understand every word to have a meaningful experience of the Christmas Mass.

Music is a powerful tool that transcends language barriers.

 If you don’t spend Christmas Eve at a service, you can still go outside at midnight and hear the magnificent bell ringing across Paris.

5. Shake Hands with Mickey at Disneyland

Christmas celebrations are on top at Disneyland Paris, bringing fun and entertainment for everyone.

It starts in early November and includes a giant tree, entertaining shows, Christmas Parades and holiday decorations everywhere.

Christmas at Disneyland Paris is much more than that. You can sing carols with Santa, Mickey and Minne.

Moreover, you can click pictures among the illuminating lights and have an extra dose of festive magic with your family.

A day ticket for Disneyland ranges from €123 for adults above 12 years and €116 for children under 11 years.

6. Ice Skate Through Christmas Snow

Try out your skating skills in the festive environment of Magie de Christmas Market in Jardin des Tuileries.

Their ice rink (called ‘Patinoire’ in French) is open especially for Christmas between November 18 and January 7.

It is a small region but quite enough to spin around the ice freely.

If you don’t own skates, worry not, as they are available for rent.

But there are other locations where you will find an ice rink around this time.

A few ice skating places pop up every year in Paris. However, their location may vary.

Here are some possible places where you may find ice skating rinks during Christmas in Paris in 2023:

Grande Arche de la Défense 

Location: 1 Parvis de la Défense

For fantastic views of Paris and the surrounding area, visit the rooftop pop-up ice rink atop the Grand Arche. 

It’s located at 1 Parvis de la Défense, just 5 minutes outside Paris on the Metro. You can take the Metro 1 line or RER A to the La Défense Grande Arche station.

You can relish the beautiful views of Paris and the surrounding area from the rooftop pop-up sink.

The ice rink offers panoramic views of the city in all directions and is also where you will find the largest Christmas market in Paris in 2023.


  • Gloves are required, but if you don’t have them, you can buy a pair from a vending machine at the rink at €5
  • A coat check (room with an attendant) is available for €2 for your coat bag or any other item.
  • Wear thick leggings or pants to protect your knees (in case you fall).

Grand Palais, the world’s largest temporary ice rink, is closed due to renovation until 2024.

7. Shop for Gifts at Pre-Christmas Sales

The famous January sales do not start until a week after New Year’s, but the lesser-known pre-Christmas sales are game changers.

This is more of a Paris Insider tip that can save you significant money on your holiday gifts in 2023.

The discounts during this time are great to catch.

  • 20% off on designer clothing brands.
  • 50% off on home decor and gift items

This is only the case for some stores, so check the offers carefully before entering.

Best Christmas markets in Paris 2023: Stores on Grand Boulevards and Champs-Elysees boutiques in Marais are great places to start.

8. Ride the Big Wheel at Night

The best way to enjoy Paris on Christmas is by watching the city lights sparkle around you.

And what in the world is better than a giant Ferris wheel giving you panoramic views of all of Paris at Christmas?

You can find the wheel at the Tuileries Gardens Christmas Market.

Along with other things to do in Paris for Christmas, you will find snacks, beverages and other stalls of artisan gift items here.

But the biggest highlight is the amusement rides at the carnival that are worth trying during the festival.

Booking a Paris Christmas Market tour can be the best choice for shopping for your loved ones and enjoying big discounts. 

This tour starts at €271 per group (up to 15). Book now!

9. Attend the Jardin des Plantes Winter Festival of Lights

One of the best things to do in Paris for Christmas is to attend the Winter Festival of Lights.

There, you can see a mesmerizing display of giant illuminated animal statues showcasing different phases of evolution in tribute to the Museum of Natural History.

Each year’s exhibition highlights a specific era or type of species, taking you on a captivating journey through the wonders of the natural world. 

The enchanting spectacle runs for two months, from mid-November to mid-January, captivating nearly 400,000 visitors annually.

Check out our November events calendar for exact dates, timings, and ticket details.

10. Shop at Paris Christmas Markets

Shop at Paris Christmas Markets
Image: Timeout.com

If you are looking for Christmas markets in Paris 2023, you have come to the right place.

Since their origin in Germany, Christmas markets have garnered quite a bit of hype across the European continent.

The ‘Marchés de Noël’ are spread nationwide, generally starting in mid-November.

The markets are full of things that can make your Christmas more fruitful and exciting, from wooden chalets, handmade tree decorations, gifts, and cheeses to Parisian biscuits.

The best Christmas market in Paris is in the Tuileries Gardens, near the Louvre museum.

It is open from November 18, 2023, to January 7, 2024.

11. Plan Your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dinners in Paris

Plan Your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dinners in Paris
Image: Bbc.co.uk

Parisians typically celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day at home with family and friends over a feast of traditional French food. 

If you’re visiting Paris during this special time, you can enjoy the same meal, but you must plan.

Make Reservations or Shop

Many restaurants, cafes, and brasseries will be closed for the holiday, but you can still find a few places open in most neighborhoods. 

In Saint-Germain, for example, Les Deux Magots and Cafe de Flore stay open and are busy all day.

You’ll also find plenty of excellent choices among the city’s larger brasseries and restaurants, especially those in 4- and 5-star hotels. 

Be prepared to spend more if Michelin stars are involved.

For something less traditional and pricey, head to the Marais, where plenty of Jewish delis will be open, or to the 13th arrondissement’s Quartier Asiatique (Chinatown) around Place d’Italie for Vietnamese food.

Cooking Your Own Christmas Dinner

If you’re staying in an apartment, cooking your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners can be fun. 

Seek out specialties in your neighborhood shops, or head to Bon Marche’s La Grande Epicerie de Paris.

If you don’t want to cook, many stores have prepared food sections to buy a rotisserie chicken or duck, roasted potatoes, already-cooked veggies, and everything else you need for a gourmet meal. 

Or go to the nearest Picard, where everything is flash-frozen, and all you’ll need to do is heat and serve.

Don’t Forget Dessert

A traditional (and delicious) Bûche de Noël Yule log cake is a must for Christmas dinner dessert!

Weather in Paris at Christmas

The weather in Paris at Christmas is generally cold and rainy. 

The average temperature in December is 4°C (39°F), with highs of 7°C (45°F) and lows of 1°C (34°F).

Snowfall is rare but may happen occasionally.

The weather in Paris at Christmas is quite unpredictable, so packing for all types of weather, including rain, wind, and cold temperatures, is important. 

However, even if the weather is not perfect, you are sure to have a magical time in Paris during the holiday season.

Here are some tips for packing for a trip to Paris at Christmas:

  • Pack warm clothes, including a coat, hat, gloves, and scarf.
  • An umbrella or raincoat.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, as you will be walking a lot.
  • Carry a camera to capture all the holiday lights and decorations.


Is Paris worth visiting at Christmas?

The French capital is a breathtakingly beautiful city to visit at any time of the year.

However, Christmas in Paris brings it to a whole new level—the lights, the parades, the masses, the markets and more—making this time of the year even more magical.

Is Christmas a big deal in Paris?

Yes, the holiday is a massive deal in Paris.

Most offices, banks, restaurants, cafes and other businesses are closed for Christmas.

Many people in France put up Christmas decorations and trees, visit a Catholic church to attend masses, and even have an elaborate meal in the evening.

Does Paris decorate for Christmas?

Yes, it is a custom to decorate for Christmas in Paris.

The city is decorated with lights, major stores come alive with festive magic, and Christmas is decorated as the festive season comes closer.

Is Paris cold in December?

December is indeed the coldest month of the year.

With an average temperature of 5°C during the day and 2 °C at night, pack your warm clothes for your Paris trip.

Also, there’s a good chance you will experience some of them during your stay there.

Is London or Paris better at Christmas?

For Christmas, we recommend visiting Paris.

The streets illuminated with lights give you a surreal or movie-like experience.

But if you wish to visit both, we suggest you split your time by staying in London until December 23 or 24 and traveling to Paris on December 25.

Featured Image: Stock photos by Vecteezy