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Paris at Christmas 2013

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posts: 9
reviews: 6
Paris at Christmas 2013

We are thinking about a two week trip to France at Christmas... centerning on Paris. Do a lot of the shops, resturants, etc close between Christmasn and New Years? Are the trains on limited schedules. Suggestions for Christmas Events, Markets, etc would be welcomed. Want to rent an apartment in a quiet area near public transportation. Thank you

49 replies to this topic
Chicago, Illinois
posts: 15,348
reviews: 47
1. Re: Paris at Christmas 2013

This is a great time to visit and everything is hopping. There is public transport even on Christmas day and except for Christmas day and New Year's Day most things are open as usual. The occasional small shop or restaurant that closes after Christmas won't even be noticeable.

It is high season for apartment costs and hotels as this is such a popular time to visit. The lights, Christmas markets etc are still up and running. The Christmas markets in Paris are fun for an evening stroll but pretty lame in merchandise -- same old same old commercial junk, Chinese tat etc and very overpriced. But the hot wine and the street foot is good and the kids find the activities and rides for them fun.

Musical events like opera and concerts are in season and worth getting tickets for ahead of time. The rarely opened Musee Des Arts Foraings has public days during this time of year. see our visit on www.janettravels.wordpress.com

With we could do Christmas in Paris every year.

Paris, France
posts: 3,213
reviews: 105
2. Re: Paris at Christmas 2013

Second what Janet said, especially about the Christmas markets. Fun to browse, especially if it's snowing, but don't expect much beyond some tasty (and warm) street food and drink. One exception, if kids are into skating, there's a small ice rink on Champs-E worth looking into.

Many shops, restaurants etc will be open, so you will always find somewhere to shop and eat. However, if you have someplace specific in mind, go to their individual official websites to verify closing dates and reserve for special restaurants and concerts.

The atmosphere and decorations in Paris during holiday season pale in comparison to that of London and the US - especially since Holland was elected - but it is still nice. Pray for snow and have fun!

London, United...
posts: 830
reviews: 50
3. Re: Paris at Christmas 2013

Paris does Christmas very well.. There are a good selection of Christmas markets, the champs elysees looks very festive and the shopping is great.

On the other hand Paris does not do New Years Eve very well but that all depends on what you want. If you want a fantastic dinner with great food and lots of champagne (and are willing to dig deep into the wallet) then Paris can be a lovely place to see in the new year, however if you want a world class firework display and public events then Paris is a bit if a let down. However, this is based on last year so 2013 may differ.

Yucaipa, California
posts: 3,259
reviews: 6
4. Re: Paris at Christmas 2013

Here's my list for Christmas/Winter in Paris (some duplicates from posters above):

Watch the ice skating at Hotel de Ville—skating is free, skate rental is 5€

Cirque d’Hiver—get tickets @ FNAC a day or two prior; Metro Filles du Calvaire or Oberkampf—tickets 23 & 30€; trapeze first performed here 150 years ago. Live orchestra

Grande Roue at Concorde, 10€

Notre-Dame Cathedral—Huge Christmas tree out front, and the nativity story is told through a sound and light show projected onto a 100m2 screen hanging in the nave. Showings start every half hour or so

Christmas show at Horse Museum @ Chantilly (Noël, le Cheval et l'Enfant) From Gare du Nord SNCF Grandes lignes (24 minutes) Show is about 1 hour; Buy tickets online @ …getaticket.com/Accueil.aspx Pass for chateau, gardens, horse museum & show--29,50 €, Show only 22€

Department Store animated windows—Galleries Lafayette & Printemps on Bl. Haussmann

Lights on Champs Elysees and Christmas market on lower end of the Champs, near Concorde

Neighborhood Christmas lights--take a night bus ride to see lights! List of decorated streets: paris.fr/loisirs/les-grands-rendez-vous/noel…

Christmas markets also at La Defense, St. Germain du Pres, Montpanasse, St. Sulpice, Tracadero, Place d'Italie, in the Gare de l'Est, place de la Nation, Square Viviani/quai de Montebello

Musée des Arts Forains—53, avenue des Terroirs-de-France (Bercy Village) Antique merry-go-rounds, etc. Open to the public between Christmas and New Year's.

Christmas Concerts at Madeleine, St. Chapelle, etc.

New Year’s Eve (St. Sylvestre)--Concerts at St. Chapelle, St. Severin, St. Germain du Pres; Lots of restaurants put on events with special menus (reserve ahead or look for last minute discounts of up to 50%)

Metro is for free from 5 pm on New Year's Eve till noon on New Year’s Day, and runs all night

posts: 11,670
reviews: 9
5. Re: Paris at Christmas 2013

Excellent list, Annette!

posts: 9
reviews: 6
6. Re: Paris at Christmas 2013

Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions!!

posts: 96
reviews: 4
7. Re: Paris at Christmas 2013

Oh I'm so glad someone posted about this! I'm heading to Paris for Christmas and New Years. Great list!

New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Key West
posts: 25,291
reviews: 37
8. Re: Paris at Christmas 2013

We were in Budapest for the first week and a half this past January. We were worried about snow and very cold weather, but it turned out to be so enjoyable that we are planning a second trip to Paris from about 12/22/13 to 01/03/14. We brought one heavy coat apiece and heavier walking boots and everytng went fine. Whenever we got chilly we stopped for mulled wine and/or chestnuts. We were actually glad that it snowed off-and-on so that we could hike around and take photos. It should be very different from our usual April in Paris.


posts: 3
reviews: 2
9. Re: Paris at Christmas 2013

Thank you for all the suggestions as we are also planning on spending Christmas week in Paris. Has anyone been to Normandy the days prior to Christmas?

New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Key West
posts: 25,291
reviews: 37
10. Re: Paris at Christmas 2013

FWIW we booked airfare for this trip just this past week. A lttle more than we wanted to spend but it's done and will be paid for and forgotten when winter rolls around.

12/22/13 - 01/03/14.


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