10 Places Where You'll See Spectacular Christmas Displays
Dazzling Paris Christmas lights begin to appear all over the city in mid-November and continue to fill the City of Lights through early January.
The Paris Illuminations, as they are called, take many forms: lavish displays on Champs Élysées and other famous avenues, sparkling decorations on 150+ more streets throughout the city, elaborate creations in department store windows, spectacular over-the-top light shows at Disneyland Paris, and cheerful strings of lights at the famous Paris Christmas markets.
You'll see some of the loveliest, although more subdued, Christmas decorations and lights inside Notre Dame and other Paris churches. Or, for a completely different type of experience, take one of the evening cruises and see the Illuminations of historic buildings and monuments while you enjoy a gourmet dinner or Champagne as you float down the Seine River.
In addition to being beautiful, Paris Christmas lights are environmentally "green."
A combination of LED bulbs and solar power generation means the energy usage and cost for the spectacular display is almost zero - so look for even more streets to display holiday lights in future years.
Here are 10 wonderful places to see Paris Christmas lights, and as a bonus, all offer ways to celebrate the exciting holiday season nearby.
Top photo: Holiday lights along Champs Elysées in Paris, with Arc de Triomphe in background
1. Christmas Lights along Champs Élysées
To see the most lavish display of Christmas lights and decorations in Paris, head straight to Champs Élysées, where a million (yes, literally!) sparkling crimson and blue lights cover street trees between Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe.
As you walk along the sidewalk, you'll also see festive decorations and even more lights in most of the stores lining this famous avenue.
Although the Christmas lights usually stay on from 5pm to 2am, they will be on all night for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
Location: Champs Élysées, 8th arrondissement Metros: Charles de Gaulle/Étoile, Georges V, Franklin Roosevelt, Champs Élysées/Clemenceau Stay nearby: Hotels near Arc de Triomphe
2. Avenue Montaigne Christmas Lights
Delicate white lights float among the trees along stately Avenue Montaigne, where top Paris couturier showrooms and designer boutiques occupy the street's ornate mansions.
Want to experience real magic? Walk down Avenue Montaigne until you reach the Seine River, and watch the Eiffel Tower's nightly light show across the water.
Location: Avenue Montaigne, 8th arrondissement Metro: Champs Élysées/Clemenceau
More to enjoy: Exquisite Christmas displays in the haute couture boutiques lining Avenue Montaigne
Paris Christmas Illuminations Tours
Want to get the best views of Christmas lights in Paris? These three tours let you experience unforgettable close-up looks at the city's most spectacular holiday lights:
Christmas Illuminations Paris Small Group Walking Tour: This popular evening walking tour takes you to see the city's most beautiful holiday decorations, including the famous displays at famous department stores, dazzling lights along Champs-Élysées to Arc de Triomphe, illuminated streets in the fashionable Place de la Madeleine neighborhood, and the sparkling light show at the Eiffel Tower. Book now
Paris Christmas Lights Tour - Snuggle under a warm blanket as an open-top bus takes you past the city's most brilliant Christmas lights. Along the way, you'll also see famous Paris attractions such as the Arc de Triomphe, Paris Opera House (Palais Garnier), Eiffel Tower, and Louvre museum as well as famous neighborhoods such as the Left Bank. It's an unforgettable way to see Paris illuminated with thousands of sparkling lights! Book now
Private Christmas Tour of Paris with a Ferris Wheel Ride - A local professional guide picks you up at your hotel (and takes you back at the end) for this special tour, part walking, part driving, to see the most famous Paris holiday lights and decorations as well as some places you might not discover on your own. As a bonus, enjoy a glass of mulled wine (or hot chocolate) and a ride on the giant Paris ferris wheel. Book now
3. Lighted Christmas Trees in Place Vendôme
Dozens of Christmas trees shaped like perfect cones and sparkling with white and blue lights dot Place Vendôme's huge central plaza.
Surrounded by the façades of palatial 18th century mansions (the Ritz occupies Number 15), the brilliantly lighted trees make the whole space feel ethereal.
If your holiday gift list includes jewelry, Place Vendôme and Rue de la Paix is where you'll find the most famous names in French and international luxury gems and watches. Look for Boucheron, Chopard, Chaumet, Bulgari, Cartier, Gucci, Chanel, Van Cleef & Arpels, Dior, and and many more boutiques where you can see their dazzling creations.
4. Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré Christmas Lights & Decorations
Blue and white Christmas lights along
fashionable Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré are elegant and sophisticated, with occasional touches of whimsy.
Equally compelling are the elaborate holiday window displays along this famous shopping street filled with boutiques offering luxury goods and designer clothing.
Location: Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré between Rue Royale and Palais Royal, 1st Arrondissement Nearest Métro: Tuileries or Concorde
5. More Paris Streets & Other Places to See Christmas Lights
Aside from the most extravagantly decorated avenues such as Champs Élysées, where else can you find Christmas lights in Paris?
Well, quite a lot of places, as it turns out: each year, over 150 streets and squares in about 70 Paris neighborhoods put up lighted decorations, making it truly the "City of Light," thanks to energy-saving LED bulbs.
Here is a small sample of streets where you'll find them in central Parisian districts:
1st arrondissement: Place Vendôme, Rue de Rivoli between Rue Sainte-Opporturne and Rue Perrault, Rue Saint-Honoré, Rue Berger, Quai de la Mégisserie
2nd arrondissement: Grands Boulevards (by Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps),
Passage of the Panoramas
3rd arrondissement: Rue Saint-Martin,
Passage des Ménétriers,
Rue Brantôme, Rue Brantôme
4th arrondissement: Rue Rambuteau, Rue des Archives, Rue Saint-Paul, Village Saint Paul; Rue Saint-Louis en l'Ile on Ile Saint-Louis usually sports lovely lights and decorations
5th arrondissement: Rue de la Huchette, Rue Galande, Rue Dante, Rue du Petit Pont, Rue Frédéric Sauton, Boulevard Saint Germain, Place Maubert
6th arrondissement: Rue de Rennes, Rue Saint Placid, Rue de Sèvres around Bon Marché, Rue d'Assas, Rue Notre Dame des Champs, Boulevard Saint Germain
7th arrondissement: Rue du Bac, Rue de Grenelle, Rue du Champ de Mars, Rue Saint-Dominique, Avenue de la Motte-Picquet, Avenue Bosquet, Rue Clerc, Rue Malar, Rue de l'Exposition, Rue Amélie
8th arrondissement: Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, Rue Mathurins, Avenue Montaigne, Carré de la Madeleine, Avenue Champs Elysees, Boulevard Saint Germain
9th arrondissement: Rue des Martyrs, Rue de Caumartin, Rue Mogador, Rue Cadet, Rue de la Chaussee d'Antin
You can see the Paris Christmas lights from mid-November (check the November Events Calendar for the exact date) through the first week or so in January (coming down just before January Sales begin) from 5pm until 2am.
6. Grand Department Stores - Paris's Most Lavish Christmas Decorations
You can see some of the most elaborate Christmas lights and decorations in Paris in the windows of the city's four major department stores. If you're visiting with kids, they'll be entranced by the elaborate animations based on different themes each year.
Go inside the stores to see even more lights and decorations!
To see famous Paris lighted attractions, sparkling Christmas lights, and even the Eiffel Tower light show, take one of these popular Paris Illuminations cruises:
Paris Christmas Lights Tour - For a spectacular tour of Paris Christmas lights, bundle up and hop on this open-top double-decker bus as it takes you on a Christmas-themed tour to see the city's most brilliantly lighted streets and attractions - Find out more
Paris Illuminations Cruise & Crazy Horse Burlesque Show - Start your evening with a cruise down the Seine River at dusk to see most famous Paris sights and monuments illuminated with floodlights, and then head to the iconic Crazy Horse Caberet and enjoy a glass of Champagne as you watch the spectacular burlesque show. Book now
Christmas Eve and Day Dinner Cruises - Enjoy a special 5-course dinner cooked on board, live music, and magical views of illuminated famous sights and landmarks along the Seine River as you cruise by in a comfy glass-covered boat. These holiday cruises always sell out - so book early to avoid disappointment! Book now
More Paris Christmas Tours & Cruises:
8. Christmas Displays in Paris Churches
Paris churches also get into the spirit of the Christmas season. Look for special Advent calendars and displays, beautiful nativity scenes, garlands and flowers, and even the occasional Christmas tree.
For an especially memorable experience, attend a candlelight concert during December or Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve.
10. Disneyland Paris - A Christmas Light Extravaganza!
Christmas celebrations begin at Disneyland Paris in early November with plenty of entertainment and fun for everyone.
You'll find a spectacular giant tree, entertaining shows, festive Christmas parades, and dazzling holiday decorations everywhere. Don't miss two brand-new holiday shows at Walt Disney Studios® Park this year, a new immersive nighttime extravaganza, and singing carols with Santa, Mickey, and Minnie for a magical experience you won't forget!
When: Early November through early January
Disneyland Paris and Transportation
Take RER A to the Marne-la-Valee station, walk across a small plaza to Disneyland Paris, and buy your tickets at the gate - or check out these advance ticket options to make your trip faster and easier:
Want to Book a Paris Hotel near Christmas Lights & Festivities?
Use this Paris hotel map to find a hotel with great rates in your preferred location: