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, along other famous avenues, in hidden passages, and magnificent plazas, 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.
Look for special light shows at the plaza in front of the Hotel de Ville where you can also stroll through a sparkling forest, buy snacks and artisan products with the Made in Paris label from the Christmas Market chalets, and, just for children, enjoy free rides.
You'll find more lights at Place de la Bastille, Place de la Concorde, and along the banks of the Seine River - and of course, plenty of other spots around Paris.
For some of the loveliest, although more subdued, Christmas decorations and lights, go inside Paris churches.
Or, for a completely different type of experience, take one of the evening Seine River cruises and see the Illuminations of historic buildings and monuments while you enjoy a gourmet dinner or Champagne and perhaps dancing to live music.
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, which leads to even more streets displaying holiday lights each year.
This article shares where to find the most spectacular Christmas Lights, Illuminations, and decorations in Paris to celebrate the exciting holiday season.
Top photo: Holiday lights along Champs Elysées in Paris, with Arc de Triomphe in background; copyright Paris Discovery Guide, all rights reserved
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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 lights cover the 200 or so trees lining both sides of the famous avenue 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. Once the site of Magie de Noel, Paris's biggest Christmas Market (now relocated in Tuileries Garden), Champs-Elysees
Although the Christmas lights usually sparkle from 5pm to midnight, they will stay lit all night for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve.
This year, the Christmas lights along Champs Elysees turn on starting on November 19 and continue through January 7.
Don't miss this magical Paris winter holiday experience, and take time to stop for a chocolat chaud along the way!
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. Spectacular Lights & Christmas Trees in Place Vendôme
Dozens of Christmas trees shaped like perfect cones and sparkling with white and blue lights glitter across Place Vendôme's huge central plaza.
Surrounded by the façades of palatial 18th century mansions now home to jewelers and even a "Palace" 5-star hotel (the Ritz, which occupies Number 15), the brilliantly lighted trees make the whole space feel ethereal.
If your holiday gift list includes jewelry, Place Vendôme and adjacent 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.
Location: 1st arrondissement
Metros: Concorde, Madeleine, Pyramides, Tuileries
Stay nearby: The Ritz - check reviews and rates
More to enjoy nearby: Christmas lights and decorations along nearby Faubourg Saint-Honoré
More about Paris in December
3. 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:
- Paris Christmas Lights Bus 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
- Paris at Christmas on Champs Elysees & Arc de Triomphe Walking Tour:This small-group evening walking tour takes you to see the dazzling lights along Champs-Élysées while you learn about the history of this iconic avenue and stop by Laduree to sample macarons. Skip-the-line admission to Arc de Triomphe, where you'll head up to the rooftop to admire Christmas lights all over Paris, and may even see the sparkling light show at the Eiffel Tower. 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
4. Paris Illuminations from Seine River Cruises
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
- Seine River Dinner Cruise and Moulin Rouge Show with Champagne - Enjoy dazzling views of Paris from the Eiffel Tower, and then cruise along the Seine past lighted attractions. Dine either at the tower or on a dinner cruise (you choose), and cap your spectacular evening by watching a performance at the famous Moulin Rouge while you sip Champagne - Find out more
- 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:
5. Rue Saint-Honoré & Rue Royale Christmas Lights & Decorations
Gold and silvery-white Christmas lights and other fanciful decoration along fashionable Rue Saint-Honoré, Rue de la Paix, Rue Royale, and other nearby rues give an elegant and sophisticated touch to these upscale shopping streets.
Dior, Hermès, and other famous designer boutiques dominate the scene around Place Vendome and Place de la Madeleine, with Dior's decorations this year (as is true for most years) out-shining all the rest.
Take a moment to detour up Rue Royale toward Place de la Madeleine, and enjoy all the glitzy holiday decorations along the way.
Equally compelling are the elaborate holiday window displays.
When you reach the elegant 19th century passage Le Village Royal (traditionally known as Cité Berryer) next to Dior, step inside this almost-hidden designer enclave to experience more holiday magic.
During the day, you can enjoy the tranqility as you stroll through this charming passage lined with designer boutiques.
After dark, thousands of sparkling lights turn the passage to gold.
Location: Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré between Rue Royale and Palais Royal, 1st Arrondissement
Nearest Métro: Tuileries or Concorde
3. Lighted Christmas Trees Around the Pantheon
Seventeen majestic evergreen trees sparkle around the Pantheon on top of Montagne Saint-Geneviève in Paris's Latin Quarter.
Combine your visit with a candlelight concert at a nearby Latin Quarter church such as Eglise Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre or Eglise Saint-Ephrem.
For the perfect ending to your evening, stop by the Notre Dame Christmas Market at Square Viviani for a steaming cup of vin chaud.
6. Bercy Village
Bercy Village, a quaint cobblestone courtyard lined with 42 pale stone buildings next to the Seine River in Paris's 12th arrondissement, once formed the epicenter of the world's largest wine market.
Today, boutiques and cafes fill the former wine storehouses, and each Christmas, the Village puts up a dazzling display of holiday lights designed by a different artist each year.
A huge decorated Christmas tree adds to the festive ambiance.
While not quite in central Paris, Bercy Village is an easy 10-15 minute walk from the Latin Quarter or the Marais, or a quick (probably 5-10 minutes if you're coming from central Paris) metro ride.
Most Bercy Village businesses are open daily from 10am to 8pm, although the lights stay lit at least a couple of hours longer.
Metro: Cour Saint-Emilion
Dates: Mid November through mid January
7. 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 five 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!
Paris Department Stores
- Galeries Lafayette: 40 Boulevard Haussmann, 9th arr
- Au Printemps: 64 Boulevard Haussmann, 9th arr
- BHV: 14 Rue du Temple, 4th arr
- Bon Marché: 24 Rue de Sèvres, 7th arr
- La Samaritaine: 19 Rue de la Monnaie, 1st art
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.
- More about Christmas Eve and Christmas Day concerts in Paris churches
- Find more concerts in Sainte Chapelle, Madeleine Church, and other Paris churches
- Find Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Masses and church services in Paris
9. La Défense Christmas Lights
The expansive central esplanade at La Defense is where you'll find the biggest and most flamboyantly colorful Christmas lights and decorations in the city.
As soon as you step off the escalator from the Metro station, you'll see the lighted decorations in front of you.
With shopping centers on both sides of the Esplanade and the brightly-lit La Defense Christmas market at the far end, you can easily spend an entire evening here.
Location: West of Paris, just outside of the city
Nearest Métro/RER A: Grande Arche de la Défense
More about the La Defense and other Paris Christmas Markets
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:
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 Bac, 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.
Pin Now, Check Out Paris Christmas Lights Later
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- Paris Christmas Markets - Get the holiday spirit with hot mulled wine, specialty foods, and handmade gifts
- Paris Christmas Eve and Christmas Day concerts - see the schedule
- Christmas Eve Masses & Church Services in Paris - Religious services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Paris
- More to Do in Paris during December - Top events and things to do in December