All the Things to Do that Make Paris in December Special
Paris events in December focus on the holidays as lavish Christmas and New Year's decorations transform the city into a real City of Light.
Paris in December brings festive Christmas Markets overflowing with unique gifts and regional specialties, sparkling lights and decorations throughout the city's neighborhoods, and plenty of good cheer.
Sip a cup of vin chaud - hot mulled wine - as you do your holiday shopping, gaze at the magical holiday windows at the famous Paris department stores, and relax at special Christmas concerts in the city's magnificent churches.
And if you're lucky enough to be here for New Year's Eve, get ready for a spectacular celebration you'll always remember.
Top photo: Holiday lights along Champs Elysées by the Arc de Triomphe
Christmas Markets in Paris 2019
Sparkling lights and decorations, the smell of roasting chestnuts, cups of hot wine infused with cinnamon, and Swiss-style chalets overflowing with special holiday foods, hand-crafted gifts, and decorations . . . Christmas Markets, a tradition since Medieval times, pop up all over Paris starting in late November.
St Germain des Près Christmas Market - November 30-January 5
Christmas Market at the Feeries d'Anteuil - November 30-December 8, 2019
Gare de l'Est Traditional Alsace Christmas Market - December 4-20
Christmas Market at Notre Dame Cathedral - December 13-29, 10am-8pm (9pm on Friday, Saturday, Sunday)
Christmas Market at Hôtel de Ville (Paris City Hall, 4th arr) - December 13-January 5 (to be confirmed)
15th Arrondissement Christmas Market - December 13-22 (to be confirmed)
Bir Hakeim Christmas Market (not far from the Eiffel Tower) - December 19 -January 5 (to be confirmed)
Christmas Market at Invalides - December 13-31 (to be confirmed)
Selected Pop-Up & Short-Term Christmas Markets
Japanese Christmas Market - Passage Choiseul (Rue des Petits Champs, 2nd arr) - 11:30am-5:30pm, Nov 27 - 30
English Christmas - St George's Anglican Church (7 Rue Auguste Vacquerie, 16th arr) - December - January (to be confirmed)
Nordic Christmas Market - La REcyclerie (83 Boulevard Ornano, 18th arr) - Dec 13 (to be confirmed)
Swedish Christmas Market - The Swedish Church (9 Rue Médéric, 17th arr, Metro: Courcelles) - Nov 29-December 1
Marché de Noël de Rock My Bergamote - Young French Designers at Le Pavillion des Canaux coffeeshop/restaurant (39 Quai de la Loire), Bassin de la Villette, 19th arr - 11am-8pm, December 7 (to be confirmed)
Specialty Christmas Markets on 3 Sundays with 3 themes and 30 creators in front of Le Hasard Ludique ("Playful Hazard"), the former Saint-Ouen rail station on the Petit Cienture and now a cultural venue (128 Avenue de Saint-Ouen, 18th arr; nearest Metro: Porte de St Ouen / Guy Moquet) - African-Style Christmas Market on Dec 1, Made in the 18th Arrondisement Market on Dec 8, Merci Bernard's Vegan Christmas Market on Dec 15 plus Christmas treats, mulled wine, specialty beers, and hot drinks all day. Free admission. More about Le Hasard Ludique: https://www.lehasardludique.paris
Klin d'Oeil d'Hiver Christmas Market featuring 70 designers - Carreau du Temple (4 Eugene Spuller - 3rd arr) - December 7-8 (to be confirmed)
Christmas lights and decorations start to appear in Paris starting in mid-November and continue through early January (until just before the January sales begin).
By December, you can see festive lights, decorations, and Christmas trees in all the city's key shopping districts. Don't miss the spectacular store window displays at Paris's four grand department stores!
Enchanted Christmas celebrations start at Disneyland Paris in early November and continue into January with plenty of entertainment and holiday spirit for everyone.
You'll find a spectacular giant tree, entertaining shows, festive Christmas parades, and gorgeous holiday decorations everywhere. Each year brings new holiday features, lights, and shows at both Disney Parks, an immersive nighttime extravaganza, and singing carols with Santa, Mickey, and Minnie for a magical experience you won't forget.
When: November 9 - January 6
Disneyland Paris and Transportation
Take the RER A to the Marne-la-Valée station across a small plaza from Disneyland Paris, and buy your tickets at the gate - or check out these options to make your trip faster and easier:
Hanukkah Celebrations & Menorah Lightings in Paris
Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, begins at sundown on December 22 this year, and lasts for eight days until sundown on December 30.
All over the City of Light, giant menorahs in public spaces (as well as normal size menorahs in private homes) will be lit in honor of the occasion, starting with just one candle on the first night plus one additional candle on each following night until all are glowing.
This year, Paris begins its public menorah lighting ceremony for Hanukkah at the Eiffel Tower at 8pm, followed by a "Hassidique" concert.
Visiting Paris in December? Here's a mix of fun indoor and outdoor activities to enjoy this month:
- 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
- Paris Christmas Lights Bus Tour - See all the fantastic holiday lights around the city from the top of a double-decker sightseeing bus. Dress warmly, and get ready for a fun city tour where you'll see the best holiday light displays in the city. Book now
- Baking & Wine Class Gourmet Package - This special small-group experience combines two gourmet adventures: 1) a fascinating behind-the-scenes bakery tour and demonstration of how master chefs create Paris's famous baguettes and pastries as you learn interesting facts about French culture and cuisine, taste samples warm from the oven, and get a goodie bag to enjoy later, and 2) a visit to a wine cellar where you'll taste wines from 6 different French regions and learn from a master sommelier about the nuances of appreciating French wine. Book now
- Moulin Rouge Show with Dinner Options - Enjoy a delicious dinner (vegetarian and vegan options available) and fantastic performance of the Féerie show at the legendary Moulin Rouge for a quintessential Paris night on the town! Book now
Paris Exhibits - Shows to See during December
@ Musée Marmottan Monet, September 12 through January 26, 2020 - Although Piet Mondrian is best known for his abstract paintings featuring red, yellow, and blue blocks separated by thick black lines, this unique exhibit brings together his less-known figurative work. Location: 2 rue Louis Boilly, 16e Open: Tuesday - Sunday; 10am-6pm and until 9pm on Thursdays. General admission: 12€; timed entry tickets available online Nearest Metro: La Muette More info & tickets:https://www.marmottan.fr
The Great Naive Masters
@ Musée Maillol, September 11 - January 19, 2020 - Maillol Museum brings together over 100 works created between the two world wars by Henri Rousseau, Séraphine Louis, and lesser-known "primitive" artists to examine their subversive statements against the modernism of that period. Location: 61 rue de Grenelle, 7th arr Tickets: 13.50€ (available online for timed entry) Nearest Metro: Rue du Bac More info: www.museemaillol.com
Van Gogh: The Starry Night
@ L'Atelier des Lumières, through Dec 31- Monumental floor-to-ceiling digital imagery accompanied by original music immerses you in Van Gogh's life and art, followed by two short films in Paris's new immersive Digital Arts Center located in a former iron factory. Tickets 14.5€ online (L'Atelier website) Where: 38 Rue Saint Maur, 11th arrondissement Metro: Rue Saint-Maur
Picasso: Magic Paintings
@ Picasso Museum, Through February 2020 - This special exhibit focuses on Picasso's paintings completed between 1926-1930, and explores his experimentation in the context of Surrealism, psychology, and his fascination with magic.
Admission: Exhibit included with museum admission. Get skip-the-line priority tickets online or with a Paris Museum Pass Location: 5 rue de Thorigny, 3rd arrondissement; closed Mondays
Leonardo da Vinci
@ Musée du Louvre, October 24 - February 24, 2020 - This highly-anticipated blockbuster show marks the 500th anniversary of the painter's death and brings together 5 core works, includinging the Mona Lisa, plus many more of his paintings and drawings. The show is free with the cost of regular admission, but you must reserve a date and time-slot ticket in advance online. Book as far in advance as possible to get your preferred date/time. Location: Rue de Rivoli, 1st arrondissement
Closed: Tuesdays, January 1, May 1, and December 25
Tickets: 17€ (purchased online); includes admission to permanent exhibits as well; free for under 26 Stay nearby:Hotels near the Louvre Nearest Metro: Palais Royal/Musée du Louvre, Pyramides More info: https://www.louvre.fr
The Alana Collection: Masterpieces of Italian Painting
@ Musée Jacquemart-André, September 13-January 20, 2020 - Over 75 masterpieces by Fra Angelico, Lippi, Tintoretto, and other Italian Renaissance masters from the privately-held Alana Collection will be on loan from the U.S. Location: 158 Boulevard Haussmann, 8th arr.
Nearest Metro : Saint Philippe du Roule
Open: Daily, 10-6pm, and until 8:30 on Mondays during special exhibitions
Tickets: 14.5€ (includes permanent collection and this exhibition)
Oceans: An Unusual Dive
@ Grande Galerie de l'Evolution (Museum of Natural History), Through January 5, 2020 - Huge exhibition exploring the diversity of the marine environment, interesting ocean species, and extreme environment such as the icy waters of the Southern Ocean. Show tickets 13€. (Free admission to Petit Palais' permanent collection) Location: 36 Rue Goeffroy Saint-Hilaire (Jardin des Plantes), 5th arrondissement
Closed: Tuesdays, January 1, May 1, and December 25
Tickets: 10€; free for under 26 Nearest Metro: Censier Daubenton, Jussieu, Gare d’Austerlitz More info: www.mnhn.fr
Paris Museum and Attractions Passes
Get free admission and skip-the-line access to 60+ museums in and near Paris when you have a Paris Museum Pass for 2, 4, or 6 days. More info
Handel's Messiah Sing-Along - 2019
Have you ever wanted to celebrate the holiday season by singing Handel's Messiah as part of a large group of enthusiastic singers?
You can do this on Sunday, December 8 at 3pm as the Paris Choral Society leads their annual Messiah Sing-Along of Part 1 and the famous Hallelujah Chorus at the American Cathedral (23 Avenue George V, 8th arr) - or, if you prefer, just listen. Don't know the words? No worries. You can rent or buy a copy of the score at the door.