Christmas in Paris is first a family and religious event. Most people offer gifts to family members. Many attend mass in one of the many churches in the city. Best things to do. Visit the Department Stores and admire their shop windows. Admire the city illuminations, especially on the Champs-Elysées and rue de la Paix. Enter churches and see the Christ Child Crib. On Christmas night, attend a mass at Notre Dame or any of the many churches in town. Have dinner in a restaurant with their special menus and festive atmosphere. Christmas day is very quiet. There are few open restaurants and stores. Trip to Paris.
Christmas on Champs-Elysées is magnified by the illuminations (from November 19th to January 7th). The Christmas market has been canceled and replaced by a Christmas market in Tuileries Gardens, the largest Christmas market in Paris, called La Magie de Noël ("Christmas magic"). A week before Christmas, Parisians rush to the stores to do their Christmas shopping. Stores are then very crowded. Almost all stores are closed on Christmas day in the city.
Most restaurants are open, have special menus plus animation and dance. Prices are less expensive than for New Year's Eve. Check restaurant web sites for reservations between now and mid December.
It is very difficult to find a good restaurant in Paris open on Christmas day. The brasseries are the exception.They have large and beautiful dining rooms, atmosphere, shellfish, sauerkraut, beer and Alsatian wine. The brasseries are affordable and quite popular with locals. Somehow neglected by foodies, they are at the heart of the Parisian way of life. La Coupole, Mollard, Chez Jenny and La Strasbourgeoise are four brasseries open 7 days a week, including Christmas day and New Year's day. Paris brasseries.
Although Christmas became too a major commercial event, it is first a religious event in the city with the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, a 1500 year old tradition.
Most churches in the city have a beautiful Christ child crib during Christmas time. Christmas night masses are always touching faithful people and skeptics alike. They are fully part of a city where the Catholic church is quite dynamic.
During Christmas, the city is wonderfully illuminated at night, with colors and lights which give the city a magical and unique atmosphere. Experience a magic Christmas on the Seine River. An unforgettable evening on the Seine to celebrate Christmas. A superb view over the most beautiful monuments of the city. A refined, gourmet dinner cruise with La Marina. Admire the superb illuminations along the cruise.
If you are in Paris for Christmas, we warmly recommend you to spend one extra day and visit Mont Saint Michel on a one day coach tour from Paris. Mont Saint Michel is one of the world's marvels. Mont Saint Michel facts.
Mont Saint Michel is often very crowded in the summer. Try to visit it off season. December or January are perfect.