Post: Paris in December

Snow in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background, surrounded by trees with snow on their branches, and a blanket of snow covering the ground.

Located along the banks of the Seine River, Paris is an enchanting destination captivating visitors year-round. However, in December, a distinct magic descends upon the City of Light. As autumn’s last leaves give way to a gentle dusting of snow, Paris in December transforms into a winter wonderland, exuding an irresistible charm.

In December, the streets of Paris come alive with a festive spirit that is uniquely its own. The city’s iconic landmarks, from the Eiffel Tower to Notre Dame Cathedral, don a sparkling coat of holiday lights – casting a warm and inviting glow upon the cobblestone streets below.

While the weather may be brisk, the spirit of Parisians remains warm and welcoming. Read on as we tell you more about Paris in December – the weather, shopping experience, and other fun activities that you can enjoy while visiting Paris.

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Paris in December 5

Parisian Winter Wonderland

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Paris takes on a magical atmosphere in December. While daytime temperatures average around freezing, the city is treated to a winter wonderland as a light blanket of snow often covers the ground. The parks and plazas glitter with fresh fallen powder, giving Paris the feeling of a postcard scene.

All around town, Christmas decorations transform the city into a holiday showplace. Shops, monuments, and bridges are strung with twinkling lights, creating a glowing landscape even after night falls. Christmas trees stand tall before Notre Dame and along the Champs-Elysees, helping Parisians and visitors get into the festive spirit.

During this time of year, every corner, including Disneyland Paris, seems to show off the city’s Christmas cheer through colorful wreaths, poinsettias, and other traditional décor. This makes a stroll through Paris a genuinely enchanting winter weather experience.

Not traveling in December? Explore the magic of the season with our exclusive blog on traveling to Paris in Winter, and discover why it’s a must-visit destination beyond the traditional holiday month.

Holiday Markets and Christmas Shopping

The best locations to find Christmas markets in Paris are at the Champ de Mars near the iconic Eiffel Tower, Luxembourg Garden, and Place de la Madeleine. You can wander through stalls selling seasonal foods, gifts, decorations, and sampling hot mulled wine. Browse unique Christmas tree ornaments, local handicrafts, and tasty treats like baked bries, crepes, and roasted chestnuts, perfect for you to enjoy.

You’ll find one-of-a-kind gifts at small boutiques throughout Paris waiting to be discovered. Hunt for rare books at the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookstore or browse artisanal toys, teas, and chocolates in the charming neighborhood of Le Marais. In the Montmartre Christmas market, you can shop Chinatown-style stalls for scarves, gloves, and decor perfectly packaged for any gifts you need.

Even wandering neighborhoods to take in elaborate storefront Christmas windows can make for a memorable afternoon. Iconic department stores Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps unveil astonishing artistic seasonal displays. They will capture your imagination and the magic of the holidays in Parisian style for a great Christmas day and early January experience.

Culinary Delights

Paris in December is truly a feast for the senses. Traditional French holiday cuisine is elevated everywhere you turn, from buttery bûche de Noël cakes to decadent foie gras dishes. Be sure to indulge in classics like tourtiere, a savory meat pie brought annually for the holidays. Hot chocolate and mulled wine are the perfect ways to stay cozy – stop by a café for rich, steamed chocolate or sample seasonal spiced wines at local restaurants.

For a unique dining experience, reservations book up fast at Christmas market-inspired restaurants serving Yuletide feasts under twinkling lights. Many establishments debut particular winter tasting menus highlighting local game meats, fresh seafood, and ingredients at their peak in the chilly months. During the most beautiful time of year, Paris embraces the festive spirit through food and drink.

Cultural Experiences

December holiday season offers a wealth of cultural opportunities to immerse yourself in the arts in Paris. Major museums like the Louvre and Orsay host special holiday exhibitions exploring themes of light, tradition, and gifts of the season. The city’s vibrant theater scene also gets into the spirit. Catch a classic play or seasonal performance at the Comédie Française for a dose of culture in the holidays.

No visit to Paris in December is complete without attending Midnight Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral on Christmas Eve. Join hundreds of worshippers in breathtaking Gothic architecture for traditional choral music, readings, and spiritual reflection. It is an unforgettable way to feel the warmth of faith and community in the heart of the city during the holidays.

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Paris in December 7

Ice Skating and Outdoor Activities

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Paris in December 8

Ice skating rinks pop up across Paris every winter, offering a romantic experience underneath the Eiffel Tower or Notre Dame Cathedral. The rink at Place de l’Hôtel de Ville also gives skaters stunning city views as they glide across the ice. For a unique cold weather experience, skate under the glowing trees at the rink in front of Paris city hall.

When you need a break from the rinks, immerse yourself in winter walks along the frozen Seine. Take in seasonal displays in shops as you stroll through the medieval quarter of Le Marais. Nearby parks like Parc des Buttes Chaumont offer trails with breathtaking views.

For a day trip, relax in the picturesque town of Vernon on the Seine River or experience champagne tasting in Reims, with its magnificent Gothic cathedral. Chantilly Castle and Garden offers Christmas lights and displays for visitors looking to escape the city but still experience the magic of a French Christmas season.

Practical Tips for Traveling to Paris in December

To best enjoy your trip to romantic Paris in December, keep these practical tips in mind:

  • Pack warm layers and winter clothing, as December is the coldest month in Paris, with average low temperatures around freezing.

  • Visit Paris indoor tourist attractions since many outdoor sites like gardens and parks will have reduced hours or be closed.

  • Book accommodation early as Christmas and New Year’s make December one of the busiest tourist periods, and hotels fill up fast.

  • Be prepared for shorter days as the sun will set in Paris by 5 pm in late December. Therefore, plan activities around less daylight.

  • Budget extra for holiday festivities, as many restaurants, attractions, and events have special holiday menus and prices during Christmas and New Year’s weeks.

In December, Paris transforms into a wintry wonderland. Historic sites and shops dazzle with twinkling lights as snow softly blankets the city. Inside bustling cafes, warmth and festive cheer contrast with the chill outside.

Despite colder Paris weather, the holidays imbue Paris with unique magic as locals and visitors celebrate. A walk through the illuminated streets reveals the city shining in peak seasonal splendor. This makes a December trip an unforgettable experience to witness Paris aglow. 

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