Paris Before Christmas: Everything You Need to Know

Are you wondering if Paris is worth visiting before Christmas times? Then I have got the answer for you.

Monument-lined boulevards, the smell of fresh croissants in the air, and the luxurious boutiques at every corner will make you fall in love with the city and life in general at every turn. Or this is at least the reputation that Paris enjoys.

While Christmas decorations at every corner and fairy lights everywhere sound like a dream, there are also quite a few downsides to visiting Paris before Christmas.

One thing I can tell you in advance: yes, Paris is worth visiting during Christmas times.

But you should know a few things before visiting Paris at the most wonderful time of the year. Keep on reading to find out all the Pros and Cons before booking your vacation.

Let’s get to it.

picture of a tree with snow and christmas decorations and the eiffel tower in the background

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picture of the eiffel tower in winter in paris with christmas decorations in front
💶 Currency: EURO
⏱ Time Zone: GMT + 2
💡 Voltage: 230 V
✈️ Airports: ORLY, CDG
👱🏼‍♀️  Language: French

Reasons Why Paris Is Worth Visiting Before Christmas

1. Beautiful Christmas Markets

The Christmas markets are one of the biggest reasons why it is worth it visiting Paris before Christmas.

As an Austrian, visiting Christmas markets before Christmas is only natural to me. Hot mulled wine (vin chaud), sweet treats, and traditional arts and crafts pop-up stores are calling!

Every year, in December, roughly 15 – 20 different Marchés de Nöel open up all around the city. Vendors offer their special delicacies under a stunning ceiling of fairy lights. They are just as special as my favorite Christmas markets in Vienna.

What would be a romantic weekend getaway in Paris without hot wine? – Find all opening times here.

I have compiled a small list of my favorite Christmas markets in Paris:

  • La Magie de Noël (“The Magic of Christmas”) in Tuileries Garden next to the Louvre
  • Montmartre Christmas Market at Place des Abbesses (near Sacre Coeur)
  • Paris Christmas Market at Hôtel de Ville
  • Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market
  • Eiffel Tower Christmas Market on Champs de Mars
picture of a stunning Christmas market in paris

2. The Stunning Tree at Galeries Lafayette

The festive decoration inside the famous shopping mall Galeries Lafayette is simply next level! The tree in the Galeries Lafayette is a spectacle worth seeing.

Every year, the Christmas tree is decorated under a different theme.

Not only is the tree fabulous, but the Galeries Lafayette is also an excellent place for some Christmas shopping.

3. You Can Take a Romantic River Cruise on the Seine

Author’s Choice
seine dinner cruise ship next to eiffel tower
Bateaux Parisiens Seine River Gourmet Dinner
  • 3-course dinner with wine
  • 1 glass of Champagne
  • 2,5 hours
  • Sightseeing tour
  • Live music

By far one of my favorite experiences in Paris was the Seine Dinner cruise. They offer these cruises year-round, but with all the Christmas lights it seemed extra special. This is an amazing thing to do in Paris for couples.

A small but luxurious boat takes you along to all the famous sights. See Notre Dame Cathedral and the Eiffel Tower while you sip a glass of champagne and enjoy the fine French cuisine.

Since we booked the evening version, we saw Paris lit up with moonlight while a piano player enchanted us with his music.

The boat passed by the Eiffel Tower at the exact time when it was illuminated with sparkles for a Grande Finale.

4. Montmartre is Even More Charming

Montmartre is a hill in Paris’ 18 arrondissement. It is famous for its artistic history, as well as the stunning white-domed church Sacré Coeur.

Montmartre is lovely year-round, but I have loved it best during Christmas times.

During Christmas times you can find a lovely Christmas market in the district. Also, most of the Cafés will be decorated to the max.

Montmartre is definitely worth a day trip because it is the perfect spot to buy a souvenir from street artists and spend a romantic weekend getaway in Paris.

5. Christmas Lights Bus Tour

The next one might sound cheesy but I promise it is not. Christmas is the only time of the year when you can book a fabulous Open-Top Christmas Bus Tour.

Hop on a bus and catch a tour around Paris’s most beautiful streets lit up with Christmas lights with a cup of hot chocolate in your hands.

You can cuddle in a big fluffy blanket, sip some delicious hot chocolate, and listen to some festive music on the tour.

During evening hours the tour passes by the Eiffel Tower, at the exact moment when it is sparkling. This is the perfect activity for a weekend getaway in Paris before Christmas.

picture of decorated trees in paris with a small christmas market behind it

6. Christmas Shopping on the Champs Élyséés

One of the biggest reasons why Paris is worth visiting before Christmas is the great shopping opportunities.

To make sure you bring home unique and stylish Christmas gifts I recommend a shopping trip down the Champs Élyséés.

The shopping mile will be lit up with tons of sparkly lights and is very heavily, extravagantly decorated. And you will bring home unique and special gifts – guaranteed.

drone shot from the champs elysees shopping street in paris

7. Romantic Photo Shootings – Christmas Style

Make some lasting memories of your romantic weekend getaway in Paris before Christmas with a photo shoot.

The streets are much less crowded and you can even wear a cute Christmas sweater – the perfect timing for a romantic photo shoot.

It is fun, makes for a great souvenir, and an even better Christmas card.

8. Enjoy a Day Trip to Champagne – Without Crowds

The Champagne Valley is just an hour outside Paris and the perfect spot for a day trip. Book one of my favorite Champagne Tours from Paris and be prepared for a lovely day.

Usually, the Champagne is super crowded and the experience can be a hassle. So winter is the perfect time to get out there and enjoy a beautiful day trip without crowds.

Sip some original champagne, learn about the wine-making process, and visit the most exclusive wineries in the world in the Champagne Region.

a glass of champagne with a bottle in front of a snowy background

9. Christmas Decorations Everywhere

This is one of my biggest reasons why Paris is worth visiting in December.

Every storefront, restaurant, and cafe is covered in fairy lights and colorful, unique Christmas decorations.

You can find them anywhere really, just take a scenic walk through the city and be prepared to be amazed.

My favorite decorations can be found at Le Village Royal and the Place Vendôme.

10. Cultural Delights & Events

Paris has a rich cultural scene year-round, and December is no exception.

You can enjoy world-class theater performances, art exhibitions, and live music events.

Christmas concerts are the main attraction in Paris in December. Candlelight concerts, the Nutcracker at the Opera, and a special Eiffel Tower concert surprise visitors each year.

11. Culinary Highlights

French cuisine is legendary. And winter in Paris brings its own delightful culinary experiences that make the city worth visiting.

Indulge in cozy cafés, where you can enjoy warm croissants and hot chocolate. And of course, grab some macaroons at Ladurée. They go best with a glass of ice-cold Champagne.

Additionally, December is the perfect time to enjoy hearty French dishes like boeuf bourguignon and cassoulet. They are particularly comforting in the colder weather.

12. Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Paris

Paris is a fantastic place to welcome the New Year in style.

The city has magnificent fireworks displays. Especially around landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, they are stunning.

You can join the locals in festive celebrations at public squares. And of course, enjoy the party as the clock strikes midnight.

Looking for more ideas for New Year’s Eve in Europe? Why not celebrate the New Year in Venice?

new years eve over the arc the triomphe in paris with fireworks

13. Fewer Crowds

The slightly colder temperatures scare away the masses of tourists who flock to Paris every summer.

Winter is a much more relaxed time to visit. Museums like the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay are less crowded compared to peak tourist months, allowing you to appreciate the artwork in a more relaxed setting.

This is one of the biggest reasons why I love visiting Paris before Christmas.

Do I need Travel Insurance for Paris? Yes, Travel Insurance is always recommended. While Paris is not unsafe per se, it is necessary to have Travel Insurance in case of sickness or accidents. EKTA offers worldwide coverage at amazing prices – without any hidden fees or clauses.

Paris Christmas Bucket List: Things to Do in Paris Before Christmas

Reasons Why Paris is Not Worth It Before Christmas


The weather in Paris during the pre-Christmas period can be quite cold and damp. This can be a reason why it is not worth it going before Christmas.

It does snow in Paris from time to time, so you need to be prepared with some good clothing.

There is also a bigger chance of rain, so many people prefer visiting Paris in summer. A great month to visit Paris is March, since temperatures are higher but it is not super crowded yet.

Personally, this did not bother me. We just made a couple of more stops in warm and cozy bakeries.


In general, December is a lot less busy than the summer months. But especially around New Year’s Eve and during the Christmas holidays, it can get busy.

Many tourists flock to the city during this time, which can lead to larger crowds at popular attractions, longer lines, and a generally busier atmosphere.

We went at the end of November and did not have any problems with crowds, so that might be a good time to go.

Limited Attractions

Some attractions and activities might be limited in December. If you are an outdoor attraction enthusiast, Paris might not be worth it for you in winter.

Outdoor events, gardens, and boat tours, which are often popular in warmer months, might be less enjoyable due to the weather.

Certain attractions could also be closed for renovations or seasonal maintenance.

Sitting outside is also not possible, so keep that in mind with your travel plans.

Reduced Opening Hours

In the lead-up to Christmas some shops, restaurants, and attractions might have reduced opening hours. Some of them even close for the holiday season.

This can impact your overall experience. I suggest checking the availability of things you might want to do or see before your trip to avoid disappointment.

Higher Prices

Higher prices are a big reason why Paris might not be worth it before Christmas.

The demand for travel to Paris tends to increase leading up to Christmas. This is leading to higher prices for accommodations, flights, and even some activities.

This might affect your budget and potentially limit your options for hotels and dining.

My advice is to go at the beginning of the Advent period. This time is usually less in demand and a lot more affordable.

Potential Travel Disruptions

December can bring unpredictable weather conditions in France.

This might lead to flight delays or cancellations. Especially if you’re traveling from a location with winter weather challenges.

Where to Stay in Paris Before Christmas

Luxury: The Westin Paris – Place Vendôme

Located right in the heart of the city and close by all the beautiful Christmas lights is the stunning Westin Paris.

Located between the Place Vendôme and the Louvre it is the perfect spot to spend the weekend during Christmas times in Paris.

The rooms are luxurious and decorated in typical Parisian fashion.

Before heading out in the morning you will be served a traditional and delicious breakfast, consisting of atypical assortments mixed with local delights.

Budget: Hotel Derby Eiffel

For a more relaxed vibe and as a more budget-friendly option I recommend the Hotel Derby Eiffel in the 7th Arrondissement.

The area around the hotel is perfect for long romantic strolls and a relaxed cappuccino in a cute cafe.

The Eiffel Tower is within walking distance of the hotel, as well as the stunning museum Les Invalides. Most of the streets surrounding the hotel are covered in Christmas decorations. This brings a very special charm to the area.

The rooms are modern and clean, yet pretty small for two people. Nonetheless, we found this was a great budget-friendly option for a weekend getaway in Paris.

Weather in Paris Before Christmas

The weather in Paris before Christmas can be a bit chilly and occasionally damp.

Here’s a general overview of what you can expect:

Temperatures: In December, the average high temperatures in Paris range from around 5°C to 7°C (41°F to 45°F). The average low temperatures can drop to about 1°C to 3°C (34°F to 37°F). If this is too cold for you, maybe you would rather spend Christmas in the Caribbean?

Rainfall: Paris experiences a fair amount of rainfall in December. There is an average of about 50 mm (2 inches) throughout the month. You can expect occasional drizzles, so having an umbrella and waterproof outerwear is a great idea.

Sunlight: Days are quite short in December, with daylight lasting for around 8 hours. This means there’s limited daylight for exploring the city, so planning your activities accordingly is important.

Snow: While snowfall in Paris is not guaranteed, there’s a possibility of seeing some snow during your trip in December. It usually does not snow a lot, so you don’t have to expect major disruptions in travel.

Wind and Humidity: Wind can add to the chill factor, making the temperatures feel colder than they are. Humidity levels can also be relatively high, contributing to the dampness in the air.

What to Pack for Paris Before Christmas


  • Warm coat or winter jacket
  • Travel Essentials for Women
  • Layers: Sweaters and long sleeve shirts are your best friend
  • Scarves and gloves
  • Hat
  • Boots or waterproof shoes
  • Warm socks (you can also buy super cozy and colorful warm Christmas socks at the Christmas markets)



  • Phone, charger, and power bank
  • Camera: Capture the festive holiday scenes and memorable moments
  • Travel adapter: If your devices use a different plug type than in Paris


  • Passport and travel documents: Ensure you have all necessary identification and travel papers.
  • Travel insurance
  • Local currency and credit/debit cards: Have both cash and cards for payments
  • Travel Guide Book and Map

Conclusion: Is Paris Worth It During Christmas Time

In my opinion, Paris is worth it during Christmas time.

Many people shy away from the cold temperatures and the slightly higher prices. But for me, these downsides were definitely compensated by the lovely atmosphere.

Stunning decorations, a festive atmosphere, and delightful Christmas markets will make your trip to Paris before Christmas a pure joy.

So is a Paris trip worth it? Yes, totally!

If you can’t get enough of France before Christmas, you need to visit the capital city of Christmas: Colmar!

Colmar is located in the lovely Alsace and is only a short car ride away from Paris. Or why not celebrate Christmas in Hamburg?

More inspiration needed? Check out my favorite destinations in Europe in fall and winter.

FAQ: Is Paris Worth It During Christmas?

Is Paris worth visiting?

Yes, Paris is definitely worth visiting. Paris is a global treasure, known for its iconic landmarks, rich history, art, cuisine, and romantic ambiance. Whether you’re a culture enthusiast, a food lover, or seeking a romantic getaway, the City of Light’s unique charm and diverse experiences make it a destination well worth visiting.

Is Paris worth visiting in December?

Yes, Paris is worth visiting in December. Paris in December offers a magical atmosphere with festive lights, Christmas markets, and cultural experiences. Despite cooler weather, the city’s holiday spirit, culinary delights, and charming ambiance make it a captivating and unique destination during the winter season.

How many days in Paris is enough?

I suggest staying for at least 4 days in Paris. Ideally, you plan a whole week in Paris. There is a lot to see and you will want to enjoy Paris to the fullest without stress. Of course, you can take fabulous day trips to Normandy, Champagne, or the Loire Valley to enrich your stay.

Why is Paris worth visiting?

Paris captivates with its timeless beauty, iconic landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Louvre, exquisite cuisine, and rich artistic heritage. The city’s blend of history, culture, and romance creates an unforgettable experience for every traveler.

Where are the best Christmas Decorations in Paris?

Head to Champs-Elysées for dazzling lights and window displays. Notre Dame and the Eiffel Tower are beautifully lit. Don’t miss Galeries Lafayette’s stunning tree. Le Village de Noël at La Défense offers a festive market. Explore Montmartre for a cozy, charming atmosphere. Le Village Royal is a secret tip.

Is Christmas a good time to visit Paris?

Absolutely! Christmas in Paris is enchanting. The city lights up with decorations, and there’s a cozy, festive vibe. You can enjoy ice skating, visit Christmas markets, and savor delicious holiday treats like mulled wine and roasted chestnuts. Just be prepared for chilly weather, but the magic of Paris during Christmas makes it worth it!

Paris or London for Christmas?

Choosing between Paris and London for Christmas depends on your preferences. Paris offers a romantic, charming atmosphere with its beautiful decorations and cozy cafés. London, on the other hand, has a more vibrant, bustling holiday spirit with its Christmas markets and events. Both cities have their unique charm during the season, so it’s a matter of personal taste!

blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, based in the Netherlands. She spends most parts of the year abroad at various destinations with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.