Paris At Christmas

Paris At Christmas

posted in: France | 23

Paris at Christmas time is simply wonderful, there is no better time to visit the city. During the biting cold of December the French capital is warmed under the glow of a million twinkly Christmas lights. The city of love is a great place to stock up on Christmas presents, romance your special one or simply fill your belly with buckets of mulled wine and hot chocolate.

marches de noel

During the festive period, Paris has a break from being the European capital of chic and instead covers itself in sparkles and lights. It’s a bit like that cool girl in the office who doesn’t speak to anyone all year then gets drunk and comes to the Christmas party wrapped in tinsel and wearing a santa hat. She belts out Mariah Carey on karaoke and everyone surprises themselves by actually loving her. In December, Paris is that girl and guess what? We love her!

In Paris at Christmas fancy boutiques and designer stores adorn their facades with lights and baubles. Christmas trees take over pavements and Vin Chaud (hot wine) replaces coffee as the drink of choice. After spending last Christmas in the heat of Queensland, we found wandering the Christmassy streets of Paris an utter delight. Even the iconic Eiffel Tower had a huge Christmas bauble hanging from its middle. Albeit a giant Shepard Fairey Obey bauble, but a Christmas bauble none the less.

Obey Eiffel Tower

The festive marchés de Noel (Christmas markets) are spread along the length of the Avenue des Champs-Élysées. These are the largest Christmas Markets we have ever had the pleasure of visiting. Hundreds of wooden cabins line the iconic street selling everything from woollen socks to Russian dolls, French cheese and Bavarian sausages.

We wandered up and down, taking our time and enjoying the sights and smells of Christmas. We set up camp in the food and drink area and enjoyed a few too many glasses of Vin Chaud. On our first evening in Paris we walked the entire length of the marchés de Noel and somehow we kept getting drawn back to it each night of our trip. It was cheesy and chintzy and everything France usually is not, but we loved its Christmassy charm and feel good factor.

A visit to the upmarket Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette is a must on any Christmas itinerary in the city. The store is home to designer brands like Burberry and Dior as well as high street fashion, makeup and fragrance counters and family favourites like the Disney store. During December a huge sparkling Christmas tree sits under the glass dome at the top of the store. Not content with looking at it from underneath, we had to view it from the balcony of every level to fully appreciate its sparkles. The window displays at Galeries Lafayette are like mini art installations and it took us at least half an hour to walk alongside the store. The stunning Christmas displays had us gawping at the windows and smiling like, well, kids at Christmas.

In fact, smiling like kids at Christmas pretty much sums up our whole trip to Paris, we spent the entire time grinning from ear to ear. So if you could do with an injection of festive cheer visit Paris at Christmas, if you’re anything like us, you won’t be able to wipe the smile off your face.

xmas galeries lafayette

23 Responses

  1. Lovely! Love Paris, love European cities at Christmas & LOVE Galeries Lafayette the most! (I too enjoyed your ‘cool girl’ analogy) cheers X

  2. Beautiful post, Ladies. I so can’t wait to visit Paris

  3. Beautiful post, Ladies. Well done! I so can’t wait to visit Paris. It right at the top of my list of of places to visit.

  4. Everything about this post was lovely, from the photos to the prose. Christmastime in Paris will definitely be marked on my to do list.

    May I just take a moment to compliment this particular brilliant piece of writing;

    “It’s a bit like that cool girl in the office who doesn’t speak to anyone all year then gets drunk and comes to the Christmas party wrapped in tinsel and wearing a santa hat. She belts out Mariah Carey on karaoke and everyone surprises themselves by actually loving her. In December, Paris is that girl and guess what? We love her!”

    And I love this. Such a delight to read.

    • Wandering Wives

      Thank you so much for the positive feedback, this analogy seems very popular. We’re contemplating comparing all the places we visit to people in the future, just to build up a weird eclectic mix of crazies 🙂

  5. Your wonderful article emphasizes the beauty of Paris and hopefully, the rest of the world will continue to do so especially after the City of Lights had experienced its unfortunate moment last Nov. 2015. Kudos.

  6. Oh my gosh, those decorations are *insane* (in a good way)! I had no idea Paris had such a tradition of decorating for Christmas- thank you for sharing such beautiful photos!

  7. Great pictures! Someday I hope to sit at a sidewalk cafe, sipping coffee with the love of my life. We go back to my sailboat, change, and then spend a wonderful night ballroom dancing until dawn. Let’s hope!

  8. Really pretty 🙂

  9. Love this post! It was like getting to relive my own experiences of the past couple of days 🙂 I agree 100% that Christmas is the best time to visit Paris – it was magical. I want to go back and do it all again. You were right about the security thing too, I did feel a lot safer seeing all the police everywhere I went.

  10. You have just made me want to go to Paris at Christmas time! 🙂 And I definitely will. Thank you! Sure love the cool chic girl gone drunk karaoke girl draped in Christmas. Fantastic!

  11. GORGEOUS pictures! I want to go for the buckets of mulled wine! 🙂 And, you know, everything else!

    • Wandering Wives

      We may have a mulled wine problem ourselves! We are trying to be good for a couple of weeks while we are in the UK but we have just got to Bath and the B&B owner offered us a glass of Prosecco… how could we say no?

  12. I love your description of Paris as the chic office girl who dons the bling at Christmas … absolutely spot on. And your pictures are perfect. I entirely agree, if you only have one chance to visit Paris, make it Christmas time. The girl does gets it bang on 🙂

  13. Once again, your pictures are so creative and beautiful! I’ve only been to Paris in May – this looks much more magical!

    • Wandering Wives

      I’ve been in spring time before and it was gorgeous around Notre Dame with all the pink blossoms… however I love Christmas so much this was absolutely my favourite visit 🙂
      Emily

  14. Thank you for sharing! Many moons ago, I spent my first-ever Christmas away from home in Paris as a student. It was a delightful place to be! I still have fond memories of the many lights and of watching Marcel Marceau perform on Christmas Eve. Enjoy your time there!

  15. That does indeed look magical. I loved your metaphor of the office girl. I could just picture it and the analogy worked so well. I’m hoping to convince my kids to go into Philly to visit the Christmas market there but I am sure it won’t be a patch on the Parisian one. Lovely photographs. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Love your Eiffel Tower photo – beautiful. What a fabulous place to be for christmas…so jealous…

  17. Even the coldest night in Paris warms up in the glow of the Christmas lights. My family spent a week basking in the charm of Christmas markets in Aix-en-Provence and then Paris a few years ago. Paris was so crowded that December but the crowds were filled with the joy of the season. We brought back ornaments and memories which come flooding back with every warm cup of vin chaud. Thanks for reminding me of those happy days.

  18. Paris at it’s sparkly best. Fab photos.

  19. You ladies should also check La Defénse Christmas Market. It is also big and I adored the location: the contrast between the wooden chalets vs the grey sober business buildings was quite impressive! It was the first xmas market I visited in Paris and I loved it. That’s if you wanna get rid of the tourists crowds that you probably met on Chams Elysées 😀

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