Paris 7 Day RS tour in December 2014

Has anyone gone on the Paris week long RS tour the week of Christmas? If so, what did the tour do on Christmas Day and evening? Was anything open on Christmas Day and what did you do on Christmas Eve? During the week, did you find the museums to be less crowded? Did you stay after the tour to celebrate New Years' Eve and if so, where did you go? How was the weather and what time did it get dark? Was it worth going during Christmas time to Paris? Any tips to know about if I go on the tour during Christmas week?
Was it worth it to go to Versailles as it will be cold and walking around the gardens will be cold and there will not be anything blooming?
Thanks for your responses.

Posted by Tim
Knoxville, TN, USA
3416 posts

For the very questions you asked here...I would hope you're getting a substantial discount for booking a tour around Christmas and New Years holidays.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8546 posts

Tim.. most hotels have higher rates at Christmas.. and many places, including Paris is very busy at Christmas with their Christmas markets,, and shopping in general . There are those who enjoy the Christmas lights on the streets.. the street side vendors selling hot mulled wine and roasted chestnuts.. no.. for there will be no discounts at Christmas!

Ann.. I would not go to Versailles if it was a cold rainy day unless you have a burning desire and interest in French history. I love Versailles and have been many times.. but the grounds , outer buildings and Marie Antionettes hamlet are as much if not more of a draw then the palace itself.
Just so you know.. even in summer, the french formal gardens are not really "blooming" with flowers.. its more like trimmed hedges in designs etc.. there is a lovely flower garden behind the Grand Trianon though.

If taking the tour I suggest arriving one or two days ahead and definitely staying a few days after.. The tour will whet your whistle with ideas of other sites to see.. the guides will suggest many activities, and by the end of the tour you will be a pro at getting around the metro .. since the tour uses them and teaches you how to use them , a great advantage !

I know the big museums like Louvre and Orsay are closed on Christmas day.. but the Eiffel Tower IS open.. and I wonder if the Shoah Memorial ( its a great Holocaust museum in the Marais) may be open too. Of course some restaurants and cafes will close but of course not all.. you will find food and drink no problem.

I have not been to Paris at Christmas.. but many who go on another forum I go on ( tripadvisor.com try it .. ) love going at Christmas .. if no one chimes in here with experience I suggest you do go over to tripadvisor.com paris forums and ask what Paris over Christmas week is like., you will get some answers there as there are locals and expats on that forum also.

Posted by Laura
Rick Steves' Europe
6488 posts

HI, Ann. The summary on Rick's Paris Tour page shows an average daily high temp of 44 degrees F, average daily low of 36, and average days without rain = 15. I have enjoyed Paris in December with similar mild temps and layered clothing. Paris has some nice Christmas decorations on stores and ice skating near the Hotel de Ville, etc., but does not go over-the-top with Christmas decorating. I did enjoy Versailles on a not-rainy day, especially the interiors and Marie Antoinette's Le Hammeau, but note that fountains and some trees will be turned off or wrapped up in preparation for colder weather. You're also welcome to contact our Tour staff with any questions about the tour.