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Paris- Christmas and New Year

Hello, We will be in Europe for Christmas and New Year, and are considering the possibility of spending either Christmas Day or New Year in Paris. Any suggestions for what we could do for these special occasions would be appreciated.

Posted by
368 posts

I was in Paris this past Christmas. I was on a tour and we went to the Montmartre district. Walked around the area went to Sacra Coeur. Because it was a tourist area there were stores and restaurants open. If you are there Christmas eve, you could go to midnight mass and Notre Dame or another church.

There are many Christmas markets and the major department stores have fun window displays. Christmas eve is the day that the major celebrations are so you might want to make a reservation at a nice restaurant that is open for dinner. We ended up at a nice brasserie and had a wonderful meal.

Posted by
2466 posts

Which other cities are you considering?
If Alsace or Strasbourg are options, I would head to either without a moment's hesitation - it's absolute fairy-tale land at Christmas.
Paris is nice at Christmas, but the Christmas markets don't hold a candle to those in Alsace and Strasbourg.

There is not much going on in Paris at New Year's, unless you want to dress up and book a fancy dinner somewhere. The Mayor might announce a light show, as she has the last two years, but there probably won't be fireworks. If you like mingling with crowds, you can go to the Champs-Elysees, but it isn't easy trying to get back to where you'll be staying.

London can be nice for New Year's, but you have to book tickets in advance for the fireworks show on the Thames.

Posted by
1014 posts

We were in Paris two years ago at Christmas. It was cold, wet and crowded. The sun set around 5 or 5:30. You would have thought it was July, people speaking. On Christmas day, there were very few restaurants open. I was in a studio with a kitchen, so we cooked our own dinner.

Posted by
23 posts

Thanks for your replies :)
Chexbres, can I ask how long you would recommend staying in Strasburg, and which sights or activities you would suggest?

Posted by
2466 posts

The Christmas Market is held in Strasbourg from 26 November till 31 December this year. We took the train from Paris two years ago and were there from 23 - 30 December. The Market is full of food, wine and really lovely crafts, and is mainly centered around the Cathedrale, but we liked wandering around to different churches, as well. The food is very good, anywhere in this region, but we rented a car in Strasbourg and drove South to Riquewihr to for a holiday meal and to pick up some wine. We are used to driving in snow, but if you're not, I wouldn't advise it.

You can Google the Strasbourg Office de Tourisme and search the calendar for things to do, restaurants, hotels, etc. Strasbourg is also very near Colmar, which is a pretty town well worth a visit.

In comparison, the Christmas markets in Paris are full of mass-produced over-priced junk. There are a few rides for the kids, a very small ice-skating rink, and street food and hot wine. Many people think the Paris market is magical because it's located on the Champs-Elysees, but if you have the chance to go to Strasbourg, you won't regret it.

Posted by
8240 posts

Christmas/New Years is high season in Paris and expensive; often apartment rentals are at their highest. It is wonderful to be in Paris for Christmas. The cultural season is in full swing so it is a good time to go to Opera or other cultural events (be sure to buy opera tickets when they go on sale if you do that -- for Christmas it is probably in June or so-- the opera site tells you when various things go on sale and you need to buy them exactly when that happens as the moderate priced seats go within minutes. (the cheap seats are sold at the box office locally on that day)

It is such a pleasure to shop for food at this time of year as the bakers and butchers have wonderful items prepared for the season. One year we roasted a duck stuffed with pate -- all boned and stuffed and trussed up for roasting by our butcher. And it is IMHO much better to eat 'at home' on Christmas than to try to find a restaurant open that day.

There are Christmas markets (chinese tat but festive) and of course decorations to enjoy. If you want to go out on New Years restaurants have special programs and menus and you need to reserve ahead.