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Paris during Christmas 2007?

Hi, I saw the "Christmas" topic, but it didn't address this directly. We are thinking of Paris for a Christmas trip so we can skip it next July when we travel to the Loire. I'm a bit nervous about the practicalities, and can't really find answers on-line anywhere. I know museums will be closed Christmas day, as well as stores and most restaurants, so what does one DO on Christmas day in Paris as a visitor? That is, besides church and eat in a giant American hotel... plus, will transportation be working on the holiday? Taxis? Do any museums or other sites close for longer than Christmas day (for example, the whole week)? Any other practical advice? Merci!

Posted by
2765 posts

Well, this may sound unusual but we went to Disneyland Paris. We knew it would be open etc. It was actually a lot of fun!

The Metro and RER were operating on Christmas Day.

We also saw several open resturants and cafes.

The rest of the week was business as usual. There were some small resturants closed all week, but it was never a real issue.

Posted by
219 posts

Jen, I also will be going to Paris during the Christmas holidays also w/my family of 6. This is what I have done so far. I booked accommodations and airfare online. (Can't do anything until these 2 are taken care of.) This is when the internet is extremely valuable. My hotel has expressed a williness to answer any questions I may have. And I will certainly take full advantage of his williness as Christmas approaches. In the meantime, go online to the actual places you may want to visit, eat at, etc....They usually have hours and times of year of operation. If nothing is stated, contact them by e-mail and be very specific like "Are you open on Christmas day?" The replies are reasonably prompt and courteous. I'm glad Carol mentioned that the trains will be working. Sites I will be checking out in the near future are theaters. I am sure there will be enough things to do on Christmas day. Don't worry. If you like we can exchange info that each of us finds, otherwise good luck

Posted by
6 posts

Thanks to both of you for the sage advice. I probably should have added that I have been to Paris many times, but my husband never and my son's trips have been ruined by extenuating circumstances. I always try to stay in the small local hotels, but this time I'm thinking of flat-rentals or B&Bs. I'm relieved to hear that the metro and RER run on Christmas day (whew!). I also never thought about theaters - I had always been so poor on my trips in the past! ;-) I think I might come up with a sample list of museums and write to them about additional closures that week (great idea Jeannine). I'm afraid 2 weeks is not an option -- shucks! Thanks! Jen

Posted by
448 posts

Buildup?...Post-holiday activities?...Unless you're grocery shopping or cooking all day for the family, I've never noticed anything real exciting about Christmas in Paris...The Eiffel Tower is quite sparkly like at any time of the year, and there are the lights on the Champs Elysees...but it's not Seattle Festive. I guess sometimes there's a display of creches in front of the Hotel de Ville and a temporary skating rink if cold enough

Posted by
157 posts

We'll also be in Paris for Christmas, it's just a great time. Rent an apartment if you will be there a week. We've used vbro.com with great success but I wouldn't wait too long to book. It's not a lot cheaper than the ultra-cheap hotels, but offers a bit more space and comfort.

Since metro and RER run, it could be a great day to explore some distant neighborhoods with your lunch and jacket. Check out "An Hour From Paris" by Annabel Simms for some terrific days trips from Paris. Found it in a used book store and offers some interesting places.

With TGV east, it may be possible to go to Strasburg or Colmar.

Or check out the Christmas windows on the big stores, go ice skating, or just look at the lights on Avenue des Champs-Elysées. You will find Marchés de Noël throughout town. And if that's not enough, there will be theatre, opera & dance.

No reason not to get all tuckered out in Paris on Christmas!

Posted by
448 posts

I agree with Chris...there are so many apartment rental possibilities now...i think that would be much nicer than a hotel for the holidays...you could even put up decorations!

Posted by
251 posts

Actually I really liked being in Paris at Christmas time. 1st. there isn't so much commercialism as in the US, especially if you don't have a TV. There is a great spirit in the air, the open air markets, and kiosks outside shopping areas all sell trees, and trinkets, and artisan stuff from all over France. When the main part of the city is dead, a quiet walk through the buildings and squares is very romantic. However my handsdown favorite is because Paris is such a diverse city with many cultures and religions, you can wander into another part and find life going on as usual for Jews, Muslims; and christmas stuff stays up after the 25th for those of the Orthodox faith.

I would say an apartment is best. That way you can buy Cancale oysters, and foie gras, and duck and have your own French feast, and it well feel more homey.

Two notes. If staying till New Years go to the Champs El. NOT the Eiffel Tower.

Posted by
251 posts

I forgot to mention Strausborg. A must day or overnight trip. It is Santa's village come to life!

Posted by
6 posts

thank you for the suggestions - I have never been to Strasbourg before, so that could be fun. I see the train only takes 2.5 hours from Paris. Thanks to all of you; I have definitely been convinced that this will be a great holiday trip!

Posted by
448 posts

Check the website

www.noel-strasbourg.com

There will be markets and illuminations until Dec 31st! Maybe we'll go this year!!
A few years ago we visited DisneyParis on Christmas Eve, because the relatives were away, and it was quite good. The French Disney is more compact, acessible, than the US versions.
............I'm starting to enjoy your plans...Oh, it would be good to book the TGV in advance to get lower price.

Posted by
157 posts

Yes, Strasbourg or Colmar

more

here

for about 10€ and half hour past Strasbourg

Posted by
26 posts

I was in Paris last Christmas and the Pompidou Center was open on Christmas day. We attended Christmas mass at Notre Dame (even though we are not Catholic) and there were restaurants in the neighborhood which were open Christmas day. Our biggest problem was that Christmas Eve everything seemed to close down around 5:00 or 6:00 and we were unable to find a place to eat that evening and ended up snacking on what was in our backpacks. Also, walking the Champs-Elysees was beautiful with all the lights. Best I remember, the major attractions/museums were open the rest of the week on their usual schedules.

Posted by
1 posts

We lived in Paris for 3 years and loved being in city for Christmas eve and day.Taxis do run,metro and RER are open!Sacre Couer and Notre Dame each have midnight masses and usually Notre Dame has a Christmas evening mini organ concert.Small restaurants are closed, but there should be no problem in the "tourist area"ie Champs de Elysee/Rivoli area to find restaurants open. The cretche(manger scene) is truly magnificant in front of the Hotel de Ville(City Hall).WE lived between St. German en Laye and Versailles and both towns are beautiful at Christmas time; not so commercial with beautiful natural boughs and even some candlelight.The26th is also a holiday.Stores,museums closed.[Christmas Markets in Germany are the best,but will close as of Christmas eve(they are open usually 4 weeks before Christmas.] We will also be there this year,renting an apartment-www.parisattitude.com cheaper than hotel and you get to enjoy the 'realParis'. So, Joyeau Noel

Posted by
57 posts

I'm so looking forward to Paris this Christmas. I'm staying in an apartment in the Marias and really look forward to walking around and soaking up the sights and sounds. My only concern is the weather. I've become a desert rat and now have to hunt down a warm coat, boots and a couple of sweaters. Then again I could skip it and shop when I get there.

Posted by
9436 posts

Also, there is the American Church in Paris. It is right on the street that runs next to the Seine, just west of Invalides. It'll be on any map of Paris. We are not religious at all, but we enjoyed being there for services, the church is beautiful and the people very warm & friendly. People from all around the world go there, but everything is in English. If I were there at Christmas, I would go there as well as Notre Dame. Just thought I'd mention it :)

Posted by
6 posts

Thank you all for your comments and suggestions. We went ahead and made the committment -- buying the tickets and sending a deposit on an atelier on Blvd Montparnasse! The one thing I did not expect was the cost of the airfare, this was the most I have ever paid for flights to Europe (RT from Seattle: $1133 each). I suppose I have always been lucky and purchased when on sale (thanks to Brit Air's e-mail specials). I had no idea the last 2 weeks of December was considered high season in the tourism industry. Live and learn... thanks again, everyone. Cheers~

Posted by
6 posts

A girlfriend and I spent Christmas in France in 2005. I had been to France on numerous trips but it was her first time. We were both a bit anxious about being away from our families for the holidays and unsure of what we'd find to do to make our trip a memory. As it turned out, we hopped the Metro to the Eiffel Tower around mid-morning and went ice skating. It was awesome! There were lots of foreigners who, like us, were delighted to have found some place to celebrate. We laughed and giggled, snapped pictures of each other and then offered to take pictures of those around us. Then we walked the length of the Champs Elysee amid the lights and sounds of Christmas. It was a fabulous day for us!