Paris is a dream for many and why not! The vibes of love, the beauty of the city and marvel of the mammoth man-made creations fuels the aspiration to get up & close to the ‘City of Lights’! Best time to visit Paris is generally said to be summers but it is that kind of place which can be visited any time of the year. Visiting Paris during Christmas time that is in the latter half of December until the new year is fast catching up these days. We give you all the more reasons and must visit places to plan a trip to Paris soon before this year ends!
Well, as people say it is kind of off-season in December and so it might turn out a little pocket-friendly and save you some extra Euros! Plus the bonus turns out to be that the city of lights is even ornately illuminated during this festive season. More so after a fresh snowfall, the sight of Eiffel Tower in the backdrop with snow-laden Paris is mesmerizing.
Weather of Paris in December & Early January:
Usually, December is the coldest month in Paris. Apart from mercury nearing zero and minus temperatures, there is a fair possibility of snowfall and occasional rains. In December 2018 around Christmas Day, the highest temperature noted was 7° while the lowest touched -1°. On average, over the years around this time, Paris has a 7°/2° temperature.
Here are 5 Places or Attractions that Make Visiting Paris Magical at Christmas:
#1 Eiffel Tower:
There was none in the history who visited Paris and didn’t see this magnanimous architectural masterpiece. Of lately, Paris and Eiffel Tower have become synonymous when we talk about sightseeing in Paris. The illuminated tower in the evening during late November & December is a pure treat to the eyes. Plus being an offseason one can expect shorter ques for entering & to the way up.
Around this time Eiffel Tower also hosts few free activities for both kids and adults for a limited period on its first floor. These include virtual reality gaming experience, photo booths and more. The effervescent vibes and people around Champ de Mars and the Trocadero elevates the spirit of the festival while visiting Paris even more.
#2 Christmas Markets:
Visiting Paris at Christmas, the next thing that cannot be missed are the Christmas markets. Around Eiffel Tower itself, very near to the place from where Seine river night cruise starts, there is one prominent Christmas market that happens. Apart from this all across Paris especially near the well-known gardens, Christmas mrkets can be noticed from a distance. The markets are usually a mix of retail shops, fun rides and eateries. One can enjoy waffles, pizzas, pasta, Marrons, Vin Chaud (mulled wine) & more. Among the major Christmas markets in Paris are the ones at Champs-Elysées, at La Defence, at Montmartre and the one at Notre Dame Cathedral. Most X-Mas markets in Paris generally close around 10 PM.
#3 Witness the Illuminated Paris with a Seine River Cruise:
The beauty of Paris is enhanced manifolds when it is decorated with lights and other decorations to embark the festivities. One of the best ways of appreciating the beauty of one such evening in Paris apart from walking across the major streets is taking up the Seine River Cruise. It is roughly a 45 to 60 minutes ride with recorded commentary about the significance of the monuments passing by. During this cruise one can also see the several bridges which make Paris even more famous across the world.
Generally, two options are available for the cruise, one package comes with dinner which is served inside the boat or cruise tour with a glass of Champagne. The cruise costs around 15 Euros or more. It is open for advance booking too.
#4 Attend a Christmas Midnight Church Service:
The most popular choice of the church for attending a midnight Christmas service would have been Notre Dame Cathedral but post-April 15th, 2019 fire, this church is under a massive restoration.
Attending a Chrismas Midnight Church Service is exceptional and worth experiencing! In fact, it is the best way to feel the festive vibes like a common Parisian. Paris has some of the most beautiful & historically significant churches of the world like Église Saint Eustache, Basilica du Sacré Coeur – Montmartre, Église de la Madeleine (Madeleine Church) etc. For attending Christmas service in English one can visit American Cathedral (1.2 km. from Arc de Triomphe), St Michael’s Church at, St George’s Anglican Church and more.
#5 Be at Disneyland Paris!
Visiting Paris cannot get magical enough if you haven’t added Disneyland Paris in your ‘must-see places in Paris’ list. It is an attraction that leaves not only children but adults also enchanted. With Christmas festivities around, even Disneyland and its characters get into the festive mood. There are Christmas special parades in the park and special light shows and performances by the most loved & popular Disney Characters.
A 3-Day Itinerary for Visiting Paris First Time:
Day 1: Visit Louvre Museum, Arc De Triomphe and in the evening enjoy Christmas Market.
Day 2: The second day, of course, can be fixed for Eiffel Tower, enjoy the Seine river cruise and then attend a Christmas Midnight Church service.
Day 3: Keep the day for treating yourself with Disney magic. Visit Disneyland Paris!
We stayed in Campanile Paris Est – Porte de Bagnolet, IBIS budget Paris Coeur d’Orly Airport. Read the review of these hotels here.
Helpful websites to search hotel: Trivago and Bookings.com
Helpful Tips to know for Visting Paris:
- On 25th December and 1st January, many places in Paris are closed only a few museums and gardens are open. Disneyland can be enjoyed on this day as it is open.
- Do plan your itinerary with some time left in your hand to roam around and enjoy the city without rushing.
- Buying tickets for sightseeing places beforehand can save you from serpentine lines and is a big time saver!
- Trocadero is one of the nearest metro stations from Eiffel Tower. Plus museum building near Trocadero is phenomenal for viewing as well as taking photographs with Eiffel tower as a backdrop.
- Do not miss trying out Ice-skating in the rinks made mostly near Christmas markets.
- Generally, kids below the age of three years do not require tickets in metro trains, buses and many sightseeing places.
Best Mode of Transport:
- Uber taxi is available but if you are travelling with a baby or a toddler then carrying a baby seat for riding in this taxi service is required in most cases. Payment is generally asked via Card.
- Local Taxis are also available but they charge a bit higher than Uber.
- Bus and Metro train are more economical options. Paris is well connected by metro train network so one can go with that quite easily. Arriving at Disneyland metro station (better known as Marne-la-Vallée/Chessy train station) gives you a feel as if you are riding a train to Hogwarts from the Harry Potter movie.
There are different combo passes for visiting vivid monuments most popular one being Paris Pass. Please explore what works for you the best and decide. It is not necessary to cover all the monuments. Similarly, Hop on- Hop Off bus might be good for you if you do not want to walk or want to explore more monuments in a day or two. Though it might be a little expensive.
Keep Euros handy. Getting a multi-currency card is also highly advisable.
Theft: Keep an eye on your belongings as due to increased tourist influx during Christmas time it is so very possible.
Language in Paris:
Generally, people speak French and English.
Hope that this article is helpful for planning a better itinerary for the first time visiting Paris around Christmas!
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