The magic of Christmas in Paris. Even the grinchiest of grinches can’t help but give in. The beauty is evident year round. Paris is the most visited city in the world, with over 35 million tourists in 2015, late spring to early fall is peak season. While the city is well-equipped to handle the surge in population during summer months, the quiet tranquility of snow-covered streets is a winter must-see.
Cafe-lined streets with people sipping wine in open restaurants, soft street music in the air – this is why people flock to Paris. Parisians love this just as the tourists do, and have found interesting ways to keep street cafes open even in winter. Gas lamps, roll up windows, and your favorite French vin will keep you warm!
Why choose Paris in winter? The lines are few and far between. The beauty of winter in Paris is the lack of competing tourists. My partner and I waited exactly 8 whole minutes to take the elevator to the top of the Eiffel tower – this wait can be hours in the summer. Winter in Paris means you don’t have to pre-book tickets to tours and museums, leaving you free for spontaneity!
Love farmer’s markets? The Christmas Market is a winter wonderland! You can sip from mulled wine while you wander through shops of fresh cheese, handmade toys, and macaroons. Roasted chestnuts and the smell of evergreens, if you are lucky, maybe even a sighting of Santa! Grab Euros, while some will accept credit cards, most vendors are cash only.
Paris is a city of fashion. There is no exception in winter. The sidewalks are well taken care of, so those cute leather boots are safe from winter slush! Scarves are popular year round, and make an excellent feature item that doubles for warmth.
Paris goes above and beyond to decorate for the holiday spirit. Don’t forget to find the small neighborhoods off the tourist maps. You will be awed by tiny twinkling white lights hung from building to building. Street lamps are adored with wreaths, and shops play christmas carols.
Next, head over to an ice rink. Paris has plenty, and many are free. Check out Paris’ historic city hall (Hôtel de Ville). Ice skating isn’t your thing? No problem, the city is filled with carousels decorated in bright lights, or hop over to one of the ferris wheels!
Spend Christmas Eve in Cathedral de Notre Dame for a splendid mass. Arrive early, lines are long!
Want to see one of the largest Christmas trees in Europe? Head over to Place de la Concorde. Hot cocoa and warm croissants will keep your hands warm and your heart in the Christmas spirit!
Similar to the states, only Christmas Day and New Years Day are closed. We took this opportunity to take a Hop-on-Hop-off tour on Christmas Day. Grab a warm cup of café au lait and be on your way. Have a peaceful stroll along the Seine, the pop up shops will be closed for the day, and you will have rare silence for adoring the architecture.
Feeling the love? Head to Jardins de Trocadéro, you will find many brides and grooms with photographers in tow, although you won’t need a professional photographer to capture the garden’s beauty!
Still not convinced? Paris is a cultural paradise, to enjoy it with the locals are a must. Eat, drink, and be Merry (Christmas)!
“The color of springtime is in the flower. The color of winter is in the imagination.” – Ward Elliot Hour
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Jenna is a 32 year old coffee lover who spends much of her life on a plane, train, or automobile. You can email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org