Things to Do in Paris in December

This post provides several excellent activities you can enjoy in Paris during the month of December.

We’ll cover seasonal events, fun winter attractions, and many other interesting ideas.

If you’re looking for even more suggestions, check the following posts:

 

 


EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN DECEMBER

This list will include a variety of different family-friendly, nighttime and free activities for audiences of all ages.

Don’t forget to check our what to do in Paris post for additional attractions.


1. Take a Holiday Cruise

Bateaux Parisiens is a popular cruise company that offers special outings for both Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

Both services are dinner cruises, allowing you to enjoy a nice meal while floating along the river Seine.

During their Christmas cruise, you can expect festive foods, live music, and a 3-4 hour trip. You can take this excursion for either lunch or dinner on December 24th & 25th.

 

 

The New Year’s Eve cruise will be similar, but after the cruise ends at 12:30 am, you’ll have the opportunity to keep dancing until dawn along the quayside of the Eiffel Tower.

Needless to say, dinner cruises are an excellent activity to enjoy after the sun goes down.

Take a look at our post about things to do at night in Paris for more ideas.


2. Take the Kids to Disneyland

Disneyland Paris will be celebrating the holidays in style throughout the month of December.

Visitors can expect a number of festive activities and displays throughout the park.

One of the most popular events will be the Christmas parade, complete with holiday floats featuring your favorite Disney characters.

 

 

There will also be sing-alongs near the Christmas tree and street performers playing popular cartoons from throughout the history of the company.

These activities are all included with general admission prices, so you don’t even have to pay anything extra!

Purchase tickets or learn more.

This is sure to be one of the best family-friendly events of the month, but you can find more ideas on our post covering things to do with kids in Paris.


3. See the Christmas Lights

As you might imagine, many locations in Paris will be lit up for the holidays.

If you’re looking for something fun to do at night that won’t cost a dime, consider taking a self-guided Christmas lights tour!

 

 

The following sites are sure to be well lit this December:

  • Champs-Elysées
  • Avenue Montaigne
  • Faubourg Saint-Honoré
  • Place Vendôme
  • Bercy Village

Some of these public areas will even have Christmas trees to enjoy, and none of them will cost a thing to enjoy.

That said, if you want some help finding the best lighting displays, consider taking a Paris Christmas lights tour.

If you’re looking for more fun activities that are affordable to enjoy, make sure to read our post covering free things to do in Paris.

You can also find more fun activities after dark on our post about things to do at night in Paris.


4. Go Shopping at a Holiday Market

Paris has some of the best Christmas markets in all of Europe, so if you’re looking for a last-minute gift or something special for a loved one, this is the perfect time and place to be!

 

 

If you’re wondering where you can find these holiday markets, check the following locations:

  • Notre Dame
  • Les Halles
  • Beaubourg
  • Les Tuileries
  • La Defense
  • Gare de l’Est
  • 15th Arrondissement
  • Saint-Germain-des-Prés

As you might have noticed, some of these sites are in the same spot where you can enjoy some ice skating, so you might actually want to combine these activities!

If you want some help finding the best spots to shop, consider taking a Paris Christmas shopping tour. Tickets are around €25 per person.

While the idea is to spend money at the markets, you’re not required to spend anything to enjoy the atmosphere of these festive attractions.

For more affordable activities, please read our post covering free things to do in Paris.


5. Learn How to Cook Authentic French Christmas Meals

There are a lot of great cooking classes you can take in Paris, and during the holiday season, there are some that focus primarily on how to cook Christmas themed dishes.

One of the more interesting options is at Edwart Chocolatier, who offers visitors the ability to create their own chocolate Christmas Tree sculptures that they can make either for themselves or as a gift for a loved one.

 

 

Another company offers a cooking class which covers how to prepare an entire French Christmas meal, taught by an expert chef with experience in a Michelin-star restaurant.

Both of these services are an excellent opportunity to learn how to prepare holiday meals you can prepare for your family for years to come.

For more family fun, check our post covering family-friendly activities in Paris.


6. Go to a Concert

Paris is one of the most beloved cities in the world, so it makes sense that a lot of musicians like to perform here throughout the year. 

You can find all the concerts in Paris at this link.

 

 

Although there won’t be as many artists performing here in December, there are a few notable concerts you may want to consider attending:

You can find all the concerts in Paris at this link.


7. See a Theatrical Performance

There will be a few notable theatrical productions held in Paris this month. You can find all of them here.

With the holidays just around the corner, you may also want to consider getting tickets for a show at the famous Moulin Rouge on Christmas.

The Paradis Latin will also be hosting Cabaret shows on Christmas Eve.

 

 

Two of the most beloved operas of all time will be hosted by Opera Bastille — Turandot (from Dec 1st – Dec 30th) and Don Quixote (from Dec 9th – Jan 2nd).

Due to the pandemic, you will be required to wear a mask and seating will likely be spread out to keep all guests safe.

You can find all the theatre productions in Paris here.

Even if you can’t make it to a show, you can use an Explorer Pass to get admission to their guided tour!


8. See the Christmas Window Displays

In addition to all the great holiday markets you’ll find in Paris, there are also several popular stores that set up incredibly festive window displays for Christmas.

These displays are typically kept up until the 25th, and in some cases throughout the month of December.

Visitors can expect a variety of animated shows, holiday lighting, Christmas music, and more.

 

 

Even if you don’t plan on spending any money, it’s definitely worth heading out to see the holiday window displays at these locations:

  • Bon Marche
  • BHV Marais
  • Galeries Lafayette
  • Printemps Haussmann

This is one of the best family activities of the month, but you can find even more great ideas on our post about things to do with kids in Paris.

These window displays technically don’t cost a thing to enjoy, and there are even more great affordable activities on our post covering free things to do in Paris.


9. Attend a Sporting Event

The winter is typically a slow period when it comes to sports in Paris, but you can usually still look forward to several great matches from the Paris Saint-Germain Football Club.

Even if you miss one of their games, you can always visit Parc des Princes, the home of Paris Saint-Germain FC, and take a guided tour pretty much every day.

 

 

Sadly, there’s not much else going on in Paris this month. You can find the few sporting events that are happening at this link.

If you’re looking for another sports activity to enjoy, consider a guided tour of Stade de France. Admission to this site is included with the Paris Pass!


10. Go Ice Skating

There are usually at least a few different ice rinks in Paris during the winter months.

Whether you’re looking for a fun night out with your significant other or you want to enjoy a festive family activity, this is an excellent idea for all ages.

 

 

The following locations will most likely have ice skating rinks this year:

  • Les Halles
  • Les Tuileries
  • La Defense
  • Le Grand Palais

Admission ranges from free to €17, and skate rentals begin at about €3 per person.

If you’re looking for more family fun, take a look at our post covering family-friendly activities in Paris.


HONORABLE MENTION: Save Money With a Tourist Pass

If you’re planning to visit a variety of different locations in Paris, you may want to consider getting a tourist pass so you can save a few euros off general admission prices.

Visitors with a lot on their schedule may get the best value out of an all-inclusive pass, which includes admission to dozens of popular locations for a specific amount of time (2, 3, 4, 5, 6 days).

 

 

Alternatively, if you’ve only got a few activities planned, you might want to choose a flex pass which allows you to pick a set number of attractions for one flat price.

There are also prepackaged passes which include a few specific attractions and then provide a 20% discount on dozens of additional activities.

No matter which one you choose, you can expect the following locations and tours to be included with at least one tourist pass:

  • Hop-on-Hop-off Bus Tour
  • River Seine Boat Cruise
  • Opera Garnier Tour
  • Versailles Palace
  • Centre Pompidou
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • The Eiffel Tower
  • Notre Dame
  • The Louvre
  • Pantheon
  • And more!

Some of these passes also include skip-the-line admission at certain locations, so you can save time as well as money!

No matter which service you choose, you should be able to save anywhere from 20% – 50% off general admission prices.

For more information, make sure to read our post about Paris tourist passes.

 


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