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This post provides several excellent activities you can enjoy in Paris during the month of December 2023.

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


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 out our what to do in Paris post for additional attractions.

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


1. Go on a Winter Walking Tour

It might be a bit cooler outside during this time of year, but there's never a bad time to explore Paris and learn all about its most historic landmarks.

There are several great pay-what-you-wish walking tours that cover a lot of different subjects and locations in and around the city.

Even if you can't make it to one of those outings, you can always take a free self-guided tour of Paris whenever you want.

Alternatively, if you have a smartphone and earbuds or headphones, you might also want to consider taking an audio tour.


2. See a Festival of Lights at Jardin des Plantes

The Botanical Gardens in Paris puts on an amazing Festival of Lights show.

The kids will love the giant illuminated plants, animals, and other creatures in this park in the Latin Quarter.

Jardin des Plantes is open during the day too where you can see the un-illuminated version of the animals.

The Festival of Lights lasts from November 13th to January 14th. Be sure to get your ticket ahead of time.

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


3. Take the Kids to Disneyland

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

Their Disney Enchanted Christmas celebrations mean the park turns into a Christmas wonderland.

The holidays are celebrated in style with several fun activities including a Christmas parade, seasonal sing-alongs near the giant Christmas tree, street performances featuring your favorite Disney characters, and more.

Each of the holiday activities available at this amusement park will be included with general admission, so you don’t have to pay anything extra to enjoy the festive fun!

You can purchase single-day or multi-day passes, depending on how much time you have to enjoy the magical world of Disney.

The celebrations begin November 11th, 2023, and run until January 7th, 2024.

For more fun things to do with your kids, check out our post covering family-friendly activities in Paris.

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.


4. 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.


5. Enjoy the Paris Christmas Markets

If you want to get into the holiday spirit, visiting one of Paris' many Marché de Noël will surely take you there.

Dozens of big and small markets pop up around Paris in November.

You'll find Christmas lights and decorations, carnival rides, ice skating rinks, and sometimes Santa makes a visit.

And of course, it wouldn't be a Christmas market without delicious food and drink.

Mulled and spiced wines, roasted chestnuts, crepes, cheeses, macarons, and so much more are sure to make your tastebuds sing.

Below are just a few of the Christmas markets you'll find in Paris:

  • 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!

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.


6. Learn How to Cook Authentic French Christmas Meals

There are a number of cooking classes you can take in Paris, and during the holiday season, there is one that focuses on how to cook Christmas-themed dishes. Small Group French Christmas Cooking Class

If you'd like the sample the creations of others, you might enjoy the Christmas Gourmet Food Tour.

Or perhaps a cooking class would be a nice Christmas gift. Here are some others on offer:

If you'd rather have someone else prepare the holiday foods, why not take a

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


7. 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. 

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

Holiday Concerts

Other Concerts

Check here for even more concerts in December in Paris.


8. See a Theatrical Performance

If you're looking for something that is a bit more stereotypically Parisian, why not see a cabaret?

The Moulin Rouge is known for its live music, extravagant costumes, and beautiful performers in a luxurious environment.

Performances run regularly year-round, and we recommend getting your tickets a few months out as they do tend to sell out. 

The Crazy Horse Cabaret Show has been driving audiences wild since 1951, and it didn't earn that name by chanceVisitors can expect a variety of sensual dancers and incredible visual effects.

Alternatively, you may also enjoy the Paris Paradis Latin Cabaret Show, at the oldest cabaret theatre in Paris.

Check out more nighttime activities in our post Things to do at Night in Paris.

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


9. 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:

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

For more information about this event, please read this guide to holiday window displays in Paris.

This is a wonderful family activity, and you can find more like it on our post covering family-friendly things to do 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.


10. 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 take a tour of Pard des Princes, the home of Paris Saint-Germain FC, and take a guided tour pretty much every day.

Basketball fans might enjoy the All Star Game on December 30th brings together some of the best players in a championship game.

Sadly, there’s not much else going on in Paris sports wise this month.

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!


11. 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.


12. 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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About The Author

Christina

Christina studied art history and French literature at the Sorbonne for a year in Paris as an undergrad. Now based in Washington, DC, she visits Paris as often as possible and loves introducing family and friends to her favorite places there. She has worked as a travel writer, museum professional, English tutor, and editor, and her favorite French cheese is Pont l'Eveque.
Updated: September 30th, 2023
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