10 Days of Christmas in Paris, France
Food & Wine
Have you ever thought to yourself, "Christmas is just not the same anymore?" That was me last year, when I decided that I needed to experience spending Christmas in Europe to feel that holiday spark. What's more magical than that? Seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle on Christmas Day! Paris is the city of love and experiencing the holidays here with the variety of Christmas markets, fresh patisseries in local bakeries and Christmas lights decorations all over the city. It was truly remarkable! In Paris, there’s festive fun to be found in every arrondissement.
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Where to stay in Paris, France
Hôtel Madame Rêve
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Located just steps from the Champs Elysées and Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Amastan Paris is a new kind of boutique hotel with intuitive service, a flair for design and an emphasis on collaboration.
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Things to do in Paris, France
Swiss-style wooden chalets are the one of-a-kind Christmas markets in France where you can eat a raclette sandwich (swiss cheese) while sipping on vin chaud (hot mulled wine).
La Magie de Noël (The Magic of Christmas) at the Tuileries Garden: the largest and most entertaining market in Paris, as it includes the cuisine, and carnival rides. My favorite was the Ferris wheel, where you can get a view of all of Paris, including the Eiffel Tower. (I went at night and it was magical with all of the holiday lights and the Eiffel Tower sparkling).
Hotel de Ville Christmas Market - Located in the Le Marais city plaza of the hotel with an old-fashioned carousel and buildings, it truly brings you the holiday feeling.
Montmartre Christmas Market at Place des Abbesses - The cutest area with cobble streets and small local bakeries, this market is on located on a hill and is minutes away from the famous Sacré Coeur church.
The Champs-Elysées: One of the most luxurious streets in Paris, this street has a special event to commemorate the inauguration of the Christmas lights late November. Taking a stroll there is quite an experience.
At Le Village Royal and Rue Saint-Honoré - The most elegant shopping village has the cutest Christmas decorations, with my favorite, its twinkling teddy bear and a mini hot air balloon tight in front of the DIOR.
At Galeries Lafayette - This 8-story magnificent department store is filled with Christmas lights, a hanging Christmas tree and Christmas concerts and shows in the air. It's worth a visit, even if you do not want to buy anything! (Which is very, very hard.)
Attend a Christmas concert at church
Paris churches are worth a visit for their picturesque architecture and art.
Take a sunset cruise along the Seine river, on Christmas Eve
Reserve ahead of time (FORA advisor can help you with this) and enjoy a nice cruise with a special Christmas Menu. This is offered multiple times throughout December.
Go to Disneyland Paris
Disneyland and Christmas are magical on their own, imagine them together! The Enchanted Christmas Extravaganza at Disneyland offers Parades of Disneyland Characters multiple times a day and transportation there is a breeze whether you take the train or reserve it along with your park tickets.
If you go/return with the shuttle from Palais Garnier, you miss the fireworks show at the end of the night, so keep that in mind.
Take a train to Lyon, France. The Lyon Light Festival is a social media popular!
Places to eat & drink in Paris, France
Cafe Carrette - This cute cafe across the Trocadero, always has a queue because it has the best breakfast I've ever had in Paris. Order the French breakfast with a croissant and a latte, while indulging in the views of the Eiffel Tower and listening to the French voices, you'll feel like you're in a movie.
Cafe de Flore - Coming here is a must for tourists of Paris as it was a hub for many writers and artists (Pablo Picasso among them). The hot chocolate here is a must try!
Kafkaf - No reservations needed, but the queue for brunch is usually no less than a 30-minute wait. This cute restaurant has the most unique Mediterranean brunch dishes and the coffee menu is just as unique!
Matsuri - A cute Japanese restaurant with a sushi bar, dinner or lunch, is an experience here.
Big Mamma - For the best pizza I've had in Paris and the picturesque staircase and scenery is truly unreal. Make sure to make reservations at least a month in advance. Walk-ins are available, but not guaranteed seating.
MESA Restaurant for dinner is not just any restaurant, but a full 5-course dinner experience, different every night of the week. Surprise yourself with indulging vegan-dishes, even the deserts and a Tranquille atmosphere that leaves you in peace.
Qasti shawarma grill - Lebanese food is one of my favorites, and to find it in Paris, just as good as in Lebanon, I fell in love with this shawarma. Make sure to go to the SHWARMA Grill restaurant, as there are two restaurants across from each other with the same name.
Need to Know
Whenever you get a chance, try different bakeries and croissants are a must! Check out the "Emily in Paris" apartment located in Paris' Place de l'Estrapade in the 5th arrondissement, walking distance from the Notre Dame. Book stores are popular in this area as many students live here!
P.S. Be careful of pit-pocketing. Keep your valuables hidden and not in coat pockets! and I wouldn't recommend staying near the Arc De Triomphe, too many tourists.
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, The Two Sides of Los Angeles, CA.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Paris.