10 things to see and do in Paris in December

The City of Light shines brighter than ever in December thanks to the Christmas atmosphere. In the last month of the year, Paris offers unique experiences.

Carlos Bleda

Carlos Bleda

11 min read

10 things to see and do in Paris in December

Paris under the snow | ©Vivien Ebran

Inevitably, to talk about the month of December is to talk about Christmas. In Paris, and in cities all over the world, this holiday marks the whole month. But it is certainly not a negative thing. Thanks to Christmas, the so-called city of light shines brighter than ever and looks more beautiful and spectacular than the rest of the year.

It also gives us the opportunity to enjoy events and activities exclusive to this month. Seeing the illuminations, visiting the typical Christmas markets or ice skating in some of Paris' most spectacular locations are just a few examples of what we can do. If you want to find out more, here are the best things to do and see in Paris in December.

1. Be dazzled by the snow-capped Eiffel Tower

Snow in Paris| ©Yann Caradec
Snow in Paris| ©Yann Caradec

Snow is quite likely to make an appearance in Paris in December. Seeing the city covered in snow more than makes up for the cold weather. And to enjoy the snowy French capital, the best option is to do so from its best-known viewpoint. From the Eiffel Tower with its magnificent views.

The tower has three viewpoints, one on the first floor, another on the second floor and the last one at the top at an altitude of over 300 metres. From these you can see monuments such as the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and Notre Dame.

For further information, please visit

  • Price: the price of the ticket depends on whether you go up on foot or by lift, among other factors, and whether you opt for a guided tour or go on your own, but you can climb the Eiffel Tower from 39 €.
  • To find out more: here is all the information you need to know to buy your tickets for the Eiffel Tower.
  • Paris Eiffel Tower Tickets
  • From £38
  • Eiffel Tower tickets (up the stairs to the first floor)
  • Without guide
  • Book now
  • Eiffel Tower Ticket by Elevator
  • From £67
  • Eiffel Tower tickets (lift ride to the first and first floor) and app with audioguide
  • Without guide
  • Book now
  • Eiffel Tower Tickets and Optional Seine River Cruise
  • From £70
  • Entrance to the Eiffel Tower (first floor) with priority access and cruise on the Seine River
  • Without guide
  • Book now
  • Eiffel Tower Guided Tour
  • From £33
  • Guided tour of the Eiffel Tower with access to the atrium, first and first floor
  • With guide
  • Book now

2. Attend an opera performance

The Opéra Garnier| ©Helen Simonsson
The Opéra Garnier| ©Helen Simonsson

In December there are always alternative plans to keep out the cold. One of the best options is to visit the Opéra Garnier and attend one of its shows.

The spectacular building can be visited to learn the secrets of the opera and what goes on behind the scenes. Doing so will surprise you with its beauty and make you want to go to a show. To do so, I recommend that you book a guided tour of the Opéra Garnier well in advance.

More information

  • Price: depends on the type of show and the location of the seat. For the guided tour, you can book it from 306 €.
  • Findout more: find out all the details of the guided tour of the Opéra Garnier.

Book a guided tour at the Opéra Garnier

3. Take a break from Christmas and the cold at the Louvre

Facade of the Museum at night| ©Lonni Besançon
Facade of the Museum at night| ©Lonni Besançon

So much Christmas and so much cold can be tiring for some people. If you want to escape from both, what better way to do it than to see some of the best works of art in the world. Booking tickets for the Louvre Museum will allow you to spend a day away from the hustle and bustle of the Christmas streets and under cover, while you see some of the best works of art in the world. The 13 best works in the Louvre in ParisThe Louvre, among many others.

You won't even have to go out to eat, as there are several restaurants in the Louvre. And if you have Christmas shopping to do, don't miss the Louvre shops, as well as the official shop of the museum itself. The latter is ideal for art gifts.

Please note that the museum is closed on 25 December.

For more information on the Louvre

  • Price: You can book your ticket to the Louvre Museum from €25.
  • Findout more: Find out more about the Louvre Museum in Paris.
  • Louvre Museum Tickets
  • From £44
  • Admission to the Louvre Museum with access to permanent exhibitions, but not temporary exhibitions.
  • Without guide
  • Book now
  • Louvre Museum Tickets and Seine River Cruise
  • From £22
  • Admission to the Louvre Museum with access to permanent exhibitions and a cruise on the Seine River
  • Without guide
  • Book now
  • Louvre Museum Skip-the-line Guided Tour
  • From £75
  • Guided tour of the Louvre Museum in small groups with priority access and no queues
  • With guide
  • Book now
  • Louvre Museum Priority Access Tickets
  • From £55
  • Priority access ticket to the Louvre Museum and direct access to the Mona Lisa with expert guide
  • With guide
  • Book now

4. Enjoy a fairytale Christmas at Disneyland Paris

Mickey's Christmas Big Band Show| ©DLP Report
Mickey's Christmas Big Band Show| ©DLP Report

Who hasn't dreamed of spending Christmas like in the Disney films? Well, in Paris you can do it if you visit Disneyland.

At Christmas, Europe's most famous theme park is decked out in spectacular Christmas decorations and holds exclusive events and activities with its most iconic characters. An ideal plan for both children and adults. Of course, at this time of year there is a lot of demand, so I recommend that you book your Disneyland tickets in advance, whether you go for one day or several days at Disneyland Paris.

It is one of the most special Christmas experiences. In addition to meeting Mickey and company, in the park's shops you can find the best gifts for the children of the house. Disney has everything to make Christmas magical. If you don't want to worry about how to get there, don't hesitate to book tickets for Disneyland Paris with express bus service and avoid complications.

Find out more

  • Disneyland Paris 1 Day Tickets
  • From £75
  • 1 day tickets for Disneyland Paris
  • Book now
  • Disneyland Paris Multi-Day Tickets
  • From £147
  • 2, 3 or 4 day tickets for Disneyland Paris
  • Book now
  • Disneyland Paris Tickets with Express Shuttle Service
  • From £96
  • Disneyland Paris tickets with express shuttle bus service
  • Book now

5. See the city of light at its best with the Christmas lights

Illuminated Champs Elysées| ©Levon Avdoyan
Illuminated Champs Elysées| ©Levon Avdoyan

Paris is known as the city of light, as it was the first European capital to install electric lighting. Since then it has gained a reputation that does the city justice, especially if you travel to Paris at Christmas. It is undoubtedly one of the best cities in the world for lovers of Christmas and Christmas lights.

Some of its streets are the most beautiful in the world in this respect and millions of tourists travel to the French city just to admire its illumination. The Champs Elysées, Avenue de Montaigne and the Montmartre district are the best places in Paris to see the city at its best.

Obviously, it's at night when it's at its best. My recommendation is to hire a Paris sightseeing bus that will take you on a tour of these and other streets famous for their illumination. You can't miss the lights on monuments such as the Eiffel Tower or Notre Damme.

More information

Book the Paris Big Bus night tourist bus

6. Visit the Sacré-Coeur, the Madeleine Church or Notre Dame

Outside view of Notre Dame| ©Fred PO
Outside view of Notre Dame| ©Fred PO

Paris is also known for the beauty of its churches. A beauty that at Christmas time is enhanced by the special lighting that some of them display. The most recommended at this time of year are:

  • The Sacré-Coeur Basilica, which you can see if you book a tour of Montmartre. It crowns the hill and offers one of the best views of Paris and is illuminated on Christmas nights in a unique and spectacular way.
  • The Madeleine Church: close to the Place de la Concorde is this neoclassical church that receives a large number of visitors at Christmas time thanks to its famous Christmas crib.
  • Notre Dame: although the interior of NotreDame is not open to visitors after the fire it suffered in 2019, the illumination of the cathedral's façade and the market in its square make Paris' most famous church one of the city's main Christmas attractions. In fact, you can book a tour of the exterior of Notre Dame with entrance to the crypt.

Read more about Notre Dame

  • Price: From €36 you can book a guided tour of the Sacré Coeur Basilica or Notre Dame.
  • Findout more: Learn more about visiting Notre Dame Cathedral.

Book a tour of Montmartre

7. Browse the traditional Christmas markets

Christmas market in the Jardin des Tuileries| ©Sortiraparis
Christmas market in the Jardin des Tuileries| ©Sortiraparis

Another tradition linked to Paris in December is the Parisian Christmas markets. In many of the city's emblematic places and squares, these markets have been set up since the beginning of November, where you can buy all kinds of items.

French gastronomic products, handicrafts, winter clothes and Christmas items of all kinds can be found at these markets. And where are the main markets located? Well, get out a pencil and paper and make a note of them. Also, bear in mind that, in order to move comfortably between these markets, the ideal thing to do is to book the Paris Big Bus tourist bus.

  • On the Champs Elysées (the most famous).
  • In the Tuileries Gardens next to the Louvre.
  • At the Hôtel de Ville Square (Paris City Hall).
  • At Notre Dame Cathedral.
  • On the Champs de Mars (under the Eiffel Tower).

Further information

Book the Paris Big Bus Tourist Bus

8. Go ice skating in some of the most emblematic places in Paris

Grand Palais Skating Rink| ©Eric Demarcq
Grand Palais Skating Rink| ©Eric Demarcq

Parisians love ice skating in the run-up to winter and Christmas. It is also a highly recommended activity for tourists. So much so that it has become almost a tradition and the city council installs ice rinks all over the city. Some of them are in very special locations that you can visit beforehand if you book a guided tour of Paris:

  • The rink at the Grand Palais des Glaces, the largest in France and the third largest indoor ice rink in the world.
  • On the Champs de Mars, under the Eiffel Tower.
  • And in the Eiffel Tower itself. An ice rink is installed on the first floor at a height of 57 metres.
  • On the Champs Elysées.
  • On the square of the Hôtel de Ville, the city's town hall.

More information on the Eiffel Tower

  • Price: there are free ice rinks in Paris. However, you will always have to reckon with the cost of renting skates.

Book a guided tour of Paris

9. Don't miss Galeries Lafayette

Christmas at Galeries Lafayette| ©Coral Pin
Christmas at Galeries Lafayette| ©Coral Pin

One of Paris's long-established Christmas traditions is a visit to the famous Galeries Lafayette. Located next to the Opéra Garnier, this department store is famous for its glass dome and architecture.

Added to this is a spectacular Christmas decoration that invites visitors to buy their Christmas presents. Although that's an added bonus, it's worth a visit alone. In the centre is a huge interactive Christmas tree with lights and figures, and the shop windows are full of Christmas spirit. Don't miss these and other Parisian passages, with the Paris Galleries Tour.

Read more

  • Price: free admission.

Book a tour of the covered passages and galleries of Paris

10. Spend a day shopping on the Champs Elysees

Champs Elysées| ©PCA Stream
Champs Elysées| ©PCA Stream

Speaking of shopping, where is the best area in Paris for it? Well, there are plenty of options, but at Christmas time I'd go for the Champs Elysées. If you're looking to buy the best Christmas gifts, this famous two-kilometre-long avenue is home to many of the world's best-known shops and brands.

Throughout the year, its shop windows and shops attract the attention of any visitor, but at Christmas this is multiplied thanks to the spectacular Christmas illumination of this avenue that starts at the Place de la Concorde and ends at the Arc de Triomphe. Shopping is not always a pleasure, but if you do it in what for many is the most beautiful street in the world, it's a different story. And if you're a shopaholic, you have the option of booking a shopping trip to the La Vallée outlet in Paris.

Read more about it here

  • Price: free admission.

Book a shopping trip to La Vallée in Paris

December temperatures in Paris

Christmas in Place Vendome| ©lights.of.world
Christmas in Place Vendome| ©lights.of.world

December is the coldest month of the year in Paris, but it is the second coldest month of the year after January. Temperatures range from a high of 7 degrees Celsius to a low of 2 degrees Celsius. Rainfall is also frequent and December averages between 15 and 22 rainy days.

But rain doesn't come alone, and snow is also likely to make an appearance. Although it's unusual, it's not unusual for it to snow a couple of days a month. So if you're going to Paris in December, bundling up is a must.

Book a tour of Paris' Latin Quarter

December tourist crowds in Paris

New Year's Eve on the Champs Elysées in Paris| ©Carlos
New Year's Eve on the Champs Elysées in Paris| ©Carlos

There are countless things to do and see in Paris. In December, however, there are two opposing factors. The intense cold in the capital and Christmas. The cold weather may make some people think twice about visiting Paris at this time of year, but Christmas wins the battle more often than not. Paris looks especially beautiful in December and is enough of a lure to attract millions of tourists.

As a result, the number of tourists is very high. At the beginning of December, tourism is moderate, but as the Christmas season approaches, it increases considerably. Hotels and restaurants are booked up well in advance for the last days of the month and are often sold out. This also drives up prices in the city.

But it is a price to pay for visiting one of the most beautiful cities in the world at a time when it is at its best.

Book a tour of Montmartre

What to pack for a visit to Paris in December

Packing your bags| ©Vlada Karpovich
Packing your bags| ©Vlada Karpovich

The cold weather will undoubtedly be the key factor in packing for your trip to Paris in December. Take a large suitcase as winter clothes take up a lot of space and you'll also want to leave some room in case you buy a Christmas present. In your suitcase you should definitely pack:

  • A heavy coat. Better if it's waterproof.
  • Thick jumpers or knitwear.
  • Waterproof clothes for rain and possible snow.
  • Winter accessories such as gloves, hat or scarf.
  • Comfortable, waterproof footwear. And if snow is forecast, boots with good grip.
  • Thick socks are a must if you don't want to freeze your feet.
  • Take a large suitcase for winter clothes and, if you plan to do your Christmas shopping in Paris, an extra one.

Book a private tour of Paris