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Have you ever considered exploring Paris during its colder months? Paris in December is actually one of the best times to see this iconic city come alive with music, lights, and holiday festivities! The air is filled with chestnuts roasting on an open fire, mulled wine warming up chilly evening conversations and cobbled streets shrouded in twinkling lights. The ambience in Paris in December is unforgettable!
Travel Planning For Paris France In December
Book your airline tickets with my favourite platform, Skyscanner.
Book a transfer from Charles de Gaulle or Orly airport with Welcome Pick Ups.
Reserve a car (not for Paris) but for a road trip in France
Reserve train tickets for further travels in Europe with Trainline (my go-to)
Weather In Paris In December
“Will it be cold in Paris in December?” Yes is the official answer! The average temperature in Paris in December ranges from daytime highs of 46 °F (8°C) to evening lows of 38 °F (3°C). December in Paris receives the most rainfall of all the fall months with an average of 1.02in (26mm).
Visiting Paris in December, travellers will notice the days are short with an average of 8.3 hours of daylight! Sunrise in Paris at the beginning of December is at 8:22 a.m., while sunset is at 4:56 p.m. Sunrise in Paris at the end of December is at 8:44 a.m., while sunset is at 5:03 p.m.
Does it snow in Paris in December? How magical would that be! The reality is that it rarely snows in Paris in December. Later in the winter season, it is possible that the snow will fly in Paris. Here is how to spend a snowy day in Paris.
Paris In December What To Wear?
It is cold and damp in December in Paris. Bring a warm winter coat, gloves, scarf and a hat. The sidewalks are rarely slippery so wear comfortable footwear for walking, boots included. The best idea is to wear layers. Here are some ideal pieces to pack in your suitcase for a visit to Paris in December:
- A Coat: a wool coat to ensure warmth is a good idea.
- Jeans: essential. Add in a dark pair.
- Dress or skirts: Must fit the colour palette and can be dressed up or down.
- Layers: Definitely pack several sweaters. Add in a blazer.
- Scarf: A scarf can add warmth and style to any outfit.
- Casual Runners: Comfortable runners are great for strolling in Paris.
- Boots: It’s the perfect time of year for tall boots and short boots!
- Umbrella: It will certainly rain in Paris in December! Pack a compact umbrella that can be easily carried in your day bag.
- A cross-body bag. This one is for men and women. This purse is a travel anti-theft shoulder bag. There are multiple advantages of a crossbody bag, but especially to tuck it under your arm for safekeeping on the Paris métro.
Paris In December: The Holidays
School Holidays: December 23, 2023 to January 8, 2024
With school holidays, Paris gets even busier!
December 24 (Christmas Eve)
On December 24, shops and Christmas markets will close early as this is the evening when French families gather for their Christmas celebrations and attend midnight mass. Check in advance for special Christmas Eve events and programs at restaurants and cabarets.
December 25 (Christmas Day)
This is a day when French families are together and celebrating. Paris is very quiet on December 25 with most everything closed. Pre-check opening hours and times so that you are not disappointed on Christmas Day in Paris.
December 31 (New Year’s Eve)
This is a normal working day in France but most businesses and stores close early for New Year’s Festivities. Check in advance for special New Year’s Eve events and programs at restaurants and cabarets.
Pro Travel Tip: December 26 (Boxing Day) is not a holiday in France.
Celebrations And Events In December In Paris
Christmas Lights and Christmas Markets: specific dates below
Christmas at Disneyland Paris: November 11, 2023 to January 7, 2024
Disneyland Paris becomes an enchanting Christmas wonderland.
Jardin des Plantes: November 22, 2023 – January 21, 2024
In the 5th edition of the Festival of Lights in the Jardin des Plantes, the magical and rather playful evening stroll introduces us to the ecosystems of the jungle. The unexpected sculptures that are created for the light show in the Jardin des Plantes make for a truly memorable experience.
Le Grand Tasting Paris, Le Festival des Grands Vins: December 1 and 2, 2023
This wine trade show brings together more than 350 winegrowers from France. It’s the perfect opportunity to taste wine and take workshops and master classes on the subject of wine. Oh.. does December in Paris get any better?
The Lantern Parade: December 10, 2023
Meet at the Parc de la Villette and create a lantern at the workshops that are set up. Then follow the procession through the park and set your glowing lantern off into the Parisian sky.
Le Parcours du Roi: December 16, 2023 to January 7, 2024
When the daytime visitors have left the Château of Versailles, the show begins! Step into a Baroque atmosphere in the Hall of Mirrors and watch as dancers, singers, fencers, and comedians entertain!
Festival du Merveilleux: December 27, 2023 to January 7, 2024
Step into a magical world where old-fashioned carousels, curiosity cabinets, magical gardens, and merry-go-rounds sweep you away to another world at the Museum of Fairground Arts.
What To Do In Paris In December
1. Be Swept Away By The Christmas Lights
December in Paris is completely magical. The Christmas Lights or Illuminations as they are called in French create a delightful ambience that is truly memorable. Some of my favourite places to see the Christmas Lights in Paris are Place Vendôme, the Champs Elysées, and rue Saint Honoré.
Read More | Where to See The Best Christmas Lights in Paris.
2. Browse The Christmas Markets
One of the best things to do in Paris in December is to visit the Christmas markets! Brace yourself for a delightful experience filled with twinkling lights, mouthwatering treats, and unique artisanal goods that will leave you absolutely charmed. The Christmas markets in Paris are a great place to find gifts for everyone on your Christmas list! It is definitely a must to stop by the champagne igloo at the “Magic of Christmas” market at the Tuileries Garden!
Read More | Christmas Markets in Paris (the hours and the locations).
3. Marvel At The Christmas Window Displays
The Christmas window displays in Paris are nothing short of breathtaking. Paris in December is made for window shopping (and real shopping)! The creativity and magic in the Paris window displays will inspire even the biggest humbug to get into the festive season!
Stand with children and adults of all ages to enjoy the imaginative displays at the following large department stores: Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, La Samaritaine, Le Bon Marché, and BHV Marais.
The creativity doesn’t stop there – smaller boutiques throughout the city also join in on the festive fun. Wander through charming neighbourhoods like Le Marais or Saint-Germain-des-Prés, where independent shops delight visitors with their own unique interpretations of Christmas magic.
4. Attend A Christmas Concert
Another magical way to enjoy Paris in December is to attend a Christmas concert. Standing shoulder to shoulder with Parisians and singing Christmas carols is a marvellous way to get into the Christmas spirit. As always in Paris, there are plenty of classical concerts in December as well.
5. Have A Cocktail At The Hemingway Bar
Why not have a cocktail and pay homage to the iconic American writer, Ernest Hemingway on your visit to Paris in December? The Ritz Paris Hotel in December twinkles with Christmas lights. Wander through the elegant hallways to the Hemingway Bar which has been a sanctuary for literary enthusiasts and cocktail lovers since its opening in 1921. Sit back in one of the leather chairs, admire the Hemingway paraphernalia and choose an unforgettable drink from the Hemingway Star cocktail menu.
Read More | The Hemingway Bar Experience
6. Drink Hot Chocolate At Angelina’s
December in Paris is just not complete without a creamy hot chocolate! At Angelina’s the hot chocolate is rich and delightful. The original Angelina’s location at #226 rue de Rivoli has a stunning tearoom hailing from 1903 and the Belle Epoque! Sit back, relax and order some tasty macarons with your hot chocolate. In a hurry? Pick up a creamy hot chocolate from the boutique on the fabulous shopping street, rue du Bac.
7. Paris In December: Flâner
To flâner is to wander, to stroll and to observe life. Paris is the perfect city to flâner, no matter the weather. Sit at a café, linger on the Pont des Arts, and turn down a tiny Paris street with an interesting name. You just never know what you might notice. Some of the best neighbourhoods to flâner are le Marais, Saint Germain des Prés, Ile Saint-Louis and Montmartre.
When sauntering in Paris in December, plan for frequent breaks (of coffee, hot chocolate, or mulled wine) to warm up.
Read More | My guide on how to flâner
8. Cruise The Seine River In Paris In December
It’s an unforgettable experience to take a cruise down the Seine River. Seine River cruises offer a different perspective on Paris and if you go in the evening, Paris is twinkling. It’s truly magical to cruise by the Eiffel Tower as it sparkles!
9. Slurp Oysters
Paris in December is the perfect time to dive into a platter of oysters. The French believe that the best months for eating oysters have an “r” in them making December in Paris prime oyster season! By December, cafés have set up oyster bars on the sidewalk offering oysters and wine (or champagne). It’s a delightful tradition.
Where to eat oysters in Paris in December? I love sitting up at a tall table at the Oyster Bar at the Marché Bastille on a Sunday morning, grabbing a platter of oysters with my friends at Le Baron Rouge in the 12th arrondissement, or squeezing into the Huîtrerie Régis in St Germain des Prés.
Read More | How To Eat Oysters Like the French
10. Visit The Major Monuments
Paris in December is the perfect time to visit the major Paris attractions. Major sites like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and the Arc de Triomphe see fewer crowds making it very enjoyable! In Paris, it is always advisable to book your entry tickets in advance.
Book Tickets In Advance:
- Eiffel Tower Summit Access – Skip the Line Ticket
- The Louvre – a timed-entry ticket
- Arc de Triomphe – a skip-the-line ticket to the top
- Musee d’Orsay – reserved entry time
- Versailles – skip the line ticket
- The Paris Catacombs – skip the line access and tour
11. Visit The Strasbourg Christmas Market
One of the best day trips from Paris in December is to the famous Christmas Market in Strasbourg, Christkindelmärik. France’s oldest Christmas market which started in 1570 has over 300 stalls set up in the city’s squares. Explore its varied stands selling artisan foods, handmade decorations and unique gifts. If you’re looking for a truly magical Christmas experience this year, plan your trip to the Strasbourg Christmas Market.
It’s also the perfect time to explore the centre island in Strasbourg which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Strasbourg boasts cobbled lanes, half-timbered houses, and a stunning cathedral. Stroll through the quaint area of La Petite France where half-timbered houses line the canals and three towers that date from the 1300s add to the charm.
Read More | Plan a trip to the Christmas Market in Strasbourg!
Getting To Strasbourg:
From Paris Gare de l’Est, take a TGV (high-speed train) direct to Strasbourg. The trip is just less than two hours. Book your train tickets here.
12. Partake In The Magic Of Versailles
A day trip from Paris in December to the Château of Versailles is a grand idea. For one, the crowds will be fewer than in peak season, and Versailles Palace is fully decked out for the holiday season. Here are essential tips for planning your independent day trip to Versailles. If you prefer to take an organised tour to Versailles, here are 7 of the best tours.
You might prefer to visit the Château of Versailles in the evening for a special Christmas event called the Le Parcours du Roi which runs from December 16, 2023, to January 7, 2024. Step into a Baroque atmosphere in the Hall of Mirrors and watch as dancers, singers, fencers, and comedians entertain! Find out more HERE
13. Visit A Paris Museum
Paris in December is a great time to visit museums and see some of the special exhibitions that are on. Pick up your copy of L’Officiel des Spectacles which comes out every Wednesday and see what appeals to you.
Visits to the Musée d’Orsay and the Louvre are always a good idea. But don’t forget that Paris has around 130 museums. There is literally something for everyone. Here is my guide to 20 Paris museums that are well worth visiting.
Buy My Tickets Here:
- Paris Museum Pass (2,4, or 6 days)
- Skip the line at the Louvre and a Seine cruise
- Musee d’Orsay – reserved entry time
December 2023: Don’t miss the Van Gogh exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay nor the Modigliani exhibition at the Musée de l’Orangerie.
14. Attend The Festival At The Musée des Art Forains
When you are planning what to do in December in Paris, the Festival du Merveilleux would be an off the beaten path adventure! At any time of year, the Museum of Fairground Arts is a unique and marvellous step back in time to the Belle Epoque. It’s a magical world where old-fashioned carousels, curiosity cabinets, enchanting gardens, and merry-go-rounds sweep you away to another world.
The Festival du Merveilleux runs for 10 days after Christmas (starting on December 27, 2023). The Musée des Art Forains becomes an even more enchanting world with trapeze artists, dancers, singers, magicians, vintage games, and antique merry-go-rounds whirling about. It’s a Paris experience that leaves an unforgettable impression.
Find out more: Musée des Art Forains
The Museum of Fairground Arts is found at 53 av. des Terroirs de France, Paris, 12th arrondissement
15. Paris In Winter: Disneyland Magic
Disneyland Paris is all decked out for the holiday season from November 11, 2023 to January 7, 2024. A dose of Christmas magic at Disneyland is an unforgettable experience!
Book My Ticket To Disneyland
Read More | 13 Best Tips For a Trip To Disneyland
Paris In December: Where To Stay
You might think that a visit to Paris in December could be classified as low season. But with Christmas markets, Christmas lights and window displays all in full swing by early December, Paris attracts visitors from all over. Weekends are especially busy. This, of course, sees Paris hotels booking up. Reserve well in advance. Check out these 13 Affordable Hotels in Paris and these Hotels with Eiffel Tower Views.
Find other Boutique hotels in the Marais.
- Hôtel la Comtesse with an Eiffel Tower view
- Chouchou Hotel with an eclectic vibe
- The Hotel Bourg Tibourg in the Marais.
- Hôtel de Joséphine Bonaparte in the heart of the Marais
- Hôtel des Académies et des Arts in Saint-Germain des Prés (the left bank)
Prefer staying in an apartment? Here are some fabulous Paris apartments:
- Portrait of Splendour literally filled with portraits, in the Marais
- Joyau de Marais
- The Panthéon Pageantry
FAQ’s December In Paris
Is December a good month to visit Paris?
I love December in Paris. Paris is alive with the holiday spirit and there are enchanting Christmas lights and Christmas markets. The scent of roasting chestnuts fills the air and its the perfect time to partake in mulled wine or oysters! Paris is simply charming in December.
Is it crowded in Paris in December?
Paris in December sees a lot of visitors since the Christmas season is very enchanting in December. It is not as crowded as the busy summer months but more busy than in January!
I hope you have enjoyed these 15 things to do in Paris in December as much as I have. Paris is always a good idea!
Until next time,
More Paris Travel Info…
Other Wintery Paris Articles:
- French Christmas Traditions to Enjoy
- Paris in the Snow
- Paris in the Winter
- Galette des Rois
- How to Make the Perfect Cheese Board for the Holidays
Looking Ahead To Other Paris Seasons:
- Paris in the Spring: How to Enjoy the Best Season
- Where To Find the Best Spring Flowers
- Paris in the Summer
- Paris in the Fall
Paris by Month: