Culture + Style

Is Paris Even More Magical at the Holidays? Oui!

The spirit of Christmas is alive and well in Paris’s Galleries Lafayette. (Photo: Alamy)

The City of Light is beautiful at any time of year, but there is a magic in the air at Christmastime that is unlike any other season. Paris has plenty of holiday attractions to offer travelers, including Christmas markets, light displays, ice skating rinks and much more. Book a room at a Paris hotel in advance (it’s a busy time of year!), and be prepared to enjoy all the city has to offer during the holiday season.

Light Displays

Although Paris is known as the City of Light year-round, this name takes on a whole new meaning during the holiday season. The Champs-Elysées and Notre Dame Cathedral are some of the most famous places to take a wintertime stroll and enjoy the beautiful lights on the trees along the streets. A visit to Notre Dame also offers the chance to see the Paris Christmas tree, a striking addition to the already gorgeous architecture of the church.

Paris holiday
Paris’s holiday markets will get you in the spirit … to shop! (Photo: Alamy)

Paris Christmas Markets

Christmas markets can be found all throughout Europe, but the ones in Paris are certainly some of the best. With the sparkling Eiffel Tower and a picturesque Ferris wheel in the background, this city’s excellent atmosphere for shopping cannot be recreated anywhere else.

The city’s largest holiday market stretches from the Champs-Elysées roundabout to the Place de la Concorde. Smaller, more intimate markets can be found at La Defense, Trocadero, Place des Abbesses and Saint-Sulpice. Unlike many other European cities, the Paris Christmas Markets are open from mid-November through the end of the year, so enjoy a few extra days of browsing through foods, arts, crafts, gifts and Christmas decorations.

Paris holiday
Paris’s tasty treats are a decadent way to refuel at the holidays. (Photo: Alamy)

Christmas Delicacies in Paris

When most people think of Paris, the first thing that comes to mind is food. From bread to cheese to wine, there are plenty of delicious foods to sample in the city. Around Christmas, these offerings expand even more to include a traditional Parisian Christmas dinner and special treats. Reveillon is a long meal served following Christmas Eve mass or to ring in the New Year. It doesn’t begin until midnight or after, and is typically celebrated in the home with close family and friends.