All You Need to Know: Paris in December
Whether you're spending Christmas in Paris or fancy a winter break, take a look at our guide to the City of Light in December.
It might be called the City of Light all year round, but Paris in December gives its nickname a whole other meaning. During the most festive month of the year, you'll find Christmas markets popping up in each arrondissement, decorations adorning the streets and a wonderful festive feel wherever you go. We here at Plum Guide have put together this guide to making the most of your winter trip to the city.
Go Christmas shopping
Let’s get straight to the important stuff. Shopping in Paris is essential during any season, but throughout Paris in December and during Christmas, it becomes even more of a must. Especially given that Paris' Christmas window displays become quite an artform. Head to the Galeries Lafayettes, Printemps Haussmann, BHV Marais or Le Bon Marché in the 7th arrondissement for displays that will awe and inspire.
What’s even more enchanting is that some shop windows feature little theatre sets with animated figurines that are a sight to behold. Take a trip to a Parisian boutique and you’ll find a treasure trove of chic gifting items that are bound to impress your family and friends on the big day. Cire Trudon in Le Marais is a lovely shop to pop into, and one of their candles makes a fantastic Christmas gift. Steeped in history, Cire Trudon was set up as a boutique in 1643 on the Rue Saint-Honore. They've supplied candles to the court of Louis XV, as well as some of the largest church parishes in the city. Another lovely boutique can be found on the Left Bank at L'Officine Universelle Buly 1803. This place is an head-to-toe shopping experience for beauty fanatics - experts in their field, this Parisian boutique is the place to go for your beauty requirements. They also offer gift personalisation with 'calligraphy officers' to write a note for your loved one. Stay nearby in a remarkable Plum home like The Abbey House.
Visit the Christmas Markets
We can’t talk about shopping in December without mentioning the glorious markets that sprout up throughout Paris during the festive period. The most immediate way to gain some festive cheer, think hot mulled wine, roasted chestnuts and more holiday shopping at the Paris Christmas markets. The markets are festooned with lights and decorations as well as visitations from the big man himself, Père Noel. On average each year 15-20 markets appear during December, as well as pop up weekend markets so you really are spoilt for choice. Some of our following include Marché de Noel Notre Dame, located on the Left Bank just across the Seine. With gothic Notre Dame as a stunning backdrop, this market feels pretty special and is best known for the quality art that’s on offer. Head to Les Halles Christmas Market to see one of the largest markets in Paris, only surpassed by the market located by the Champs-Élysées.
Although Place des Abbesses Market is a little smaller than the average, this quaint market is well worth a whistle stop tour. Located near one of the most charming streets in Montmartre, it's the perfect option to find things like hand-knitted scarves, one-of-a-kind garments and unique children's toys. Another we like is the Saint-Germain-des-Prés Christmas Market. Againm this is a slightly smaller market but it's the place to go for luxury items. (We thought that would spark your interest.) Think fine leather pocketbooks, beautifully crafted jewellery and exquisite handmade items amongst plenty of other delights. And last but not least is the famous Champs-Élysées Christmas Market. If you only have time to visit one market during your trip to Paris in December, then you'd better earmark this one. There’s a huge carousel and glittering holiday lights to keep everyone amused amongst plenty of other festive things to see and do. Want to stay close to the action? Choose from one of our homes like Ultra Violet in the neighbourhood.
Feast on some festive food
One of the top gastronomical destinations for foodies no matter the season, head to Paris in December and you'll find all the usual flavours, as well as some great seasonal delights. There are several foodie events that take place before Christmas to help inspire and prepare you for the grand occasion. Amoureusement Soupe (yes, this is actually a festival dedicated to soup) will definitely warm your cockles on a cold winter’s day. There’s also the Noel Gourmand food exhibition that takes place from the 15th-18th December in the 13th Arrondissement near Gare d'Austerlitz. Expect an array of farmhouse cheeses, regional dishes and confectionary to whet your appetite before Christmas day has even arrived.
And of course, we can't talk about food without immediately following with wine. December is when you can experience the first release of Beaujolais Nouveau wines, with most bistros and Parisian cafes offering them up to customers. Wine lovers can also rejoice in the knowledge that December hails the arrival of both the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants (Independent Wine Producers Fair) and the Festival of Great Wines known as the Grand Tasting. What better time to be merry than in December, we say?
See the lights
Paris in December is a magical time thanks to the illumination of major monuments around the capital and beautiful decorations all over the city. Make your way to the Champs-Élysées to see giant glowing fir trees decked in ornate decorations and lights stretching from the Place de l'Etoile around the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde. It really is quite something. It’s also worth checking out Place Vendôme – this gorgeous square becomes lit up and looks like something out of a fairytale. While you're there, stop off at the Ritz for a glass of champagne. Because, well, it would be rude not to.
Has our guide to Paris in December tempted you to a festive trip? Whether you're looking for a romantic place to stay in Paris or a home for all the family, you're sure to find something to suit your needs within our collection of hand-picked homes in the city. Our home critics meticulously vet each and every home listed on our site to ensure you're only ever choosing from the top 3% of vacation homes. And if you want to keep reading, take a look at our guide to Paris in October and Paris in November next.