Things to do in Paris in December: must-do activities and events

november 2023

Are you planning to spend the holiday season in the French capital this year, and looking for things to do in Paris in December? Look no further! We have put together a list of not-to-be-missed activities and events in the capital. Christmas shows, art exhibitions and family outings…there’s something for everyone. Follow our guide!

The best Christmas markets in Paris

Montmartre Christmas Market

Located in Place des Abbesses, at the foot of the Sacré-Cœur Basilica, the Montmartre Christmas Market is a must-see event in Paris. From 25th November to 31st December, go and admire creations from a host of craftspeople and enjoy plenty of free entertainment to boot. Jugglers and fire-eaters breathe fun and games into this famous Parisian district, turning family stroll into a party!

marché de noel montmartre
© Samuel Areny

Notre-Dame Christmas Market

If you want to enjoy some Christmas spirit in an iconic area of the city, then take a trip to the Notre-Dame Christmas market. In the centre of René-Viviani Square, opposite the famous cathedral, you will find many exhibitors waiting for you to peruse their wares from the 8th – 25th December. This market is dedicated entirely to French craftsmanship, offering original creations as well as delicious local produce.

marché de noel notre dame paris
© Only France

Tuileries Christmas Market

Every year, Tuileries Garden hosts one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in France. This not-to-be-missed Parisian event takes place from 20th November to 2nd January. It is a real gourmet food and artisan village, right in the heart of Paris! Especially child-friendly, it boasts several rides, free entertainment and a show every Saturday and Sunday. The perfect place to feel the magic of Christmas with your family!

marché de noel tuileries paris
© Chun Ju Wu

La Défense Christmas Market

How about a trip to the biggest Christmas market in the whole of the Paris region? From 16th November to 27th December, the district of La Défense is transformed into a sprawling village of nearly 180 wooden chalets. It’s the perfect place to wander around for foodies or anyone looking for decorations and gift ideas! There are regional specialities alongside Santons de Provence figurines, toys, all sorts of gadgets and gizmos as well as clothing.

There are also several free activities held there: meeting Father Christmas, workshops for children or after-work ateliers for the grown-ups…there’s plenty going on to make sure you’ll have a magical, memorable time with family or friends!

marché de noel la defense paris
© Panther Media

Don't miss these shows in Paris in December

A Christmas party at the Moulin Rouge, a festive event that’s not to be missed

From 21st December to 3rd January, the Moulin Rouge has an amazing Christmas-themed dinner show in store for you. Starting at 7pm, enjoy the Parisian cabaret’s talented orchestra and tantalise your tastebuds with a gastronomic menu concocted specially for the end-of-year celebrations. Then watch the incredible Revue show Féerie whilst enjoying a delectable bottle of champagne or wine! And to make things even more magical, every couple will receive a gift. So, don’t wait any longer, book your Christmas party at the Moulin Rouge!

spectacle féerie moulin rouge paris
© Bertrand Royer

Disney celebrates its 100th anniversary at La Défense Arena

This year, Disney is celebrating its 100th anniversary! To mark the occasion, there will be a special concert held at the Paris La Défense Arena. Come and rediscover Disney’s greatest musical masterpieces, performed live by a philharmonic orchestra of over 100 musicians. Images from the various films will be projected onto a giant screen, taking the audience on a fantastic, immersive journey.

Notre-Dame de Paris at the Palais des Congrès

For its 25th anniversary, the Notre-Dame de Paris musical returns to France. From 25th November to 7th January, head to the Palais des Congrès de Paris to watch this incredible show. This is an opportunity to rediscover one of the most iconic French musicals of its generation. Book your tickets now, to be in for an unforgettable time with your family or friends.

Exhibitions and museums to explore in Paris in December

In December in Paris, the Palais de Tokyo is holding “Tok-Tok” workshops for children aged 5-12 years old. They take place on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons, as well as during the school holidays. They are a place for children to discover contemporary art in a fun and original way.

At the Musée d’Orsay, you can explore a magnificent exhibition on Vincent Van Gogh. From 3rd October to 4th February, the museum is showcasing for the first time works produced by the painter during the last months of his life, which he spent in France, in Auvers-sur-Oise.

Finally, for a fun family trip during the Christmas holidays, visit the Quai Branly Museum. Here, you can take a guided family tour to discover the history of Indian cinema at the Bollywood Superstars exhibition.

musée quai branly paris
© Henri0711

Unusual places for a great evening in Paris

Paris is full of quirky spots for outings and family trips.

For an eco-friendly Christmas Eve, go to the La Recyclerie Christmas Village. Located in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, this artisan market promotes sustainability, and offers ethical products, often made from recycled materials. There are also creative workshops and kids entertainment on offer.

Another unusual place is 59 Rivoli, also worth a trip. This art space, close to the Louvre, is dedicated to contemporary art and independent artists. In December, 59 Rivoli often hosts special events and themed exhibitions to celebrate the holiday season.

In a meditative mood? How about a Christmas cruise on the Seine? From there, you can admire the capital’s most stunning monuments, like the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and Notre-Dame, magnificently illuminated for the occasion. This is a great way to spend an evening in Paris a little bit differently.

For something to do with the kids in December, how about an original tour of the City of Lights by tuk-tuk? These small, three-wheeled, motorised vehicles will get you around town quickly, whilst you enjoy your very own guided tour. It’s a fun way to travel and is sure to delight young and old alike!

croisiere sur la seine
© John Kellerman

Paris’ Christmas lights

A city lit up for the holidays

The Christmas lights in central Paris are a sight to behold, transforming the capital into a fairytale. Take an after-dark stroll along the Champs-Élysées, wander down Avenue Montaigne or Boulevard Haussmann and enjoy a festive, unique and warm-hearted atmosphere.

illuminations champs elysées
© Arco / G. Lacz

Department store window displays

In December, Paris’ famous department stores are transformed by the magic of Christmas. Galeries Lafayette, Bon Marché and Printemps all create breathtaking window displays and light up their façades in impressive style. The decorations and scenes created by each store will immerse you in a world of enchantment.

illuminations galeries lafayette
© Peter Lane

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