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Christmas In Paris

by Diane Shaskin
(Paris & Vancouver Island)

Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde

Christmas in Paris. Sounds magical? It is.

Christmas in Paris is one of my favorite times of year to visit. Paris food shops glow with colorful Christmas displays including chocolate Père Noels, groaning cheese shelves and dazzling towers of champagne ready to topple over.

Each patisserie (pastry shop) tries to outdo each other with seasonal delights. Paris seems to have an endless appetite for Buche de Noel (Christmas log cakes) and magical confections.

From Brittany, fresh oysters arrive daily and are displayed outside of many restaurants, brasseries and bistros. Each corner store has crates of oysters ready to take home for your own oyster feast. Oysters are to France what turkey is to Americans. A Christmas without oysters? Unthinkable to the Gallic mindset!

Special Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Eve menus are served in restaurants with plenty of foie gras, wild game, truffles and are multi-course extravaganzas. But enough about the food. France also celebrates with spectacular lights and displays in the windows of department stores. Even the ferriswheel set up on the Place de la Concorde has a spectacular seasonal light show. You won't want to miss the 150,000 lights on Champs Elysees and the lights and window decorations of the Grand Magasins.

Looking for what to do during Christmas in Paris? One of France’s most charming Baroque castles is just thirty miles from Paris. During the holidays, the Chateau de Vaux-le-Vicomte and its gardens are illuminated with thousands of lights. There's even costumes for the kids to dress up as a Prince, Princess or Musketeer. FYI: the fairy tale castle of Vaux-le-Vicomte
was the inspiration for Versailles.

Many Paris museums & monuments are open during the holidays, with the exception of Christmas Day and New Year's Day, including: the Louvre Museum, Musee D'Orsay, Rodin Museum, the Pompidou Center.

The Eiffel Tower, though, is open every single day of the year. Imagine spending Christmas day on top of the tower! Hotel de Ville (Paris City Hall) also celebrates the holidays with a seasonal skating rink where you can rent a pair of skates to do a few figure eights on the banks of the Seine.

Yes, it's touristy but did you know the Moulin Rouge is the number-one rated show in Paris? If you are in Paris for Christmas, take in Christmas dinner and a show at the cabaret that the Belle Epoque painter Toulouse-Lautrec made famous.

Christmas concerts are performed throughout the city at some churches throughout the city including Saint Germain des Pres, the Madeleine, Sainte Chapelle and Notre Dame Cathedral. It's possible to visit a different culturally important venue daily to get your dose of Christmas concerts.

Christmas in Paris is one of the most vibrant times of year to get an insiders glimpse of French culture.

For the past twenty years I have been a passionate traveler to France and I just can't seem to get enough of Paris. For me, there is no greater thrill than to share my discoveries with others. So I'm happy to draw on my knowledge of hidden Paris to help you with your travels to La Belle France on my website: Paris Insiders Guide, the Paris travel guide by experienced travelers.

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