Paris in December: What it's like

  • October 31, 2017
  • All things Paris
  • Jessica Gilligan

Staying warm in Paris in December

While Paris might be famous for its picturesque “balades” along the seine, well frankly, it’s darn cold! Not Canada or Alaska cold, but cold enough to want to stay warm and cozy. So first of all: bring mittens and a toque if you’re coming to Paris in December. You might not need a heavy winter jacket, but sweaters, scarves, and a coat are definitely a must.
When you’re not meandering through Paris’ streets, keep cozy in one of our theatres: not only will you discover the most authentic Parisian entertainment, but you’ll also have the best, plush read seats in the house, in ornate Parisian buildings. You might even cozy up to the Parisian audience members!
In terms of the famous “people-watching” habit of the Parisians on their favourite “terrasses”, you’re in luck: there are (usually) heat lamps outside of our "restos"! So as long as you’re dressed warmly, you can still enjoy the ever-popular Parisian pastime of people watching in the cold. To each their own!

paris christmas decor night

Christmas decorations in Paris

Paris gets quite festive in December, much to our delight. The Avenue Champs Elysées, crowded as it may be, glitters with decorative lights and trees, and winter-cabin-like stands during the Paris Christmas Market. Our favourite place for Christmas in Paris, however, (apart from the theatre of course!!) is the Notre Dame Cathedral, where a gigantic Christmas tree is decorated in the middle of the square. The second runner up for Parisian Christmas trees are the 'Galeries Lafayette'. Paris' Galeries LaFayette have immaculate window displays in December. Their ornate ceiling and luscious restaurant are already sights to see, but add a Christmas tree to the mix and you’ve got something nothing less than breathtaking. Rue de Passy is often decorated as well, and, always a plus, there are fewer tourists in that area. And to really get into the Parisian Christmas mood, definitely take a walk around the Panthéon and the St Germain area. You won’t be disappointed!

dining restaurant paris december

French dining in December

Comfort food in December is a must. And though France is known for many things, no one can deny her gourmet gastronomy. Nutella crepes, chocolate eclairs, opéras…. But enough about the sweets. What about the salé? After all, you do have to eat a real meal in Paris while you’re here! Hands down, we suggest a Parisian Christmas dinner at Le Train Bleu. With rich, typically French starters like fois gras and succulent mains like roasted lamb, you really can’t go wrong for a hot French meal at the Train Bleu. Plus, the decor won’t let you down. The gilded dining rooms were each uniquely decorated to portray various cities and regions of France.

While many cities boast impressive holiday decorations and activities in the winter, we think (but maybe we’re a bit biased as francophiles), that Paris is the most striking. For those of us who’ve been living in Paris for a while, nothing says December more than the waft of fresh croissants and brioche, un petit café, wrapped up like true Parisians in our scarves, while strolling through decorated cobblestone streets, just before seeing a traditionally French show with English subtitles. :)