Paris is amazing all the time. But at Christmas, oh wow! Paris transforms into a festive sparkling fairy land in a way that only Paris can! If you follow me on Instagram, you got a taste of my adventure! I just returned from Paris and can’t wait to share the Joy of the Season with you!
Paris: Magical During Christmas ~ The Decorations
We arrived in Paris two days after Thanksgiving, and at first I was disappointed. Where were all the lights? Where were all the decorations? Of course the major retail areas had some décor up, as did some hotels, but not everywhere. I was sad. But beginning on December 1 and with more abundance every day, Paris transformed itself.
Garlands of twinkle lights traversed many streets. Tiny real trees began to appear on the sidewalks outside shops. Brasseries decorated their large canvas awnings, and the gorgeous tree in front of Notre Dame sparkled with a thousand lights. Fairy land, y’all. I took so many pictures it was ridiculous.
If you really want to see Christmas in Paris in full swing, I’d suggest arriving on December 5th or after.
Paris: Magical During Christmas ~ Notre Dame
Speaking of the Christmas Tree out front, you must go inside Notre Dame during Christmas. I have only visited Paris in the summers prior to this trip, and the lines to get in Notre Dame are HOURS long. Not in December.
I visited this epically beautiful Gothic Cathedral during the day and then again in the early evening, and literally walked right in. My second visit was with my husband, and we happened to arrive just as a short mass was beginning. The choir singing, the flickering candles….Glory to The New Born King!
There’s an amazing creche to the left of the alter you must see. Set in the south of France, the townsfolk are butchers and bakers, and laundry ladies. Many figures are animated. Totally charming!
Paris: Magical During Christmas ~ Chocolate Shops
In this post I advised you to wear stretchy pants when you visit Paris. Chocolate shops count as a restaurant to me! And the whimsy and creativity of the designs are swoon-worthy. I really wanted to bring home almost one of everything I saw. And then I would have to start blogging about weight loss plans. So I didn’t. But I wanted to.
Paris: Magical During Christmas ~ The Department Stores
Yes, I know we have department stores in the states too. And I know they are decorated for the Holidays. But not like the Galeries Lafayette. Beneath the historic stained glass ceiling that dates back to 1912, each year this luxury department store puts up an amazing Christmas Tree. Per their web site, architects “called upon great artists from the École de Nancy to decorate this magnificent building in the style of Paris Art Nouveau. The banister of the magnificent staircase, inspired by the Paris Opera House, was designed by Louis Majorelle, who is also credited with the ironwork featured on the balconies. The dome, rising to a height of 43 metres, soon became the iconic symbol of Galeries Lafayette. Master glass-maker Jacques Gruber was responsible for designing the Neo-byzantine style stained glass windows.” Worth seeing from the ground floor, and every floor in between.
Paris: Magical During Christmas ~ The Markets
As I said, we were a wee bit early for full-on Christmas. But by our last day, I was able to experience two Christmas Markets: One by the Centre Pompidou and the other in front of the Abbey Saint-Germain-des Pres. Both were cute, and offered tasty treats to eat and drink, as well as souvenir items.
I wouldn’t skip the Christmas Markets in Germany or Belgium or Switzerland for these small neighborhood markets, but if you are in Paris during Christmas, a stroll through one or two is bound to leave you feeling merry!
If travel is your favorite gift, then plan to wrap up a trip to Paris during Christmas. Joyeux Noel, y’all!!!