Holiday Happenings

xmastreeThere is no shortage of websites telling you what to do in Paris for the holidays. Generally you will have a ton of Christmas markets scattered around town, some open until Christmas, some through the New Year, and the ones on the Champs-Elysées and La Défense (suburb on Line 1 metro) are by far the largest and have entertainment and rides in addition to toys, gifts, crafts and – most important – hot food and wine. There are free merry-go-rounds all over Paris, the giant Ferris wheel at Concorde, and ice skating at the Grand Palais (fanciest and indoors), Hôtel de Ville and Champs-Elysées. Everywhere you go that has shops will haveelaborate window decorations (especially department stores which are famous for it) and pretty holiday lights on all major streets. Almost all of the restaurants, museums, and shops are open every day but the 25th and the 1st (large stores are open exceptionally on Sundays in December). Some museums are open on one or both days, including Jacquemart-André, Centre Pompidou, decorOrangerie (open on the 1st), Quai Branly (open on the 1st), Espace Dali and Eiffel Tower. Expect crowdseverywhere and bundle up accordingly. Even Christmas Eve Mass at Notre Dame Cathedral is so crowded that most people can’t get in and have to watch from big screens placed outside. My mom is coming for Christmas, so we’ll be braving the crowds with a flask of something hot to visit Vaux-le-Vicomte and the Musée des Arts Forains, both totally worth the wait. There are no fireworks at the Eiffel Tower on New Year’s Eve, but many holiday parties in clubs and restaurants which are always quite expensive but worth it if you’re only visiting (most locals celebrate with friends in private homes). Check out the Secrets of Paris Calendar and the websites below for specific recommendations.

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