December in Paris: Weather and What to Do during the Christmas Period

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Planning to visit Paris in December? Need tips about what to do during the Christmas holidays in Paris? Unsure of what to pack to tackle the chilly Parisian weather? Welcome to StillinParis.

Christmas Lights in Chaps Elysée - Paris
Christmas Lights in Champs Elysée – Paris

No matter how long you spend in Paris, you will undoubtedly be impressed by the city’s unforgettable architectural and cultural heritage.

You will also be able to enjoy the many pleasures of the proclaimed capital of gastronomyfashion and shopping – especially at this time of the year. On December 31st you could celebrate  New Year’s Eve in Paris in style at the Champs Elysée with 300,000 other people.

Weather in Paris in December

Average Temperatures in Paris en December

  • average minimum temperatures in Dec. in Paris : 2°C / 36°F
  • average maximum temperature in Dec. in Paris: 7°C / 45°F
  • average rainfall : 59 mm

Although the Parisian climate can be chilly towards the end of December, temperatures are rarely below freezing (on average between 2°C/36 ° F and 7°C/45°F). The first couple of weeks of December are milder but are still cool as Winter settles in.

Paris weather in December (Snow)
Paris weather in December (Snow)

Paris can be cloudy during December, and there are on average 15 rainy days (however, the showers are generally light). Of course, there is also a possibility of snow over the Christmas period. To see a snow-covered Paris is to witness the city at its most beautiful.

With plenty of Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations over the festive season, Paris certainly lives up to its famous nickname – the ‘City of Light’.

 

What to Wear in December in Paris

If visiting Paris during this month, you should be prepared for cold weather.

Aside from the usual winter coat, scarf,  and gloves, an umbrella might be useful (but a rain coat can make walks easier) , as well as shoes with a good tread to ensure you don’t slip over!

Don’t forget to leave room in your luggage for any shopping or souvenirs you might pick up during your stay. See 5 day weather forecast for Paris

Paris in December : Events, Musicals and Opera in Paris

Festive Lights and Windows

Lafayette Xmas Windows Dec. 2015
Galeries Lafayette Paris Xmas Windows

You can see many beautiful Christmas lights in Paris. The most famous are those of the Champs Elysées Illuminations, Montmartre Hill lights and Galeries Lafayette Christmas Window.

The Galeries Lafayette is one of the most famous department stores in Paris. Here you can find brand-name items and fashion of every variety. The Chrsitmas window is a real spectacle of the city, adorned with lights and stunning decorations to welcome in the festivities. A cruise of the river Seine is a fantastic way of seeing the Christmas illuminations in all their glory.

 

There are many tours available from Champs Elysées avenue to Notre Dame Cathedral and the wonderful Concorde Place, which are organized to let you discover Paris’ beauty during the Christmas period.

Ice Skating at Grand Palais - Paris
Ice Skating at Grand Palais – Paris

Open-Air Ice Skating

During this period, many open-air ice skating rinks offer the chance to enjoy winter entertainment with friends or family through outdoor activities at ice-rinks. These can be found on the square in front of the Paris City Hall (Hôtel de Ville), on the Champs-Elysées at Grand Palais, and in the Jardins du Trocadéro.

See Museums in Paris .

25th and 26th December in Paris

Christmas day, December 25th is a public holiday – so most museums and attractions will be closed as well as the shops.

Nevertheless, some museums and monuments are open on Christmas day such as the Museum of Montmartre or Espace Dali and The Pompidou Centre – the most important Contemporary Art museum in Paris.

Some churches and religious monuments are open, such as Notre Dame CathedralSacré Coeur Basilica and Madeleine Church. These Churches often organize events and special celebrations on 24th and 25th December where you can see exceptional live choir performances.

The 26th December is not a holiday – there is no Boxing Day in Paris – so most museums, monuments and shops will be open for business.

During the New Years Eve celebrations on the Champs Elysée avenue, several surprise events are planned to welcome the new year into the city.

New Year and Xmas at Opera Bastille:  La Bohème By Puccini

until 31 December 2017  – Opéra national de Paris

The 4-act Opera of La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini after Henry Murger.

New Year and Christmas at Opéra Garnier

Play : a new creation by the Swedish contemporary choregrapher , Alexander Ekman. A surprising production with music by Mikael Karlsson . An Original Ballet for Year’s End in Paris

Read more about Christmas Events in Paris

Exhibitions in Paris in December 2018

December 2018 will be a culturally rich month for the French capital , with many fantastic exhibitions taking place in the City of Light.

  • Degas, Danse, Dessin, A Tribute to Degas with Paul Valery at Musée d’Orsay from 29 Nov. 2017 to 25 Feb. 2018
  • Gauguin the Alchemist at Grand Palais more than 200 works of the artist with Musée d’Orsay and Art Institute of Chicago – from 11 Oct.2017 to  22 Jan. 2018
  • Monet Collectionneur at Marmottan  Museum from until 14 Oct. 2017 to 14 Jan. 2018
  • Irving Penn at Grand Palais – A retrospective of the photographer organized with the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York
  • In their Native Forests at Musée du Quai Branly : Arts of Atlantic Aquatorial Africa- from 3 Oct. 2017 to 21 Jan. 2018

 

Mistinguett, Reine des Années Folles – the Broadway Musical

from Friday 3 October 2014 to Sunday 4 January 2015

Brilliant, talented, impertinent, the 20s are an exceptional page of the French history book. Mistinguett was the queen of Roaring Twenties (Les Années Folles), the first one to go down a grand staircase wearing feathers and egrets, a theatrical personality and of an extreme modernity, she was the original pioneer of music hall, and the one who inspired Broadway’s creation!

Singers, comedians, dancers and musicians tell the story of the birth of music hall in the beating heart of the theater. Experience the nostalgia with remastered songs of the period with the unbridled energy of the original compositions.

 

3 days in Paris – Art Exhibition

15 Galleries, more than 60 local artists of the district of Marais with paintings for sale from 200€ to 10 000€.

Christmas at Disneyland Paris

Christmas at Disney Land PAris
Christmas show at Disney Land Paris

Experience the the magic of a family Christmas at Disneyland Paris!

Illuminations, Disney fairies and fun for all the family… Christmas is certainly the best time to visit Disneyland Paris.

Book your stay at Disneyland Paris!

 

Paris Christmas Markets in December

It would be a crying shame miss out on the hot chocolate, wine, crepes, and waffles found at the Christmas Markets in Paris.

You can also buy many typical French products like locally-made cheese.

read more : All Christmas markets in Paris

Christmas Market Champs Elysées Paris
Champs Elysées Christmas market in Dec.
  • CHRISTMAS MARKET ON SAINT GERMAIN DES PRES

From mid-November 2017 to early January 2018 – 10am-7pm

Eglise Saint-Germain-des-Prés de Paris – 6th arrondissement Metro : Saint-Germain-des-Prés

  • CHRISTMAS MARKET ON THE CHAMPS-ELYSÉES

Canceled in December 2017

Avenue des Champs-Elysées – 8th arrondissment Metro : Champs Elysées – Clemenceau

  • CHRISTMAS MARKET IN ABBESSES IN PARIS

From late November 2017 to 1 January 2018 10am – 5pm

Place des Abbesses – 18th arrondissement Metro : Abbesses

  • CHRISTMAS MARKET IN GARE SAINT-LAZARE From late November 2015 to 2 January 2016

Gare de Haussmann Saint-Lazare – 9th arrondissement Metro : Saint-Lazare

26 COMMENTS

  1. Hi
    We , my husband, 2 children and I are coming to Paris for the New year. Any suggestions for a place of nice family dinner or fireworks or celebrations, as my children will be allowed to wake pass mid night only New Year’s Eve ??

  2. You CAN Go to Double Fond a café théâtre in paris 4th(place sainte Catherine) .There Willbe celebrations, dinner, magic shows but no fireworks. You CAN also celebrate new years eve at the aquarium at trocadero. One advice : book in advance

  3. Hey me and my husband are coming to Paris on this 27th dec till 2nd Jan to celebrate new year so any idea that I can get for the weather in dec there and what best we can do on 31st night and then where is the best place to shop for reasonable price shopping for me and my hubby

    • Hey I can recommand you many things :
      a romantic river cruise on the Seine,
      a Special New year’s eve at the Opera
      many restaurants in Paris have a special dinner menu for this event (read our special new years eve guide).
      For Shopping you can try French designer stock clearance store . ( go to our shopping menu for more details).

    • This year the new decorations on World’s most beautiful avenue will be inaugurated on 20 Nov 😉

  4. I was in Paris last year for the end of december. The year before I was in NY. For me Paris is the best place to spend Xmas holidays

  5. If I wore waterproof suede knee high apres boots (the nice looking ones, but with a thick heel), would I be out of place or too under dressed?

    • You will certainly not be under dressed, thigh boots are trendy in Paris. But if your are planning to walk it can be difficult to walk in Paris with thick heels. And if it snow it is almost impossible.

  6. Hello I’m going to celebrate my 18th birthday in 10th of December in Paris!!! Could you recommend me a place to find a good birthday cake and and a bar to go on that special day?

    • Hey Maria, thanks for reading us! you can find good birthday cake at this place http://www.mesjolisgateaux.fr/votre-gateau-sur-mesure
      the best si to order in advance. You can also find god cakes in many tradional “boulangerie” . where will you have your habitation?
      . There is a huge place to celebrate your birthday in Paris.
      For a unique birthday , the retaurant “La coupole” at 102, boulevard du Montparnasse 75014 Paris (Metro Montparnasse)
      For a festive birthday, “Les caractères” a club not too expensive situated at , 25 Rue des Grands Augustins, 75006 Paris (Metro Odeon).

  7. Hi,

    My husband, two young daughters and I will be in Paris for about 6 days for Christmas from somewhere hot. Please, where can we get affordable winter wear on arrival?

    • Hi,

      there are many places easily accessible from Paris Center where you can find affordable clothes for kids and there parent :
      Italie 2 Shopping Center , C&A at boulevard Haussmann. Saint Lazare Shopping Mall (Camaieu, promod …)

  8. Hello, my boyfriend and I will be in Paris for 4 days over new year, very excited! I’m not sure where the best place to go is on new years eve, we are thinking the Champs Elysee but also keen to go the eiffel tower – where would be best do you think? Also, we leave on the 2nd December and will be travelling by underground from Convention to Charles De Gaulle, do you know of any restrictions on 2nd January as we’ll be leaving our hotel around 5am!

    • Hello Fiona

      Thanks for reading us. There are many ways to celebrate NYE in Paris. This year there is a public audio and video show over the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs-Elysées. (it gather about 500 000 people)
      For the Eiffel Tower, the best thing is to have a reservation in a restaurant or a diner-cruise with a view on the Tower. (It can be expensive !)
      Many people celebrate also the New Year on the Trocadero where you have a wonderful view on the Eiffel Tower

    • For the 2nd January there is no specific restriction but Metro service starts at 5.34 am at convention

    • Generally, there is no fireworks scheduled for the new year’s eve in Paris but a video on the Arc de Triomphe.
      But in 2015, the City of Paris organized a surprise with an exceptional.

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