Visiting Paris in December and January

Visiting Paris in December and January
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Two years ago I spent New Year’s Eve with my friend Laurie in Paris. While some would prefer visiting in the Spring (aka “April in Paris”), winter in Paris can be wonderful. Here are some things to consider:

Visiting Paris In December and January

Sit At An Outdoor cafe:

Paris in winter France

They have heaters, so you can still “people watch” and won’t get cold, especially if you order a Vin Chaud, which is hot, spiced wine.




The Decorations:

Blvd Saint Germain, Paris France

Everywhere. The French know how to decorate, after all.

Place Vendome, Paris France. Photo: J. Chung
Place Vendome, Paris France. Photo: J. Chung




Ice Skating Rink:

Paris France Winter Decorations
Paris Winter Decorations

Outside the Hotel de Ville.

Shimmering LIghts:

On the Champs Elysee and in the Place Vendome. Beautiful.

Paris France Winter Champs Elysee Lights
Paris Winter Champs Elysee Lights


Place Vendome, Paris France
Place Vendome, Paris France. Photo: J. Chung






Winter Markets:

Paris France Winter Market

There are a number of winter markets scattered throughout Paris where they sell vin chaud, cheese and many other foods, gifts, and toys. The one on the Champs Elysee is particularly large.

Angelina’s Hot Chocolate:

Angelina's Hot Chocolate, Paris.

Great excuse to have one of the renowned “African” hot chocolates .  It is rich. It is dark. It will be the best hot chocolate you have ever had.

Ride the ferris wheel: 

Paris France Ferris Wheel Winter

At Place de la Concorde at night: the view of the city lights are spectacular. Be sure to get a seat by a window, otherwise, you won’t really get a great view of the Champs Elysee, in particular.

New Year’s Eve: Oysters and Steak For Dinner

Oysters, steak and wine on New Year's Eve.
Oysters, steak and wine on New Year’s Eve. Photo: J. Chung

New Year’s Eve coincidentally takes place on ‘Saint-Sylvester’s Eve and is celebrated with a feast and we did with oysters, steak, and wine.

New Year’s Eve Looking At The Eiffel Tower:

Paris France Winter New Year's Eve

There aren’t any fireworks but there was a light show. The entire area underneath the Eiffel Tower is closed off. We had started at Trocadero; however it was too crowded and therefore the views weren’t great. So, we headed to Pont de Bir-Hakeim and stood on the bridge.  It is a covered bridge which was perfect as it was drizzlying that night. Fireworks did take place in other areas of the city.

 Other Considerations:

1.Weather: Pack gloves, sweaters, and an umbrella. Paris can be cold and damp and the temperature will range from 3-7 degrees C. It doesn’t get bitterly cold but it has been known to rain in December/January. However, the days can also be sunny and crisp and wonderful for sitting out at a cafe.

2. Packing: Pack lightly so you have room for purchases: if you are visiting in mid to late January there are some very good sales.

3. Lights: It will get dark early, but it is also beautiful with all the lights.

4. Entertainment:

  • Be on the look-out for Christmas concerts located at any one of Paris’ many churches.
  • Check out the Christmas windows at the Grand Magasins (Galeries Lafayette and Printemps)

6. Seine River Cruise: Don’t rule out taking a night-time dinner cruise. Hopefully Laurie can share her experience doing that.


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  1. We celebrated New Years Eve in Paris in 1999. So much fun. We went with friends and had a fabulous dinner at a small bistro. They opened just for our group of 10. I’ll never forget that glorious dinner and wines the owner paired for us. We couldn’t find a place to eat and a friend of a friend called the owner and she said come. She loved Americans and told us so many amazing stories of the soldiers she met. Unforgettable evening!

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