Festively Asked Questions
A guide to the holiday season in Paris
The festive season is a magical time in Paris, with Christmas lights twinkling all over the city, charming window displays in the shops and seasonal gastronomic delights to tantalise your tastebuds. We’ve gathered all the most important information here so you can make the most of your stay in Paris.
- How do I get around?
- When will shops, attractions and restaurants be open?
- Take a tour with our partner Localers
- Visit a Christmas Market
- Experience a Christmas show or concert
- Wander the covered passages
- Glide around an ice rink
- Attend a Christmas church service
- What to do on New Year’s Eve?
- How can I contact onefinestay?
What can I do during my stay?
Getting in touch
Transport services will be running throughout the holiday period (even on Christmas Day). Taxis will be available and the Uber app will be loaded onto your onefinestay iPhone that we’ll give you when you arrive at the home.
The CityMapper journey planning app can be a handy companion to exploring the city, and this will also be loaded on the onefinestay iPhone.
Most shops, museums and many restaurants will be open for most of the holiday period, however it’s worth bearing in mind that many will be closed on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the 1st of January. Paris by Mouth have compiled an excellent, comprehensive guide to the best places to dine out on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. We recommend you make reservations well in advance, especially on those dates. Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve are not official holidays in France, but the train stations will be packed as Parisians head out for their Christmas getaway, so be sure to factor in a little extra time if you’ll be travelling too.
If you’d like to know about a particular restaurant or attraction, feel free to get in touch and we can let you know whether it’s open. One pre-emptive answer: the trusty Eiffel Tower is open 365 days a year.
To help you uncover the hidden delights of the city we’re pleased to offer a 5% discount when you book a tour with our partner, Localers. They provide a selection of walking tours, each one led by an expert Parisian guide. Click here to find out more, and when booking quote the code OFS15 to get your discount.
Champs-Élysées. 11th Nov - 8th Jan, 12pm to midnight (1am Fri and Sat)
This lively stretch of stalls extends from Place de la Concorde all the way to Franklin D. Roosevelt station. This market is the most popular, and for good reason. It’s centrally located and great for kids.
Trocadéro. 15th Dec - 3rd Jan, 11am to 8pm (24th Dec, closing at 6pm, 30th Dec, closing at 5pm, closed all day on the 25th and 31st)
This is a food-centric market, with an ice rink that sits at the top of it all (free if you happen to be travelling with your own skates).
La Défense. 17th Nov - 27th Dec, 11am - 8pm
This business district hosts the city’s largest market, with some 300 vendors. Although nestled within a forest of skyscrapers, the cosy arrangement of stalls gives the whole thing a village-like atmosphere.
Whether you’re after ballet, opera, or a choral performance in a historic church, Christmas in Paris is the ideal time to see a show. See the links below to peruse the programmes and to book tickets:
The passages (covered shopping arcades) of Paris are great places to stroll through, admiring the beautiful festive window displays. These arcades, charming at any time of year, become even more so at Christmas time. The Baroque-style shop La Maison du Roy in Passage Jouffroy makes you feel as if you’ve travelled back to the 18th century, while Passage des Princes takes you back to childhood with its rows of toyshops. Passage des Panoramas is a little gem, the perfect spot for a coffee or lunch. The Galerie Vivienne is a treat for the eyes, thanks to its astonishing architecture.
At this time of year, ice rinks pop up all over the city. Here are a few of our favourites:
15th Dec - 3rd Jan, 11am - 9pm (24th Dec, closing at 6pm, 30th Dec, closing at 5pm, closed all day on the 25th and 31st)
14th Dec - 2nd Jan, 10am - 1pm, 2pm - 8pm, 9pm - 2am
13th Nov - 8th Jan, 11am - midnight (open until 1am on Friday and Saturday)
As you’d expect, given the number of historic churches and cathedrals in Paris, there are plenty of services taking place over the Christmas period.
Notre Dame Cathedral. If you’re planning on attending Notre Dame Cathedra for Christmas Eve, arrive early. On both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the cathedral opens at 8am and you can see details about the different services and times here.
Sacré-Coeur Basilica. There is a Christmas Eve organ concert at 10pm and an 11pm vigil and Midnight Mass. On Christmas Day Mass is at 7am, 11am, 6pm & 10pm. It’s recommended to arrive at least 30 minutes before the service.
Sainte-Etienne-du-Mont, Place Sainte-Genevieve, 5th Arrondissement. The stained-glass windows date from the 16th and 17th centuries, and are well worth seeing.
Saint Alexandre Russian Orthodox Cathedral, 12 rue Daru. Set in the 8th Arrondissement, close to Parc Monceau, this was the first Orthodox church in France (established in 1861). Pablo Picasso and Olga Khokhlova were married here in 1918.
The American Cathedral in Paris, 23 avenue George V. This cathedral is a centre for English-speakers in Paris.
The American Church in Paris, 65 quai d’Orsay. This was the first American church established in Paris, in 1814. It’s located on the Left Bank, between Pont d’Alma and Pont des Invalides.
One of the most popular ways to see in the New Year is on the Seine, where the boat parties and extravagant dinners on offer make for an incredible end to the year. Bateaux Parisiens provide a New Year’s Eve cruise along the river. If you want something more lively, you can head to the fantastic blues and jazz bars along the river banks. Our personal favourite is Duc des Lombards, which has a special New Year’s Eve soirée planned.
For those keen on partying as the clock strikes 12am, there’s no better place to celebrate than the famous Champs-Élysées. On New Year’s Eve people will start to gather at around 9pm, equipped with champagne bottles and plastic flutes. There have been fireworks in the past, but these have been replaced in recent years by a light show. Please bear in mind that the Champs-Élysées will get very busy, especially later on.
Contrary to popular belief, there are no fireworks at the Eiffel Tower on New Year’s Eve. However, if your heart is set on fireworks, Pavillon Royal have a private fireworks show for €59 per person, complete with a cocktail.
The metro is free and will be running all night long. Services like Uber are likely to be fully booked, so the metro is the best bet.
If you have any other questions email us, or call us on +33 1 84 17 71 89.