Christmas is when Paris really does live up to its name as the City of Light. Wandering along charming squares and frosty cobbled streets where the breath-taking ancient architecture of this historic city provides the perfect backdrop for the twinkling Christmas lights in December is magical.
The city can be very cold in winter so wrap up warm while you’re seeking out the best places to see the Christmas lights in Paris. And, wear comfortable shoes, because the best way to see and experience the Christmas season in the city is to just wander, making time to stop off for a hot chocolate en route!
So, where’s the best place to go to see the Christmas lights in Paris you ask? Some of the prettiest spots with great Christmas lights include lively pedestrian streets like Rue Montorgueil (above) and Rue Moffetard, the oldest street in Paris. Climb high for some great views over the city – favourites include the Eiffel Tower (don’t forget to book in advance), Tour Montparnasse or the huge Ferris wheel on Place de la Concorde, known locally as La Grande Roue. At night the lights are at their very best. And, with more than 150 streets lit up, the whole city seems to twinkle. Note the lights will this year switch off earlier than usual at 11.45 as part of France’s energy saving programme.
Where to find the best Christmas lights in Paris
Avenue des Champs-Elysées
Every year, for Christmas and the New Year, the avenue des Champs-Elysées is decorated with more than 1 million lights and stunning decorations. Star bursts, sparkling garlands, rings of light and shimmering sparkles brings the 200 trees along the world’s most beautiful avenue to life. A festive landscape for a magical Christmas!
Christmas lights at the Champs-Elysées from 19 November 2023 to 7 January 2024.
Avenue Montaigne (8th Arr)
This rather posh avenue, lined with boutiques and couture houses lights up in style. Head to the Seine quayside at the end of the road for a lovely view of the Eiffel Tower.
Christmas lights at Avenue Montaigne from end November 2023 to early January 2024
Bercy village is an entertainment district in what was formerly an area of mainly 19th century wine warehouses. There are shops, restaurants, cultural venues and families especially like the decorations here at Christmas. Artist Laurent Sanguinetti, who has worked with Hermès and designer Philippe Starck, has created an enchanted forest with 28 luminous sculptures among the trees lining the main street of Bercy Village. Expect a dash of magic with imaginary creatures and a fairy tale castle. There’s free entertainment at the weekends, concerts, and though not well known to visitors, for Parisians, it’s a must-see. (Metro Couer Saint-Emilion, Line 14).
Christmas lights at Bercy Village from 17 November 2022 to 10 January 2023 Metro: Charles de Gaulle – Étoile
Place Vendôme, rue de la Paix, rue de Castiglione, rue Saint-Honoré and rue des Capucines are all outstanding places where you’ll see waterfalls of light, showers of stars and enormous chandeliers. The fabulous Christmas lights embellish the prestigious character of this very chic district. This is where you’ll find the legendary Ritz Hotel and high end shops decked out in Christmas style.
Christmas lights at Place Vendome from 20 November 2023 to 2 January 2024
Viaduc des Arts
The Viaduc des arts, close to the Gare de Lyon is devoted to arts and crafts industries. Some 50 or so artisans are established in studios and shops in the arches and at Christmas, it’s very pretty. If you’re travelling from Gare de Lyon, it’s a few minutes walk and a great place to feel the Christmas atmosphere. If you have even more time, nip up to the Promenade Plantée above the viaduct, it’s the most unusual park in the city!
Christmas lights at the Viaduc des Arts throughout December 2023. Metro: Gare de Lyon, Bastille, Reuilly Diderot
Montmartre Christmas lights
With its villagey-vibe on a hill overlooking the city, cobbled streets, Sacré-Coeur and Place du Tertre where the artists congregate, the Christmas lights in Montmartre are super pretty and authentic. Not far from Gare du Nord, for those passing through Paris via the busy station with a couple of hours to spare, it’s an ideal place to experience a touch of Christmas magic in Paris.
Christmas lights at Montmartre 25 November to 31 December 2022
More information on the Paris Tourism website
More on Christmas in Paris
10 things to do on Christmas Eve in Paris
15 Things to do on Christmas Day in Paris
Christmas in Paris video – the next best thing to being there…
Where to go Christmas shopping in Paris
20 gorgeous photos of France at Christmas that will make you want to go there straight away!
It might not surprise you to know that mostly – Christmas in France is all about food… so buckle up, or maybe unbuckle your belt, for a fun, festive and foodie podcast: The A to Z of Christmas in France