In Paris, there are lots of special events at Christmas time for kids and adults that make this an extra magical time of year with lots of fun and special moments together. These fun, friendly celebrations are great opportunities to share special moments with children.
There is something extra magical about Paris during the festive season. Decorations and shimmering lights create an enchanting atmosphere for visitors in gardens, chateaux, monuments, museums, department stores and amusement parks.
© Disneyland ® Paris
Disneyland® Paris is one of the favourite destinations for families. And the famous theme park is celebrating Christmas in style ! From 11 November 2023 to 7 January 2024, magic is getting the Disney treatment: a 24 m high Christmas tree, illuminations on Main Street, encounters with the mythical Disney characters in their Christmas costumes, the unmissable presence of Father Christmas, the beautiful party parade Mickey and his Sparkling Christmas Parade, a musical show "Let's sing Christmas" and the return of the famous Disney Dreams sound and light show and fireworks display, in front of the Sleeping Beauty's Castle. An Enchanted Christmas as we like it!
© A. Guisiano - Parc Astérix
The Asterix theme park is also going festive from 23 December 2023 to 7 January 2024. On the menu for these festive holidays? Colour-packed decorations with glittering lights, an enchanted forest, Christmas gardens and snow-topped menhirs, as well as winter sports events and shows… Not to be missed: the park's heroes will once again be parading on Christmas floats! People obviously knew how to celebrate Christmas and the New Year back in the era of the Gauls...
© La Villette
Enter into the fantastic world of Salvador Dali in the Parc de la Villette. Having explored the imagination of Tim Burton, the park is illuminating the best known works of the eccentric Spanish artist and getting them to interact with one another. An amazing experience to enjoy this winter!
Until 21 January 2024
Featuring enormous sculptures made of light depicting animals and phantasmagoric creatures, the Parc Floral is revealing all the beauty and magic of nature. The high point of this dreamlike stroll? A Northern lights spectacle. Enough to make visitors dream.
From 28 November 2023 to 7 January 2024
© Lumières en Seine
The Saint-Cloud national estate is bringing light and music into its majestic setting. It will be doing this by staging its various features in a highly original manner: fountains are being enhanced, flowers are being highlighted, buildings are more radiant than ever and the various spaces are decorated with light sculptures. This two-kilometre long stroll is sure to leave its mark. For its Tales and Stories, the estate is putting on a number of fun activities based on the theme of La Fontaine’s fables. In particular, there is a show featuring his celebrated fables recounted by shadow puppets, and marionette design workshops.
From 17 November 2023 to 14 January 2024
© Chinalight Festival BV
Every year, Parisians love visiting the illuminations in the Jardin des Plantes. And justifiably so: enormous light sculptures are installed in the gardens representing flora and fauna in a setting that is already fantastic. This year's jungle theme will take those of an inquisitive nature into the very heart of mother nature in all her luxury and abundance.
From 22 November 2023 to 21 January 2024
© Zoo Safari de Thoiry
Less than 50 km from Paris, the Thoiry zoo will be putting on a magical show. In the midst of animals that are larger-than-life, illuminated installations have been erected that tell a tale or recount a journey. In winter 2023, the zoo will be taking explorers to Asia via the most fantastic constructions – including an 8 m high Asian temple!
From 28 October 2023 to 11 March 2024
© Sylvain Bachelot
The Jardin d'Acclimatation, nestling at the heart of the Bois de Boulogne, will be celebrating Christmas from 18 November 2023 to 7 January 2024, with numerous festive attractions, aisles strewn with by barley sugar, Christmas trees, ribbons, a glittering bear and a giant goblin. « La Rivière enchantée » (The "Enchanted River") is transformed into a « Rivière enneigée » ("Snowy River") to navigate between penguins and snowmen. Not forgetting all the park's attractions, Christmas songs and the "Secret of Christmas" show from 3 December! A “Dragons and lanterns” festival will run from 15 December 2023 to 25 February 2024, immersing visitors in one of the great classics of Chinese literature – the Classic of Mountains and Seas.
© Suzanne Nilsson via Flickr
Every year, the Tuileries gardens have a charming Christmas market featuring diminutive castles where people can find gift ideas and enjoy winter specialities, attractions and unmissable merry-go-rounds for the whole family during the holidays. This year, right at the very heart of the gardens, you will also be able to enjoy an enormous 500 m² ice rink. Made of real ice, it is split into two areas so that both children and adults alike can have fun!
From 18 November 2023 to 7 January 2024
@ AMI Paris
Ready-to-wear brand AMI is setting up a free ice rink from 16 to 31 December in the main courtyard of the Domaine national du Palais-Royal! Get your ice skates on and enjoy a 22-metre-long enchanting setting in the colours of the Parisian fashion designer.
Skating rink open to everyone, from 16 to 31 December.
© Musée de la Magie
Situated in the Marais district, the Musée de la Magie et des Automates offers activities all year round. During the Christmas holidays, families can enjoy a daily magic show, a lesson in magic on Saturday (one class for adults, one class for kids), and a visit to the collections of the Musée de la Magie et des Automates.
© Pavillons de Bercy
The Musée des Arts Forains, located in Bercy Village, is hosting its Festival du Merveilleux for the end of the year 2022. This is the only time of the year when this unusual museum is open to all. Young and old are invited to discover this magical and wonderful place. The programme includes shows and entertainment: aerial enchantment, tap dancers, musicians, puppets, mechanical music, a ballet of automatons and optical illusion. And to make sure the party is complete, the museum is exceptionally opening some of its attractions and century-old rides.
From 27 December 2023 to 7 January 2024
© Le Grand Rex
The Féérie des eaux returns for the 2023 holidays in the mythical Grand Rex hall. The 15-minute show (giant waterfall, illuminations, music...) precedes this year's film Wish. A session like no other!
From 22 November 2023 to 7 January 2023 - 3 screenings a day during the holidays - €12 to €16
Several museums are particularly suitable for people of all ages – they have managed to combine culture and fun. Examples include the Musée en Herbe, the Musée de l’Illusion, the Atelier des Lumières, the Musée Grévin, the Musée des Arts et Métiers, the Cité des Sciences, and the Paris Natural History Museum. A good idea for a cultural excursion to enjoy during the 2023 Christmas holidays: never will your children have enjoyed going to a museum so much!
So to get families interested, the capital’s major museums are putting together visits that are particularly fun and original. And don’t forget that the Pompidou Centre, the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, the Carnavalet Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and the Quai Branly Museum are also all open during the holidays.
© Collectif Image
The chateaux of Versailles, Vaux-le-Vicomte, Fontainebleau, Breteuil, the Chantilly estate... offer in their respective parks beautiful decorations and some animations for this Christmas 2023!
From 16 December 2023 to 7 January 2024, the Château de Versailles is organising a tour and show entitled Le Parcours du Roi (The King's Journey), in the evening, from 6pm. The Hall of Mirrors will be animated by dancers and musicians in costume, the Hall of the Rite will be filled with the notes of a harpist and a singer, while the Salon Hercule will be filled with the notes of a lute. Fencing jousts and a "Magic and Father Christmas" show are also on the programme.
From Saturday, 18 November 2023 to Sunday 7 January 2024, the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte will be bathed in a fairylike ambience for Christmas. On the menu? The traditional and dazzling Christmas tree aisle at the entrance, magnificent decorations, light projections and an animal ball. A new Christmas show called “Once upon a time…” with the company of harlequins based on the theme of Perrault's fables, and numerous surprises to enjoy before you can get warmed up again with a tasty waffle and a nice mug of hot chocolate.
The Château de Maisons in Maisons-Lafitte is involved in the national “2023 Tales and Stories” event that is being run at several national monuments. During the holidays, from 27 December 2023 until 6 January 2024, the castle will be organising “the Strange Christmas of Mr de Colmar” - a giant Cluedo-style event on 27, 28 and 29 December and then again on 3, 4, 5, 6 January at 2.30pm. It will also feature a comedy show put on by the Mystère Bouffe company - La vie de château at 2pm and 3.30pm on 30 December.
For the “Tales and Stories” event, as well as the festive decorations, the Château de Vincennes - France's largest surviving fortress and royal residence – will be organising thrilling tours all about the Middle Ages from 3 to 7 January 2024. Meanwhile, the Château de Champs-sur-Marne will be showcasing gourmet dining during tours and explorations brimming with flavour!
From 2 December 2023 to 7 January 2024, the Château de Chantilly estate will be celebrating Christmas. An enchanting décor will be set up in the park and in front of the castle. A small gourmet Christmas market (with demonstrations of Chantilly cream) is offered to visitors who can admire a Christmas table in the Galerie des Cerfs, decorations and surprises throughout the tour. Christmas carols will be sung on 10 December and Christmas Eve parties will be held on 22, 23, 29 and 30 December from 5 to 8 pm. Not forgetting the Christmas horse show in the Grandes Ecuries: “Désirée” from 2 December to 7 January 2024.
The magnificent Château de Fontainebleau is also celebrating Christmas with “Gloria!”, a Christmas concert conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock with the Balthasar Neumann Ensembles on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 December at 7:30 PM, and on Sunday 17 December at 3 PM. From 27 to 30 December 2023 and then from 4 to 7 January 2024, the immersive “D’Artagnan” visit with the Estocade Company is also to be discovered – it will immerse visitors in the world of the famous musketeer. And then there are the Christmas tale tours for a truly magical ambience.
In December and during the festive season (23 December 2023 to 7 January 2024), the magical Château de Breteuil and its 75-hectare park will be decorated with a wonderful Christmas décor, with decorations in all the rooms of the château, Christmas trees in the main courtyard and along the tour route, “sound and light” staging, tale sessions and the illumination of the façades and gardens!
© Paris je t'aime
This year, during the Christmas holidays from 16 December 2023 to 7 January 2024, a number of national monuments in Paris and across the Ile-de-France region will be taking part in the 2023 Tales and Stories event. Workshops, interesting tours, shows and other events will be held in these prestigious venues to entertain children and adults alike. The Arc de Triomphe, for example, will be organising visits based on the themes of the Gods and the Pantheon, as well as a show all about the mark that great men and women have left on the world. During holidays, the Conciergerie – a former royal residence – and the neighbouring Sainte-Chapelle will have a whole schedule of events: it will be providing a reading room for families, and will be putting on tours specially designed for families, as well as organising visits with stories and staging a comedy show at 11 AM and 2:30 PM on Thursday 4 and Friday 5 January. The Hôtel de la Marine will also be organising unusual tours that will appeal to the whole family.
© Paris Authentic
Paris is decked out in a thousand lights for the Christmas holidays: department stores' windows, illuminations, Christmas markets... The Christmas holidays are an opportunity to follow a tour full of magic and light. Below are a few ideas for original and themed tours of Paris not to be missed during the holidays:
Other attractions and visits await the public during the festive season 2023 in Paris. Those wanting to perfect their cooking skills before Christmas can take a ‘Meeting the French’ cooking class, with or without a visit to a typically Parisian market (in English only). The agency Memories France is offering two special Christmas visits to admire the capital during the holidays.
Epinay-sur-Seine Town Hall will be the setting for a unique guided tour on 16 December at 5.30pm, complete with candlelight and a festive atmosphere. An opportunity to discover the architectural history of this exceptional 18th century building, which was once the chateau of the King of Spain.
During the Christmas and end-of-year holidays, theatres and other show venues will be expanding their programmes with family excursions, all with a decidedly cultural slant.
To delight children and parents alike, why not visit the Mogador theatre to enjoy a performance of the famous Lion King musical? Or the Théâtre du Gymnase to sing along with the Jungle Book from 14 October 2023 to 6 January 2024? Or the Palais des Congrès to discover or rediscover the Hunchback of Notre Dame? Or the Bastille Opera to watch the sublime Nutcracker ballet for the first time?
Another unmissable holiday excursion is… the circus! The Bormann circus will take you on a journey through time, while the Winter Circus has a varied show with its “Délire”! At the Carrefour des Cascades in Paris' sixteenth arrondissement, the Alexis Gruss company is staging its new show - “Les Folies Gruss” - until 25 January. The Cirque du Soleil will also be in Paris, or at least on the Île des Impressionnistes (an island in the Seine) where it will be presenting its show “Kurios” until 7 January 2024.
At the Gaîté Theatre in Montparnasse, the “Grande Aventure Musicale” - the Guignol musical comedy - runs until 31 December. And at the Palais Royal Theatre, Aladdin is on until 6 January 2024 and is sure to delight youngsters.
© Christophe Abramowitz
Every year, carol concerts cast a warm glow over the festive season getting everyone into the Christmas spirit. And the big churches and cathedrals provide an enchanting setting.
On Friday 15 and Saturday 16 December 2023, the Major Classic Radio Christmas Concert will be held at an exceptional venue – the Champs-Élysées theatre. It will feature music from a selection of composers including Offenbach, Schubert, Brahms and Mozart.
The sumptuous Madeleine church will be the venue for a number of musical evenings with Christmas carols. The magic Major Christmas Concert will be held on Saturday, 23 December 2023, organised by the Hélios orchestra. The orchestra and its Helios choir will be back throughout the holidays playing classics by Ravel, Beethoven, Mozart and Vivaldi. On 25 December, a concert from organist François-Henri Houbart will delight enthusiast, while the Les Violons de France orchestra, accompanied by soprano Cécile Besnard, will give a number of performances during the holidays.
The Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre church will also be hosting a number of concerts until 6 January 2024! Located in the heart of the Latin Quarter, the church is home to the Ensemble Royal de Paris, which will be performing the great works of classical music: Handel, Vivaldi, Schubert, Mozart, Saint-Saëns and Pachelbel.
© Bercy Village
The streets and squares of Paris were once again adorned with a thousand lights this year to offer an enchanting spectacle.
On the finest avenue in the world – the Champs-Élysées – the festivities commence on 19 November at 6 PM, kicked off by actor Gilles Lellouche and three children from the Petits Princes association. The golden lights each illuminate 400 trees along the length of the avenue – a distance of more than 2 km – and these trees will also be adorned with festive decorations.
The very chic and luxurious Faubourg Saint-Honoré is also celebrating Christmas with its Winter Time 2023. The kick-off of the illuminations of the famous artery is launched on 16 November 2023 with the presence of global star Christina Millian, the impressive Chezy brass band, followed by a parade of the Garde Républicaine, then a DJ set in a decor of luminous and glittering trees. The highlight of the festivities is the big digital tombola on the Instagram account @wintertimeparis and on thethe Winter Time Paris site. It runs from 16 November 2023. The prize: numerous gifts from the most prestigious brands. All donations will be given to the association Les Rois du Monde.
Meanwhile, from 22 November, the Place Vendôme will once again be showcasing all the elegance and luxury which characterise it, decked out with four magnificent 10 m high Christmas trees and 160 smaller ones, dotted around its approaches.
The Avenue Montaigne, a prestigious artery in the "Golden Triangle" of Paris, is adorned with elegant illuminations to invite visitors to a warm and magical stroll. The luxury houses are displaying creative and traditional decorations to dress up their windows and façades for Christmas. For the switching on of the lights by fashion designer Stéphane Rolland at 6pm on 20 November 2023 in front of the Theatre, the neighbourhood is staging a Christmas carol concert given by the Unikanti choir. On Sundays in December, the "Christmas Montaigne" experience offers a programme of activities for discoveries and tastings in a friendly atmosphere.
In the aisles of Bercy Village, decorations brimming with gourmet treats can be enjoyed in the open air, with the “Delicious Christmas” Illuminations. Revellers can admire the sparkling trees beneath illuminated decorations strewn with suspended barley sugar. An area for taking selfies in the shape of a giant stick of barley sugar has pride of place in the central aisle and is sure to get you excited about your visit! An enchanted stroll to enjoy from 16 November 2023 to 8 January 2024. You will also find fairylike spectacles in the aisles all about the magical world of the Nutcracker and a costume parade!
Many other neighbourhoods are also putting up their own Christmas decorations and will be dressing the trees, building façades and streets with lights and decorations. Montmartre, Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Haussmann, and the Halles are just some of them… Just take a stroll with your family and allow yourselves to be swept away in wonder!
This Christmas, the Galeries Lafayette are offering people the Christmas of their dreams in the fairylike world of fashion designer Charles de Vilmorin and the Bournillat Studio. The artists have come up with a tale based on a little girl’s dreams and a magic brush… all is revealed as people pass in front of shop windows. Wonderful! And that's just a taste of the sublime decorations adorning the store interior – in particular the iconic Christmas tree suspended from the Dome.
Printemps Haussmann is providing visitors with a good dose of poetry this year with its “Paper Christmas”. In its store windows, a delightful tale all about Christmas wishes is played out across a series of tableaus. And inside the store, enormous paper structures, including a magnificent huge Christmas tree, adorn the atrium. A total of some 170,000 paper decorations, including 95 animated characters, 3.4 km of decorative lights and 170 Christmas trees have been installed in all of the store’s nooks and crannies. Magical!
La Samaritaine is celebrating gourmet treats this year! In the store windows, Christmas trees and other festive decorations can be seen alongside mountains of treats on silver platters. Inside, visitors can marvel at the colourful and chocolatey world of Willy Wonka and the gourmet creations of artists Gab Bois and Thomas Liu Le Lann. Enough to whet everybody's appetite!
At Bon Marché, the store windows are decorated with giant bears having fun and partying. The store interior has been transformed into a magical world featuring themed decorations, beautifully decorated Christmas trees, a sumptuous light show and a charming acrobatics show - “Entre Chiens et Louves” - staged by the Cirque Le Roux once the curtain has come down.
The BHV is also decked out in its finest colours and lights this year, both inside and out. With lots of events and workshops planned, the department store has created a whole enchanted forest, full of colours and attentive animals.