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Where to See the Christmas Lights in Paris

Can you imagine being able to visit the city of lights in full swing? If you are going to Paris for Christmas, read my tips to know the best places to see the lights illuminating the French capital.

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

9 min read

Where to See the Christmas Lights in Paris

View of the Arc de Triomphe at Christmas time | ©Craig Philbrick

Are you planning a trip to Paris for Christmas? One of the best ways to celebrate Christmas in Paris is to see the lights that fill the most emblematic places of the city. From grand avenues like the Champs Elysées to quieter neighborhoods on the outskirts, light, color and Christmas splendor flood the Parisian streets. What luck to be able to see this spectacle during your visit!

Usually, the lights are turned on from late November to early January, so you have plenty of time to go to Paris and experience a special Christmas, visiting tourist sites that at this time look even more impressive. Because when night falls in Paris, Christmas makes its appearance in the form of thousands and thousands of bulbs that will accompany you on your trip.

1. The Eiffel Tower light show

Illumination of the Eiffel Tower| ©kuhnmi
Illumination of the Eiffel Tower| ©kuhnmi

Every night the Eiffel Tower is illuminated, but from November to January, when Christmas comes to the Parisian streets, the lights of approximately 20,000 bulbs become even more special. But the most famous tower in the world is not the only one that shines, the whole road leading to it is full of blue and white lights that create a festive atmosphere.

Like snowflakes falling from the treetops, thousands of lights flank the path for visitors arriving on the esplanade of the Eiffel Tower. When you reach the base of the Tower, in addition to the spectacle of lights and colors, you are greeted by a small restaurant in a transparent dome that every Christmas is placed on the second floor. Need a stop before continuing to admire the Parisian Christmas? Here you can have a hot (and sweet!) drink.

Ice skating under the lights of the Eiffel Tower

If instead of resting you feel like a little more movement, why not go ice skating? That's right, during the Christmas season, an ice rink is installed around the Eiffel Tower where you can skate surrounded by a light show that makes this plan even more brilliant. Isn't it a great plan for the whole family?

In addition, if you travel with children to Paris, this visit has a surprise that will delight them ... And I have been told that Santa Claus walks around the Eiffel Tower during the most special weeks of the year. Are you not going to go see him? Remember that, although you don't need a ticket to walk around, if you want to climb the Eiffel Tower you do.

Book your tickets for the Eiffel Tower

2. An illuminated path on the Avenue des Champs Elysées

Illumination of Champs Elysées| ©Levon Avdoyan
Illumination of Champs Elysées| ©Levon Avdoyan

In addition to the Champs Elysees is always one of the great Christmas markets in Paris that you can not miss, at night hundreds of lights and animations fill with magic the busiest avenue of Paris. Undoubtedly, it is very exciting to walk more than 2 kilometers between trees laden with luminous garlands. Although the walk is a bit long, I recommend you take it easy and stop at the market stalls while you see how the Arc de Triomphe is getting bigger and bigger as you move towards it.

They say that when you see a shooting star you have to make a wish, well, although they are not real, the effect created by the Christmas lights on the Champs Elysees is precisely that. In addition, the LED technology of the most modern bulbs gives even more that feeling of walking through a landscape full of brightness and color.

If you are not too fond of crowds, it will be difficult to avoid them, because going to see the lights on the Champs Elysees is one of the main Christmas plans in Paris, especially on the day of its ignition. However, I remind you that the lights are kept on from late November to early January, so you can go on those dates, admire them more calmly and, why not, extend the Christmas spirit a little longer.

Book a guided tour of Paris

3. Lights and Christmas trees in Place Vendome

Christmas at Place Vendome| ©lights.of.world
Christmas at Place Vendome| ©lights.of.world

If there is one thing Place Vendome is elegant. The many jewelry stores that are located there already give enough light and shine to the place with their windows full of diamonds and precious stones. However, from November to January the square is also filled with golden lights to celebrate Christmas. Therefore, this is a must-see if you want to experience Christmas in Paris.

Beyond the garlands of lights that adorn the facades, the illumination of the Place Vendome stands out for its decorations, especially the giant fir trees that during the day are green but at night seem snowy by the amount of white and blue lights that cover them.

My advice is to go to see these lights at the end of the day, when all you feel like doing is resting for a while. Of course, the tiredness will soon be gone because the refinement, glitz and glamor of this square awaken anyone.

4. Discover all the illuminated shop windows on Avenue Montaigne

Christmas Lights on Montaigne Avenue| ©Ron Gunzburger
Christmas Lights on Montaigne Avenue| ©Ron Gunzburger

Christmas is added to one of the most luxurious avenues in Paris since the end of November. In addition to the general lighting of all Parisian streets, in this area are the lights of the shop windows that leave everyone who passes by with their mouths open. Even if you are not going to buy anything in the boutiques that are there (such as Chanel or Louis Vuitton), my advice is to take a walk while admiring each display, they are worth it!

Do not think that just seeing one of the windows is enough, because each fashion brand designs with care and according to their own personality each store. So, you can discover them one by one and choose the one you like the most or find the one with more lights.

One of the great advantages of the lights of the Avenue Montaigne is that you do not have to wait for the night to see them, because during the day they also dazzle and give life to the cold winter days of Paris.

5. See Paris illuminated from the Ferris wheel at the Place de la Concorde

Christmas at Place de la Concorde| ©Cécile Leducq
Christmas at Place de la Concorde| ©Cécile Leducq

If you're walking among the hanging lights of the Avenue des Champs Elysees, you may come to the Place de la Concorde, where the lighting is just as spectacular, creating a Christmas atmosphere that enamors even the most skeptical. But if there is one thing that has become a must-see when Christmas comes to Paris, it is the Ferris wheel that is placed in the Square.

Apart from the lights that inevitably attract us to it, the best thing about this Ferris wheel is the views it offers, which have nothing to envy to the best viewpoints in Paris. Can you imagine being able to see the center of Paris illuminated from a meter high at Christmas? Climb the Ferris wheel and stay with your mouth open, because I promise you that the panoramic view is incredible.

The approximate price is 12 €, although they have discounts for children, who surely are eager to join the plan. When you go down you adults can take the opportunity to take a comforting mulled wine in one of the stalls around while you continue contemplating the lights. It's delicious!

6. The Notre Dame Christmas tree lighting

Christmas at Notre Dame| ©Albyn Davis
Christmas at Notre Dame| ©Albyn Davis

Although the Notre Dame cathedral is not specially illuminated during Christmas, the big tree in front of it is enough to give light to the whole square. Have you ever seen it? Well now you have one more plan to add to your list. In addition to the lights, the tree is decorated with great care, making it even more imposing and beautiful.

The combination of the natural green of the tree and the blue of its lights are the ideal complements of Notre Dame. I assure you that you will want to take a picture of how the facade of the cathedral is cut out by the illuminated silhouette of the tree.

My advice is to spend at least half an hour to sit on a bench around to admire the tree and the light it gives off on the starry sky of Paris.

7. The most traditional lights of Saint-Germain-des-Prés

St Germain des Prés flea market| ©ParisDiscoveryGuide
St Germain des Prés flea market| ©ParisDiscoveryGuide

Do you know this neighborhood in the 6th arrondissement of Paris? In its brasseries and cafes have met some of the great intellectuals and artists of history, but if that did not make it special enough, at Christmas all its streets are filled with lights. In particular, I recommend you to go to Boulevard Saint Germain and Place Saint Germain des Prés, where all the luminous decorations are concentrated and which you can easily reach with line 6 of the Paris metro.

Although many people go to Saint-Germain-des-Prés just to see its Christmas market or have a drink in its traditional cafes, there are many people who are surprised when they encounter a light show that makes the magic of Christmas and the excitement of living it increase.

Maybe in Saint-Germain-des-Prés are not the most powerful lights in Paris, but I can assure you that they have something special. In addition, being an area not as touristy as the Champs Elysees, you can enjoy Christmas with more tranquility and feel that you are in the heart of the most real Paris.

8. The arrival of Christmas at Galeries Lafayette and Boulevard Haussman in November

Christmas at Galeries Lafayette| ©Coral Pin
Christmas at Galeries Lafayette| ©Coral Pin

Do you want to live the experience of entering a Christmas story? Make a note of this recommendation: the Boulevard Haussman. This area is where the most famous department stores in Paris are located, such as Galeries Lafayette, so in addition to the lights hanging from the trees of the boulevard, expect to find shop windows full of decorations and even automatons that welcome Christmas.

I can assure you that all the big stores will catch your eye with their lights, colors and Christmas windows, but if there is one place you will want to head to it is the Galeries Lafayette and its illuminated facade. You will have heard of them because during the year the architecture of the building is already quite impressive, but during Christmas it is even more so. If you don't believe me, watch this video and wait until you see live the 25-meter tree that presides over the hall of the Galleries during the festive season.

If you let your eyes continue beyond the tree (although it is complicated), you will see how the windows of all the stores in the Gallery follow a common style and design to maintain harmony and that Christmas magic reaches every corner.

9. A village of lights in Bercy Village

Bercy Village| ©Sarah Graham
Bercy Village| ©Sarah Graham

When you arrive at Bercy Village, you will feel your imagination run wild. The decorations take on a thousand and one shapes (animals, spheres, trees...) and all of them are illuminated. The result? A landscape of lights that turn this open-air shopping center into a sort of Christmas village created by some of the best French designers.

Bercy Village is a historic place, so in addition to seeing the lights you can sit on one of its terraces to observe its construction in white stone, wood, steel and glass while you take a good glass of wine, because in this small town you will see that there are plenty of wineries.

Being in the XXII district and not as popular as other neighborhoods, Bercy is a good place to enjoy the lights of Paris without so many people but with the same illusion and Christmas spirit.

10. Christmas nights at the Louvre and the Tuileries Garden

Christmas in the Tuileries Garden| ©Tatsuo Kudo
Christmas in the Tuileries Garden| ©Tatsuo Kudo

Are you going to the Louvre Museum on your trip to Paris? I recommend that you go at the last minute or even take advantage of the day they open at night, so that when you leave you find the great Tuileries Garden dressed for Christmas and with lights that illuminate the whole place.

In the center of Paris, extends the magnificent garden of the Louvre that at Christmas in addition to hosting a beautiful market, is also full of large luminous structures. In fact, this moment is called "The Magic of the Tuileries", because the lighting of the lights at the end of November kicks off a few weeks where the warmth and brightness of Christmas reaches all hearts.

Buy tickets for the Louvre

In addition, while you are walking among the luminous decorations and discovering the thousand shapes they have, you can do some Christmas shopping at the market stalls.

Do you already have all the stops to see the Christmas lights in Paris? I promise you that you will be dazzled in a good way and that you will live a magical Christmas.