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Paris in December?

glutton Jun 29, 2009 05:58 PM

We're considering a few days in Paris during the week between Christmas and New Years. Will restaurants, stores, markets, etc. be open during these days? I am wondering if Paris shuts down for Christmas or if the good stores and restaurants stay open.

  1. souphie Jun 30, 2009 02:24 AM

    Many restaurants and shops close between Christmas and NYE, but less so than August. Some good shops and restaurants are open. Food shops are open because this is high season for them, especially sweets, butchers, etc. For restaurants, the most reliable source is www.viamichelin.com to know what's open.

    2 Replies
    1. re: souphie
      John Talbott Jun 30, 2009 10:13 AM

      With due respect to Souphie, I've found the only way to set up meals that week (when I'm always here) is to telephone and ask. It's a crap-shoot. Of course the brasseries are open but an astonishing number of new places (usually run by Mom's and Pop's) who don't (yet) have little kids, are open to trade in on the trou. A number of other website and blogs also feature holiday openings/closings. I make a long list of places that I intended to eat at but have somehow missed and work through them.

      1. re: John Talbott
        souphie Jun 30, 2009 12:13 PM

        John is right -- but the Michelin is a good first screen. And it's not only about openings: reservation is always safer by phone in Paris.

    2. t
      txgrl99 Jun 30, 2009 01:39 PM

      We went last December - January. While it's true that many restaurants do shut down (some we really wanted to try, like La Regalade), we found there were more than enough wonderful places to choose from during that time.

      1. s
        sexychocolatier Nov 23, 2009 12:00 PM

        Hahahaaa! The answers by several here are: INCORRECT.

        I have stayed in Paris several times during December. In fact that is my most favorite time as there are no hordes of Japanese Tour Buses with cameras turning it into disneyland.

        Trust me. Even on XMAS EVE. You will not have any problems with restaurants.

        No Reservations Required.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sexychocolatier
          PhilD Nov 23, 2009 12:16 PM

          "Trust me. Even on XMAS EVE. You will not have any problems with restaurants."

          Well you will if you want to go to some specific ones and/or many recomended ones.

          It is correct to say that lots of small bistros do close for a Christmas holiday. Sure lots of restaurants are open. But my guess is that if you are good and successful you have the cash flow to be able to shut for the holidays, and if you area small family business, family will come first. So the other posters are correct: choice is more limited, some top spots are not open, but you will not starve.

          1. re: PhilD
            Parigi Nov 23, 2009 11:51 PM

            I agree with Phil and the others. For the good restaurants, you do have to book ahead for new year's eve. Traditionally Parisians stay home for xmas but go out and paint the town red on new year's eve.

            "that is my most favorite time as there are no hordes of Japanese Tour Buses with cameras turning it into disneyland."

            Very curious statement made by a foreign visitor about other foreign visitors. I would have expected fellow chowhounds not to be ethno-centric.

        2. Busk Nov 23, 2009 04:16 PM

          Expect complete insanity at any open air markets on Thursdays before New Years Eve and Christmas. Richard Lenoir will be insane at any fishmongers. I may take video...

          9 Replies
          1. re: Busk
            glutton Nov 24, 2009 03:58 AM

            Do you recommend any of the open air markets over the others for these days? I don't mind the crowds and probably wouldn't mind witnessing the mayhem.

            1. re: glutton
              Busk Nov 24, 2009 04:29 AM

              I recommend the mayhem...

              It's a double witching year at the Richard Lenoir market due to the Thursday before holiday factor. That said, Lorenzo's seafood stall usually opens on the day before Christmas and New Years Eve for mass raw bar insanity anyway. I have spent 40 euro on massive (but still sweet) coquilles St. Jacques at that place before, but I buy my oysters from one of the smaller vendors. I get my fois gras at Monoprix, but I might have to upgrade this year to one of the places on Rue de Rivoli.

              Gotta see what sauterne is left in the cave...

              1. re: glutton
                Parigi Nov 24, 2009 04:30 AM

                Besides the usual suspects, I love the rue Lepic market and my own neighborhood market - rue des Martyrs, for the food quality and variety and also for the v&v - view and vibes.

                The smaller weekly markets are less overwhelming. The quality and freshness are just as good if not better.
                In these weekly markets, as the same vendors go from one of those itinerant markets to another depending on the day of the week, you can just pick one if you just want the experience.
                My faves:
                - (near Les Halles) SAINT-EUSTACHE: Rue Montmartre, between rue Rambuteau and rue du Jour, Thurs., afternoon.; Sun., morning
                - (near Hotel de Ville) Place Baudoyer, Wed., afternoon.; Sat., morning
                - (5th) Place Maubert, Tues. & Thurs., morning.; Sat., morning.
                - (5th) Place-Monge, Wed. & Fri., morning.; Sun., morning.- Place d'Anvers, Fri., afternoon.

                1. re: Parigi
                  shekamoo Nov 24, 2009 07:30 AM

                  thank you for your list. is there anywhere one might find a comprehensive list of markets open between Dec.24 to Dec.31?

                  1. re: shekamoo
                    Dodo Nov 24, 2009 07:49 AM

                    You'll find a list with the food markets sorted by arrondissement here (incl. days and hours):

                    1. re: Dodo
                      shekamoo Nov 24, 2009 11:23 AM

                      thank you. is this list exhaustive? I ask because eg I found no mention of rue Cler

                      1. re: shekamoo
                        PhilD Nov 24, 2009 12:01 PM

                        That is because rue Cler isn't a market, it is a street where the shops also sell their stock from outside stalls.

                        On quite a few main shopping streets the shops will also sell their wares on stalls, but again these are not markets. Is this simply a semantic difference or is one better than another?

                        In some markets you get access to producers with really great produce, but equally, a lot of other stall-holders buy their produce wholesale in the same places as normal shops, so there is little difference. Some market stalls are cheaper than shops others are the same price. I tended to shop at both, choosing individual shops/stalls because they were good rather than a particular street or market.

                        1. re: PhilD
                          shekamoo Nov 24, 2009 12:06 PM

                          oh, ok, I thought Rue Cler would be considered an open air market.

                  2. re: Parigi
                    Gman Nov 25, 2009 12:08 PM

                    Marche Baudoyer just before Christmas last year was jolly and fun. Vegetable guy was giving out your choice of Vin Chaud or some kind of dark spice cake (darker than pain d'epices). Arriving in Paris on the 24th and determined to get there in time to hit the market for a delicious Christmas Eve feast. This will be our 5th Christmas in Paris in a row. By far I think Christmas Eve is the more difficult night, but with planning lots of options. Great time to be in France.

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