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Oct 8, 2009 03:31 PM

Paris at Christmas: Worth the trip?

My husband and I spent a (too short) week in Paris in September and are dying to go back as soon as possible (not enough time for all the art, food, shopping, chocolate and wine we wanted to cram in).

Because of our work schedules, December may be the only time we can go. We've heard that Paris at Christmastime is wonderful (skating rinks, store decorations, chocolat chaud, etc.) and are wondering if it's worth braving the cold to experience Paris around Noël. A question for our Parisians (Souphie!) and expats (John Talbott!), or anyone who's visited around the holidays, should we come, or is the weather too oppressive to have a good time? And are shops and restaurants on abbreviated holiday schedules, or is everything typically open? We want to just eat, visit hotels, shop, and fill up on our share of coq au vin, boeuf bourguinonne, and other hearty fall fare, perhaps with less competition from other *touristes Americanes*. Thank you in advance!

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  1. Oh, and delucacheesemonger as well! Look forward to your thoughts.

    1. Been here twice for Xmas, was great; Many restaurants are closed for Christmas as well as Christmas eve, but there is so much going on with concerts in churches and Christmas fairs everywhere , it is a great time to be here, but then again when is it not? ok August. Both times the weather was fine, but some years back there was a 'northeaster' on New Year's Eve that leveled the gardens at Versailles so weather can play a part, but l oved that time of year here. Many stores are open longer hours befroe but closed a lot more after, January are is the store sale month as well;

      1. I go every year for 2 or 3 weeks at Christmas / New Year. It can get cold some days but usually not oppressively cold, that seems to come in Jan / Feb for some reason even though Paris is about 48 degrees N latitude.

        Some restros do choose to close for the holidays but there are PLENTY that remain open. You will have no problem at all finding great places to eat at all price points that are open. Shops and stores are absolutely open. Traiteurs especially seem to offer exceptionally nice holiday foods for take away in case you want to have a stay at home dinner in your apartment (I gave up on hotels a long time ago when visitng Paris).

        1 Reply
        1. re: f2dat06

          Chowhound has a very narrow mission--where to find deliciousness. General travel planning questions, like where to stay or what else to do while visiting a town, are off topic for our boards. Please keep your replies focused on helping the poster find great chow, as off topic replies will continue to be removed.

          Thank you.

        2. Go! It is chilly but soo cheery in December. To atone for the restaurant closures, don't miss the fabulous food at the Christmas market at La defense.

          1 Reply
          1. re: jamiei

            Jamiei, What do you like about the food at the Christmas market at La defense?

          2. It is really worthwhile. Paris is wonderful at Christmas. My advice is to spend a week before Christmas there and thus be part of the build up with all the hustle and bustle of people shopping and the food shops groaning under the weight of festive treats.

            It may even be better to head out before New Year as Paris on NYE isn't that great and the period between Christmas and New Year is when a of of locals head out of the city. Catch the train south and you may get some sun, or up to the Alps for some very classy ski resorts.