jardin des plantes dinosaurs light show

Things to Do for Christmas with Kids in Paris

Things to Do for Christmas with Kids in Paris

Oh what fun it is to be in Paris during the holiday season! Dazzling Christmas lights brighten up the main avenues, while decorations deck the city’s restaurants and storefronts. Everywhere you turn, charming holiday villages pop up here and there, offering freshly roasted chestnuts, mulled wine and chocolat chaud to keep you warm, with lots of opportunities for unique Christmas shopping. If you and the children are taking a trip to Paris over the next month, here are some ideas for making it a fun and festive trip.

Christmas Decorations

A lovely family activity is to take a stroll down the Boulevard Haussman, just behind Opéra, and check out all the beautiful Christmas displays in the store windows. The Galeries Lafayette and Printemps both spend a lot of time and money on rivaling each other for the most creative displays. The giant Christmas tree and decorations inside the Galeries Lafayette are also not to be missed.

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In other areas in Paris, the BHV and Bon Marché also provide enchanting Christmas decorations that are well worth a visit, as is the Christmas wood, “planted” outside the Panthéon every year.

Christmas Markets

Until December 27th the Christmas Market will be in full swing at La Defense and many describe it as the largest and most beautiful Christmas market in Ile de France. There are 300 wooden chalets bursting with gift ideas, food, music, a decorations village and loads more. Santa is ready to receive the kids on Wednesdays 12pm to 5pm and Thursdays and Fridays 12pm to 3pm. The market is open from 11am until 8:30pm. On Saturdays, it opens at 10am.

In the heart of the city, discover a winter wonderland right in the Tuileries Garden. Christmas chalets will be offering hot, spiced wine, and hot chocolate, regional foods and products as well as plenty of original gift ideas. Ride the giant Ferris wheel for a spectacular view of the city of lights or treat the children to a holiday “guignol” marionette show. There’s even an ice rink to test your skating skills!

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When: Through January 6, 2019
Where: Tuileries Gardens at Place de la Concorde, Paris 75001

Illuminated Festival of Lights

For the first time ever, the Jardin des Plantes is aglow with thousands of sparkling lights. Come experience this night-time walk through impressive light structures. The circuit begins in Place Valhubert, alight with spectacular lanterns in the shape of creatures that went extinct 65 million years ago. Cross paths with a 30meter great white shark and enter the Ménagerie, the zoo of the Jardin des Plantes, transformed with gigantic glowing creatures.

This one of a kind light festival also features live shows about nature as well as workshops where children can create and decorate their own lantern. Buy your tickets ahead of time here, for deals and family rates and save time waiting in line.

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When: Through January 15, 2019 (closed December 24th)
Where: 2 Place Valhubert, Paris 75005 (Nearest Metro: Gare d’Austerlitz)

Charléty sur Neige

A unique visit for children is Charléty sur Neige, an entire winter park for children between 3-16. It’s the perfect place for children to have fun in the snow… in Paris! There’s a tobaggan run, a zip line, Christmas trees, workshops, snow garden, trampolines, climbing walls, and an ice skating rink. Plus, it’s free! Kids have all the fun.

When: December 24 – January 5, 11am – 6pm
Where: Stade de Charléty, 99 Boulevard Kellermann, Paris 75013

Ice Skating

Speaking of ice rinks, did you know that every year Paris sets up several public ice rinks all around the city? The most popular one is at the Hôtel de Ville, where skate rental costs 5 euro.

You can also experience ice-skating inside the Grand Palais, billed as the largest indoor ice-skating rink in the world.

When: December 16, 2018 – January 9, 2019, 11am – 8pm 
Where: Grand Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill, Paris 75008
Check times, dates and rates 

Disneyland Paris

Almost every child’s dream is to go to Disneyland Paris, especially at Christmas! The world-famous amusement park is less than 45 minutes from central Paris, which makes it ideal for a day trip. This year, there’s a Christmas parade, the characters from Frozen, Santa, and many more fun festivities for all the family!

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When: Through January 6, 2019
More information on Disneyland Paris at Christmas here.

We’d love to hear any ideas you have for celebrating Christmas in Paris with children.  Please share below in the comments section.

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