Where to See Paris Christmas Lights:
Visitors to Paris at Christmas are in for a treat. Towards the end of November, Paris turns on its Christmas magic with thousands of Christmas fairy lights, showing that it is truly the “City of Light”. And, there are some interesting lighting concepts to enjoy as well.
Paris Christmas Lights
Where: Avenue des Champs-Elysées
Dates: From Nov 21, 2013 to Jan 8, 2014
Getting there: Metro: Charles de Gaulle Etoile | RER: Charles de Gaulle Etoile
The Christmas illuminations on the Champs-Elysées is famous around the world and it is worthwhile stopping in Paris just to see the world’s most beautiful avenue at its Christmas best. Each year the Christmas Illuminations committee tries to outdo its previous year’s record. For Christmas 2013, the 200 plane trees along the Champs-Elysées are decorated with light rings and sparkling Christmas lights. Actress and model Laetitia Casta will launch the Champs-Elysées Christmas illuminations at a ceremony which will take place on November 21 at 18:00.
Where: Avenue Montaigne
Dates: From Nov 20, 2013 to Jan 10, 2014 (tbc)
Getting there: Metro: Alma Marceau | RER: Pont de l’Alma
Thousands come to Avenue Montaigne at Christmas to kiss under a mistletoe. Avenue Montaigne and its surrounds are decked out in Christmas lights and a series of luminous balls decorated with mistletoe. This is a beautiful place to come for a romantic stroll.
Where: Place Vendôme
Dates: Nov 20, 2013 to Jan 14, 2014
Getting there: Metro: Place Vendôme
Place Vendôme, rue de la Paix, rue de Castiglione, rue Saint-Honoré and rue des Capucines are some of the outstanding streets and squares in Paris’ 1er arrondissement. The Christmas lights in this area adds to the prestigious character of the district.
Where: Forum des Halles
Dates: Nov 20, 2013 to Jan 7, 2014 (tbc)
Getting there: Metro: Les Halles | RER: Châtelet Les Halles
Head for the Forum des Halles to do some Christmas shopping and while you are there you can also enjoy its Christmas lights. It’s worthwhile coming here to see how digital art is used to create the Christmas effects in the area. Miguel Chevalier, an avant-gardist in digital art, has created a virtual reality work featuring snowflakes which turn, open out, and change shape on contact with the public. This leads me to think that perhaps it can be done indoors so people like me who don’t like the cold can experience snow without the cold!
Where: Montmartre – Upper district
Dates: Dec 6, 2013 to Jan 5, 2014
Getting there: Metro: Anvers (Line 2), Abbesses (Line 12)
Enjoy the 122-step climb to the top of Montmartre (or easier still, catch the funicular) and you’ll come face to face with the Sacré-Cœur Basilica and the most beautiful panoramic views of Paris. The unique and artistic village of Montmartre is very popular all through the year and with its Christmas lights, it will be a magical experience.
Where: Bercy Village
Dates: Nov 20, 2013 to early Jan 2014
Getting there: Metro: Cour Saint-Emilion | Bus: 24, 64, 109, 111
Bercy’s paved streets, which date back to the Middle Ages, are decorated with a fascinating lighting concept. Neon tubes mounted on aluminum structures create a ceiling of stars and snowflakes so that a star-spangled sky illuminates Bercy Village.
Other locations to see Paris’s Christmas illuminations include: Viaduc des Arts and rue Saint-Honore.
Paris Department Stores
As in Oxford Street in London, the large department stores in Paris like Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and BHV have now made it a tradition to light up their buildings at Christmas time. Store windows aren’t just full of tempting goods to buy – they have become works of art which the public love and enjoy.
Paris Christmas Lights Tour
If you don’t have the time to explore Paris’ Christmas Illuminations on your own, you can always join a Paris Christmas Lights Tour and enjoy the Christmas sights of Paris on an open-top, double-decker bus.
The Champs-Elysées is the most beautiful avenue in Paris, especially so at Christmas time. If you want to be able to step out of your hotel and right onto the Champs-Elysées, then the Paris Marriott Hotel Champs-Elysées is the hotel for you. Otherwise, there are plenty of hotels, just off this famous boulevard that would be just as convenient to the Champs-Elysees. See here for the list of Champs-Elysees hotels.If you think of anything I left out of this post, please feel free to put that on the comment.