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There is no better way to brighten up your Christmas holiday than packing your bags and bringing the family to the City of Lights. This year, start new seasonal traditions and let Paris be your home for the holiday. During this special time of year, this iconic city transforms into an elegant wonderland of Yuletide fun for everyone, with parents and children in awe of the dazzling lights that illuminate the city’s streets. Just like Saint Nick, you’ll be checking your list twice making sure your family has seen all Paris has to offer at Christmas time.
By Gwyneth Donahue
Start your day by exploring the famous window displays that Paris is so known for. Every year locals and visitors alike count down the days for the grand reveal of Vitrines du Noël des Grands Magasins, the beautifully intricate window displays of the city’s major department stores. Whether you want to shop or simply gaze at the brilliant window display, Grands Magasins offers something for everyone. The kids will think they are in Santa’s workshop. The window’s animated skits of whimsical fairy themed decor will charm children and adults alike. Artisans have carefully crafted these displays and each year tries to outdo the last. If the window displays don’t lure you in, the stores will! After window-shopping (or just regular shopping), grab the family’s skates and head to the city’s most celebrated monument.
At Christmas time even the Eiffel Tower shines brighter with holiday cheer. A seasonal favourite is the Christmas village on the Champ de Mars, where the whole family can ice skate below the Eiffel Tower. After a few loops around the rink while admiring the stunning view, go to the Christmas Village, which offers specialised crafts and Christmas decorations you can bring home to have a memory of your trip.
If skating isn’t your thing, surprise the kids with the ultimate holiday present – tickets to Disney’s Enchanted Christmas at Disneyland Paris. From 10 November 2018 to 6 of January 2019, this kid-friendly park will be a little extra magical with the holiday parade or a meet-and-greet with the characters. Go for the day or spend the night, just be sure to make reservations in advance.
After a day of outdoor family fun, warm up with holiday treats that even your pickiest eater won’t be able to resist. Satisfy your sweet tooth with the city’s mouth-watering chocolate and don’t leave the city before taste testing the popular Bûche de Noël (Yule log); this decadent masterpiece has become a staple in Parisian bakeries during this time of year. For a real holiday splurge, have afternoon tea at the Hôtel de Crillon and enjoy indulgent holiday delights made by Head Pastry Chef Pablo Gicquel. For the kids, hot chocolate is perfect sweet to keep them both warm and happy. A favourite is the Maison de Chocolat, which has been known to give out rich hot chocolate samples to visitors in line. Once everyone has had their afternoon treat, the sun may be going down but starting at 5pm lights are shining bright.
For a light show like no other, look no further than Champs Élysées where every year families are mesmerised by over a million blue and white lights hung on street trees along Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe. In addition to the lights, Champs Élysées also has Christmas decorations that will have you singing along to your favourite holiday tune. Another nighttime activity is to explore the city’s festive Christmas markets – pick from a variety of markets offering light spectacles, top-notch decorations, mulled wine and of course the sweet aroma of holiday delicacies. With so many to choose from, hit all the Christmas markets and your family can pick their favourite. One more suggestion to add to your Paris to do list is ride the Big Wheel. As long as the kids aren’t afraid of heights, they will love the scale of the ride and the incredible views from the top. Everyone can enjoy the Big Wheel during the day or at night when the lights are on. After a long day exploring this unique winter wonderland of a city, it’s time to rest up before dinner at the lovely Hôtel du Collectionneur.
A stay at the Hotel du Collectionneur is a holiday getaway for both parents and children. This five star hotel is any family’s holiday oasis for an unforgettable Christmas. With a grand view of Parc Moncaeu, the Hotel du Collectionneur is located in the heart of many high-end boutiques and galleries of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. Be sure to book your stay between 17 December 2018 and 13 January 2019 for luxurious suites and holiday surprises. The hotel also offers kid-friendly dining for lunch, dinner or teatime. The newly renovated restaurant offers an irresistibly kids menu for 26 euros that features delicious takes on kid-friendly classics such as the vegetable cream soup, pasta with cheese, grilled salmon fillet and many other tasty choices. When it’s time for a seasonal afternoon tea, the kids will swoon over tasty delicacies such as marble cake and madeleines complimented with rich hot chocolate. Treat the whole family to the hotel’s Winter Tea Time, available every day from 3pm to 5pm for 29 euros per person.
In a city known for its fine cuisine, there are boundless restaurants that guaranteed to make your family’s mouth water, ranging from the crème de la crème to more affordable choices. If you’re only in Paris once, a top recommendation is the Le Train Bleu, an upscale restaurant with a beautiful interior that makes diners feel as if they are stepping back in time. From fine paintings, to chandeliers to leather banquettes, Le Train Bleu makes any meal feel like a special occasion. This restaurant offers an upscale menu with tempting entrees ranging from the Foyot veal chop to the Ravioles de Romans in chicken broth. Also, unique to this restaurant, their regular menu offers a children’s menu (12 years or younger) for a flat price of 20 euros. To make your dining experience even more special, families can have their Christmas dinner at Le Train Bleu but be sure to make reservations in advance.
Get a good start to any day with our breakfast recommendation Café Antonia at Le Bristol hotel. While sitting in plush seats surrounded by frescoed walls and sparkling chandeliers, your family can enjoy a wide assortment of breakfast favourites for relatively reasonable prices. In addition to coffee and tea, guests can also enjoy specialty hot chocolate seasoned with holiday spices. For a memorable lunch, go to the 58 Tour Eiffel for a quick lunch served in a picnic basket, the kids will love this adorable and novel meal. To end your family’s holiday on a delicious note, make reservations at Qui Plume la Lune, for a lavish five-course meal complete with sweet indulgences (plus, a discounted menu is offered for those under 10-years-old!).
This year, make a Christmas holiday in Paris your family’s newest seasonal tradition. Assure the kids that Saint Nick won’t miss them in the city that shines the brightest during the holiday season. Make long lasting family memories ice-skating around the Eiffel Tower and taste testing every hot chocolate that Paris has to offer. With so many seasonal activities to do in Paris, the countdown to Christmas will be here before the kids know it. End 2018 with plenty of holiday cheer in one of Europe’s most celebrated cities. With so much to be merry about in Paris, your family’s Christmas holiday just got a seasonal upgrade.