If you're planning to visit Paris over the holidays, you may also be hoping to book a table for a memorable holiday meal with family, or with your sweetheart. If so, don't fret too much over restaurant closures and full bookings. While a majority of restaurants around Paris close their doors for Christmas Eve and day, there are a few good ones that remain open, offering lunch or dinner service on the 24th and 25th of December. Read our advice below on booking the right table to avoid disappointment and stress, then scroll down to see our picks for the best restaurants to try for this year.
Be Sure to Book Early
A word of caution: you should always try to book a holiday table ahead at least a month or two in advance, as spots fill up quickly in the few Parisian restaurants open for the festive occasion. The end of the year is prime tourist season in Paris, so you're likely to have a fair amount of competition.
Price Levels and Menu Options
We've categorized restaurants open on and around Christmas by price and level of prestige, listed in descending order from the most expensive to the more budget-friendly options.
The majority of our picks offer traditional French holiday fare such as oysters and shellfish, pates and foie gras, stuffed goose, and pheasant, but we've also included a few that remain open for the holiday season and specialize in other types of cuisine. These days, vegetarians and vegans shouldn't have too much trouble finding something good to eat in Paris; but you should always check with the restaurant in question to see whether they have options for non meat-eaters. Some places will simply have not adapted to growing demand for vegetarian menus.
A tip for those of you on a tighter budget: Many of these restaurants offer a la carte menu options for Christmas, as well as reasonable fixed- price menus. Make sure to check options ahead before reserving your table.
This is another Parisian palace hotel whose two onsite restaurants boast Michelin-star accolades, headed by award-winning French chef Eric Frechon. Christmas eve tasting menus are offered at both the 1-star 114 Faubourg restaurant (around $450 per person) and at the 3-Michelin star Epicure restaurant (around $930 per head).
See this page for more information on Christmas dining options this year. Again, make sure to reserve well in advance.
Le Pré Catalan
This celebrated French gourmet table (boasting three Michelin stars) is nestled within the leafy Bois de Boulogne park, and remains open over Christmas. Inspired menus from Chef Frédéric Anton are well-suited for festive and special occasions, and the Belle-Epoque dining room is romantic and old-world.
Le Train Bleu
This elegant brasserie is situated within the Gare de Lyon train station, offering the old-world glamour of the early rail era with its elaborately molded ceilings, frescoes, and romantic chandeliers. Christmas Eve tasting menus are available; in 2019 the price is around $160 per head. As with all of the restaurants on our list, make sure to reserve several weeks or months in advance.
Price: $$$ (Mid-range)
This well-known 1900-era brasserie offers classic French Christmas fare such as fresh shellfish platters, pate in pastry, smoked salmon and a bevy of festive desserts. Prices here are reasonable, which means that it's an incredibly popular place for a holiday meal. Book as early as possible, even several months in advance, for Christmas Eve and day for lunch or dinner.
Au Petit Marguery
This traditional French restaurant tucked away in the south of the city near the Gobelins metro stop offers special Christmas menus for around $100 per person. The price includes a before-dinner drink and wine. One specialty here is wild game. The restaurant is open for both Christmas Eve and day.
A humble but charming place for lunch or dinner, this restaurant not far from the Centre Georges Pompidou in the city center offers Alsatian-style French cuisine and special Christmas menus. This restaurant is open on both December 24th and 25th, so it can be a great option when you're having trouble booking a table elsewhere.
In the heart of the Invalides district in western Paris, this traditional restaurant established in the late 1920s serves up Christmas menus between roughly $55 to $100 per person, including a before-dinner drink (aperitif) and wine. It's known for its excellent shellfish and seafood, including whole Maine lobsters and other delicate dishes prepared with lobster.
Offering spectacular views of Paris from the rooftop vantage at the Centre Georges Pompidou, this restaurant is considered one of the more romantic spots for dining in the capital. Le Georges doesn't offer special Christmas menus, but can be an elegant option for the occasion, especially for a couple looking for a more intimate and romantic setting.
Another French seafood and shellfish specialist that's open both for Christmas eve and day, this restaurant in western Paris offers holiday lunch and dinner menus for roughly $60 to $100 per head. Drinks are included.
With its stunning 1900 dining room and noisy, devil-may-care conviviality, Chartier can be a good choice for a budget Christmas meal—as long as you don't expect frills and ribbons.
Try the whole seabass with carrots or potatoes on the side, and a nice lemon tartelette or mousse au chocolat for dessert.
Unfortunately, this restaurant does not accept reservations. If you want to have a good chance of snagging a table, we recommend that you arrive half an hour to an hour before you wish to eat, and wait in the queue outside.
Price: $-$$ (budget-friendly)
Au Paradis Tropical
Why not celebrate Christmas day Caribbean-style at this restaurant near Montmartre? While there are no specific Christmas menus on offer this year, you can assemble your own creative holiday meal with options such as fresh fish, Haitian-style chicken, Caribbean cocktails and much more. Prices are reasonable and the service is friendly at this restaurant in an off-the-beaten-path corner of the city.