Christmas Lights and Holiday Displays in Paris: 2017 and 2018 Guide

When the City Bursts Into Cheer

Christmas in Paris is always festive and fun.
••• Christmas in Paris is always festive and fun. Joe Daniel Price/Moment/Getty Images

Each year, elegant holiday lights and decorations adorn over 130 streets in Paris, as well as department stores and historical sites-- ushering the city out of its November gloom. 

Christmas/holiday lights displays on the Champs Elysées

The majestic Avenue des Champs-Elysées is flooded with lights every winter, with light-drenched trees stretching all the way from the Place de l'Etoile and the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde.

This year, 200 trees lining the avenue will scintillate with lights, coupled with glimmering "shooting star" effects. Don't forget to visit the large Christmas market in the area while you're at it, to grab some mulled wine and find some original, authentic Parisian Christmas gifts. (Note: sadly, the market has been cancelled in 2017 due to a dispute between the vendor and the city of Paris.) 

  • Location: Avenue des Champs Elysées, metro Charles de Gaulle Etoile, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Champs-Elysées Clémenceau, or Concorde
  • When: The lights are scheduled to be switched on at 6:00 pm on November 22nd,  2017, with Lily Rose-Depp slated to preside over the festivities. The displays will be taken down on January 8th, 2018. The street is lit from 5:00 pm until 2:00 am each day, and all night long on December 31st, to bring in the new year in Paris.

Lights and Decor at Place Vendome and Surrounds

The elegant Place Vendome and surrounding streets are festively lit for the holiday season.

Stop for tea at the newly reopened Ritz to warm up, then go out and admire the gorgeous square.

  • Location: Place Vendome, Rue de la Paix, Rue de Castiglione, Rue Saint-Honoré, Rue du Faubourg St-Honore and Rue des Capucines (Metro: Opera, Tuileries or Concorde)
  • When: From November 21st, 2017 through January 10th, 2018.

    Christmas Lights on Avenue Montaigne

    Known for its luxury boutiques and high-fashion appeal, the prestigious Avenue Montaigne and its elegant houses are getting all gussied up for the holidays this year.

    • Location: Avenue Montaigne (Metro Champs-Elysees Clemenceau
    • When: From 17 November 2017 through late December 

    Lights and Holiday Window Displays at Paris Department Stores

    The classic Paris department stores district near the Opera Garnier is awash with lights and elaborate window decor and imaginative scenes every holiday season, starting in early to mid November and throughout the January sales season in Paris.

    • Location: Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and surrounding stores on Boulevard Haussmann, 9th arrondissement
    • When: Galeries Lafayette will unveil a giant tree constructed entirely of stuffed animals and balloons and  at 6:00 pm on November 8th under its art-deco cupola inside. This year, the theme is decidedly arctic, with polar-inspired motifs and snowy hues. Every day, visitors can enjoy a light and sound show around the tree display (12:00 noon, 3:00 pm, 4:30 pm and 6:00 pm). 
    • That same day, the Galeries will unveil its annual holiday windows displays, which this year center around an amusing and adorable family of model polar bears. The whimsical windows should prove a real treat for kids especially.  
    • Just down the block, Printemps department store will flip the switch on its lights and holiday window displays, around mid-November.
    • Metro: Havre-Caumartin
    • RER: Auber

    See More: Pictures of Holiday Lights and Window Displays at Paris Department Stores

    Bercy Village Lights and Decorations

    The outdoor shopping "village" near Paris's National Library District in the south of the city will be festively lit and decorated for the holidays from November 16th, 2017, and displays will remain until early January 2018. 

    Christmas Decor at Notre Dame Cathedral

    As if Notre Dame Cathedral weren't stunning enough on its own, each Christmas season the Gothic cathedral hosts an enormous, lavishly decorated tree on its main plaza. The decor generally appears in mid-November to early December.

    "Paris Illumine Paris": Hundreds of other streets light up

    From early December, the Paris City Hall will light some 125 streets around Paris for the holidays, with lights switched on from 5:00 pm each night until 2:00 am.

    Some streets illuminated last year included la rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais, Place des Abbesses in Montmartre, Avenue de Saint Ouen, Boulevard Saint-Germain, Rue de Rennes, Place de la Convention, Rue de Belleville, Place du Jourdain, Rue de Richelieu, Rue des Saints-Pères, or Rue de Grenelle. Check back here soon for a complete list, and in the meantime, visit this page (in French, but you can find out the street names by each Paris district (arrondissement) very easily, then locate them on your own map or smartphone.