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 2018 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, 2018, with fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld slated to flip the switch this year. The displays will be taken down on January 9th, 2019. 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 22nd, 2018 through January 10th, 2019.
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 mid-November 2018 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 unveiled a giant tree bedecked with shiny green, blue and red baubles and sponsored by the jeweler Piaget on November 8th under its art-deco cupola inside.
- That same day, the Galeries unveiled its annual holiday windows displays, which are themed this year aroundSanta and his workshop at the North Pole. Inspired, fantasy-filled figures and brighty colored packages light up the windows. The whimsical windows should prove a 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. In 2018, the Bon Marché department store further south (Metro: Sevres-Babylone) and the BHV department store in the city center (Metro: Hotel de Ville) are also unveiling festive window displays, all worth beelining to.
- Metro: Havre-Caumartin
- RER: Auber
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 15th, 2018, and displays will remain until January 20th, 2019.
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 mid-November to early December, the Paris City Hall will brilliantly 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.