A little Christmas inspiration for the whole family

From the middle of November onwards, Paris becomes a glittering winter wonderland. No other town in the world dresses itself up quite like Paris for the festive season. The city really does dazzle at this time of year. It’s a time for wrapping up warm, strolling around the beautifully lit city and taking refuge from the chilly weather in cosy cafes. It’s a fantastic time to be busy with the family and there is so much activity to choose from. Lucky for you, MLP has the scoop on the very best family fun this Christmas in Paris.

1. The Ice-Skating

skating2

The ice rinks are back in Paris! Yay! It’s so much fun family fun! Discover all the pop-up ice rinks in the city and create some great memories during the holiday season. You can skate on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower or unleash your inner Torvill and Dean at the Christmas Village by the Champs Elysée. Either way, you’ll have a great time. Check out MLP’s top 8 rinks in the city.

2. The Christmas Markets

champs Elysée

The perfect way to get into the Christmas spirit in Paris is to explore the plethora of markets around the city. You can check out our selection of the top 10 here. Great for last-minute gifts and ‘yule’ (see what I did there?) enjoy a truly authentic French experience. Wonderful for the whole family.

3. Free Carousel rides

Never before has MLP seen a city that has a love affair with carousels quite like Paris. The city goes into overdrive with them over Christmas with many free for kids. Find them all over Paris from December 19 until January 3. 11am until 9pm. Fun, fun, fun for kids.

4. The Designer Market

Each year, the funkiest artists in town offer up their creations for sale over Christmas. Taking place in the trendy part of the city, Les Marches des Jeunes Créateurs will showcase their wares at La Bellevilloise 19-21 Rue Boyer
75020. You’ll find a mix of stuff from clothing to skateboards which we reckon will be worth checking out for a unique Christmas gift as well as discovering – if you haven’t already – this super cool district. December 10/11 Keep up to date with this event by checking the La Bellevilloise site before you go!

5. The Grand Palais Christmas Event.

Ice rinks in Paris

This is one of the most fabulous family events in Paris ! The Grand Palais will this year, be turned into a magical winter wonderland, with the largest skating rink in France at its centre. Although the ice rinks have been mentioned already , this one deserves a special mention. Check out all the details for this Grand Palais extravaganza. Book your tickts inadvance to avoid the queues.

6. Lego Workshops at Hotel de Ville

April in Paris

by PaperBoyo (Instagram)

Build Lego at the City Hall this Christmas in Paris, from December 2nd until December  30th, 2016. Children and adults are invited to rediscover Paris through famous sites built out of Lego, as well as getting the chance to recreate the city too. Hotel de Ville is always such a beautiful place to visit and this is a brilliant reason to take the kids.

Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, 75004 Paris

7. In memory of Rosa Parks

christmas in paris rosa-park

For 20 days during December you and your family can enjoy day upon day of free activities in the 19th district of Paris. Why? In celebration of the opening of the Rosa Parks Social and Vultural centre in the 19th district of Paris. You and the kids can participate in workshops and see many events from December 3 onwards without spending a dime. There will be photo sessions, cooking classes and so much more to get involved with. All details can be found on the Mairie 19 website. MLP loves that Paris has a space in honour of this remarkable and brave woman of colour

8. Les Musee des Art Forains

This is a special place near Bercy Village, packed from head to toe with a historic collection of Fairground rides and memorabilia that still works! It’s an enchanting space and perfectly located near restaurants and shops for a before and after splurge! Fun family friendly place to go this Christmas in Paris and the kids get a chance to play some extraordinary games.

fairground

Les Musee des Art Forains

You might want to check the fête of magical fun they’ve planned from December 26 onwards! Sources have revealed there might even be a leprechaun ready to take you on a journey on New Years  Eve. Go discover.

9. La Fête de la Saint Barbe.

Just letting you know that there is a massive ‘artillery’ style event on at the Musée de L’Armée from December 10 to 11. It’s totally free. There’ll be performances and a bit of pomp and ceremony, cannons going off and all sorts of ‘army’ style shenanigans. All info can be found on the Musée de L’Armee website.

10. City of Light

See the lights on the Champs Elysèes this Christmas in Paris,  to completely absorb yourself in the twinkling lights of a Parisian Noël. MLP suggests you take the opportunity to climb up the steps of the Arc du Triomphe and take in the glorious view from way up high. It’s an exhausting ascent but you are rewarded with the landscape on arrival! Or even better, take one of those late night bus tours around the city so you can see the whole of Paris by night.

11. Jardin d’Acclimatation

Every year there is a Christmas extravaganza at this huge play park for the kids, with theatre shows, ice rink and animals. However, having just had their new lease renewed they have not yet released explicit details of their plans. However, the zoo is open, the gardens are on display and there are a tonne of workshops from cooking to equestrian available for bookings and the fairground of course! Plus this wonderful ‘icons of modern art’ event in conjunction with The Fondation Louis Vuitton sounds amazing. There is no denying that fun is guaranteed for the kids here regardless of the time of year – the entire space is designed with them in mind. Check out the Jardin d’Acclimatation website for more info.

12. Christmas Theatre

Au Pays du Père Noël offers an interactive show for kids about the hard work of Santa and his elves. Upon arrival, the elves will lead you to discover the magical land, in a magical tour full of surprises, songs and laughter. The kids will discover what happens to their wishes too and how Santa Claus manages to bring all the gifts without waking a soul! On at the Théâtre des Mathurins, 36 rue des Mathurins 75008 PARIS, Wednesdays at 14:30 Saturdays at 13:30
Sundays at 11:00 to 14:30 and every day during school holidays. Until December 30.

13. The Living Horse Christmas Show

An equestrian version of Peau d’Ane aka Once upon a Time or The Magic Donkey is about to unleash itself in the city. This is a magical tale of a King in search of a wife and a Princess in need of escape. An acrobatic horse show delivering the drama of this story is coming to you live,  just north of Paris until January 2. Including 23 horses and ponies, this has got to be seen to be believed. Perfect for you equestrian lovers out there.  It’s at the Domain de Chantilly.

14. Swan Lake ballet

Nothing says Christmas like a family trip to the ballet and this year’s festive offering is Swan Lake at the Opera Bastille, choreographed by Rudolph Nureyev. It is over two-and-a-half hours long with one interval so this is one for families with older kids. From December 5- December 31st

15. Window-Licking!

Have you done it yet? Come on! This is the most brilliant French tradition. All the stores have their front window displays ready for your nose to be firmly pressed against it whilst you enjoy the wonderment on display. You gotta see them all! Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, Le Bon Marché and BHV! For hygienic reasons MLP suggests perhaps not taking this well known french term literally but by all means take it all in!

16. Versailles

Why not take a little jaunt to Versailles! There is an awesome ice skating rink there, flanked by chalets packed with sustenance and hot toddies to keep you going. It’s just outside the City Hall. You’ll also find a ‘Le Petit Prince’ exhibition and some fab Christmas workshops. All the information you need is on the tourist board website! Until January 3 – €5 under 8, €7 over 8

17. Here come the Clowns!

Take the children to the circus this Christmas in Paris! There are many shows around town but we have just been to Cirque d’Hiver and it was so much fun, truly entertaining.

christmas in paris

Cirque d’Hiver

MLP’s kids loved it. Cirque d’Hiver, 110 Rue Amelot, 75011 Paris, France

18. Disneyland

As brilliant as this place is, there’s no question that you have to be in the mood and ready, to take on this monolith of entertainment for kids. But what better time to do it! Might as well thrust the job of bringing Christmas to life into the hands of the people that do it best! In other Disney related news…

Disney on Ice is back – always a hit with younger children and this year it celebrates ‘One Hundred Years of Dreams”.  Nemo, Beauty and the Beast, the Lion King and Aladdin – they will all be there!  It’s a great festive treat and well worth popping out to the Zenith venue at Parc de la Villette for.  Tickets are available via FNAChttp://www.disneylandparis.fr

19. Christmas Oratorio

A classical music moment at the Philharmonie de Paris  might be a great way to get into the Christmas spirit. The event will pay homage to Bach by playing the complete works off his Christmas Oratorio. It is described as masterfully orchestrated and will be an exceptional show by all accounts. December 17 from 8:30pm until 10:30pm. Last tickets available.

20. Bercy Village

Christmas in Paris

This is such a cute place to wander with the kids. Not only packed with shops and eateries but the setting is draped in the theme of Christmas. Father Christmas is on hand for the kids, there’ll be snow, a magical atmosphere and plenty to keep the whole family occupied.Plus this wonderful Santa in odd places art expo!  Check out Bercy Village this weekend!

21. Noël au Zoo!

Not just animals this year, there’s also a section devoted to over 50 of the best games ever. Including table football specially designed for 22 players! Could be a great chance to while away a few hours and let’s not forget the ice rink here this year too. Parc ZoologiqueRoute de Ceinture du Lac Daumesnil, 75012 Paris

22. Theatre for kids

This tiny little theatre near the Pompidou in Paris has a wonderful selection of shows designed for children over the Christmas and New Year period.

Essaion Theatre

From 9 months old to young teens, there is a broad selection to choose from including The Christmas Train and Santas Workshop. There is bound to be something for you and your family that you can enjoy. Check out the listings. Essaïon Theatre – 6 Rue Pierre au Lard, 75004 Paris

23. Pompi

The Pompi always has something to engage the little bears over the holidays. The opportunity to design and create structures or transporting little people into another creative stratosphere is core to their offering. Discover their special family Christmas rhythm workshops and so many more for the under tens. All details can be found on their website. MLP has already booked a session for the kids.

24. The Big Wheel

The Big WheelMLP will NEVER do this! Why? Fear! But if you have the courage, take the kids on the Big Wheel at Concorde. Looks fabulous at night too and there seem to be some rumblings in the city about an attempt to take it down – not sure of the full story but enjoy it while you can!

25. Christmas Food Fair

When Paris hosts a Noel Gourmand salon, you know you are guaranteed something delicious.  This four-day food fair takes place December 16-19  the Carrousel du Louvre.  It’s foodie heaven and you can try the best chocolates, wines, cheeses and oils. Entry is 10 Euros, with a glass of wine to taste included.  Kids go free.

26. 42nd Street at the Chatelet Theatre

For families with slightly older kids, what could be better than a slice of Broadway right here in Paris for the festive season?  The classic musical 42nd Street has been produced in English for the Theatre du Chatelet.  Top show tunes such as ‘We’re in the Money’ and ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ plus the chance to enjoy the Chatelet Theatre one last time before it closes for renovation works.

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Christmas in Paris

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27. Oliver Twist

We’re intrigued to see the French take on this Dickensian classic.  Yes, this show is in French but we’re told English subtitles will mean older kids can enjoy this ambitious show.  There is talk that the French production will transfer to Broadway afterwards, so enjoy it while you can here in Paris. To see it with English subtitles buy your tickets through Theatre in Paris. MLP is all booked and ready to go

28. Cirque du Soleil

Varekai is the latest offering from the awe-inspiring Cirque du Soleil.  From December 7-9, the magical show set it a forest atop a volcano will be at the Accor venue at Bercy in Paris.  The show has been enjoying rave reviews elsewhere in the world and the photos are simply stunning.  Artistic heights and death-defying acrobatics, this should captivate the whole family.  Be quick though, as the last tickets will sell out quickly.

29. New Years Eve at the Eiffel Tower

Yes! The Eiffel Tower is going all glitz and glamour this year with a phenomenal light show by all accounts. Gone are the days of the firework shows it once became renowned for  – but in its place, an orchestrated ensemble of lights should help see in 2017.  Alternatively, you and the family could head to Montmartre for a late night moment overlooking the city with picnic hamper in hand  – ahhhhhh pourquoi pas! More ideas for News Years Eve coming soon.

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30. Parade on the Champs Elysées

The annual New Years Day parade is back. On January 1st 2017 from 10am there will be a full on procession sashaying its way along the Champs Elysées to welcome in the New Year and kiss goodbye to 2016. Expect all the usual bells and whistles people, this is Paris after all, so it will be memorable, to say the least! Think carnival floats and brass bands…

So there you have it! Oh! Before you go please leave a Christmas message for MLP in the comments section!

Thank you Jennifer Hamerman for your contribution to this post! For more inspiration, you might want to check out our Christmas Markets in Paris and Paris Ice Rinks posts too (note the Hotel de Ville ice-rink is NOT on this year). There is also our top ten cafés in Paris post which is a must read for the winter. So much more too, so please stay and have a look around the site. Subscribe to MLP and enjoy our daily tips on our Facebook page. Follow MLP on Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter too.

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Bon Noël

Have a fabulous Christmas in Paris or wherever you are in the world.

Enjoy every moment.

Love MLP x

Thank you for your support and if you fancy contributing by writing, taking photos or anything else then please get in touch, MLP would love you on board. Email: mama@mamalovesparis.com