Christmas and New Year's in Paris

Old Nov 7th, 2005, 03:58 PM
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Christmas and New Year's in Paris

I'm taking a two-week trip to Paris over the holidays. It will be my first time to Paris. Any tips on holiday highlights--the best place to go for Christmas spirit, general warmth, a brisk light-filled walk, etc.

Thanks.
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Old Nov 7th, 2005, 06:47 PM
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No matter your religion, do not miss Christmas Eve Mass at Notre Dame. We've done the earlier mass (7 or 8 PM as I recall) twice and it's quite a moving experience to approach the spotlit cathedral from across the square, church bells toling. The organ during the recessional is just unbelievably fantastic. It is certainly one of our more moving Paris experiences.

Brisk light-filled walk...the lit Champs Elysees from Place de la Concorde to Arc de Triomphe...at night.

Ice skating at the rink in front of Hotel de Ville--skate or just watch. It is so beautiful, especially at night.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 10:38 AM
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You should consider making your restaurant reservations now. A number of restaurants will be closed over the holidays, some not reopening until the first week of January. Itís also fairly quiet on both Christmas day and New Yearís Day, but if the weather holds, people will be out enjoying the city. Depending on where you are staying in Paris, you may be surprised at how quiet it can be at night, after dinner, even in the Latin Quarter.

If you plan on visiting any of the museums, then buy a museum pass. This is the time of the year when Parisians flock to the museums and the lines can be almost as long as in the middle of the summer when the city is filled with tourist.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 10:49 AM
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The Pompidou is open Christmas day--and it was packed when we went! Great fun.

On Christmas, we got up late, wandered over to the Place des Vosges, people-watched for quite a while, did a little shopping and wandering in the Marais, then hit the museum. Our mother decided to go the Museum of Jewish History (I think that's it). We all met up later and then I "cooked."

Christmas Eve my sister and I did our food shopping at the Marche de Aligre. We had Christmas Eve dinner at L'Avant Gout. Delicious, low-key. Went to mass at...the church on Ile Saint Louis where our apartment was--Notre Dame was too full.

I'd spend Christmas in Paris in a heartbeat.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 11:06 AM
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OO is right about the mass at ND. Go to the earlier childrens mass. The mass starts at 7:00pm. The later masses get very full and you usually have to wait in line. Be sure to hit any of the markets (Le Halles etc.) before christmas day. They all close christmas eve. You won't have any trouble finding places to eat. Just walking around and people watching does it for me.
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Old Nov 8th, 2005, 12:00 PM
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How about shopping? Anything open on Christmas day? Galleries Lafayette or shops on Champs Elysses? Also, wondering if museums will be opened on Christmas Day.
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