What’s open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in Paris?

What's open on Christmas Day and New Year's Day in Paris? (image)

People often ask me what’s open on Christmas Day

When I lived in Paris I spent my Christmas and New Year with friends, and didn’t normally go out to restaurants. The gathering of friends in someone’s home was always such a special occasion, and we always had lots of fun and laughter. I’ll be talking to my friends and some locals to get their ideas on what’s open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in Paris, and will post their tips here.

Christmas Day translates to Jour de Noel

New Year’s Day translates to Jour du Nouvel An

At this time of year, Paris is in mid-winter, so if you’re heading out you need to wear your winter woollies, overcoat and remember your hat and scarf – you’re going to need it :-)

One Christmassy thing which I’d never experienced before but soon came to love at this time of year was the roasting chestnuts – street vendors selling these delicious morsels to passers-by from their brazier-style stove-on-wheels – if you see one, pop over and say “Bonjour!” and buy and try them yourself if you’ve never had them before.

A few quick restaurant tips for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day in Paris:

  • some restaurants are open on Christmas Day, others are open one or both of these days, but it’s impossible to list all of them here
  • try to book a month in advance, to make sure you’re organised well in advance, and won’t miss out
  • the French celebrate with their traditional meal on Christmas Eve night (not Christmas Day), so look for restaurants for the night before if you want all the trimmings
  • on both days, you should be able to find bistros, brasseries, restaurants and maybe a cafe or two open
  • on Christmas Eve, it’s possibly that many smaller places will close as early as 7pm
  • if you do plan on going to a restaurant on Christmas Eve night, check to make sure what the meal options are – you may find that there is a special dinner – (New Year’s Eve dinner is called Reveillon) – and it may be rather more expensive than you bargained for – better to know in advance!
  • for those on a budget, if you haven’t booked in advance, check the Menu BEFORE sitting down to make sure you can afford it

What else is open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day?

  • some small grocery shops may be open, especially those close to hotels or tourist areas
  • souvenir shops in tourist areas – definitely Place du Tertre, Montmartre, Rue de Rivoli, Pigalle (red light district)
  • there are actually quite a lot of things open on both these days – if you’re looking for museums to visit, check out this website which has an extensive list >>

What’s not open

  • the stores on the Champs Elysees
  • department stores
  • many museums – check first!

Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you find what’s open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day and enjoy yourself!   Happy Holidays, and I wish you all the best for a a fantastic New Year in the City of Love and Light!