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What's Open in Paris on Christmas and New Year's Day 

Most of the small shops and restaurants are closed, as well as a majority of museums. But you might be surprised to discover that there's actually a lot of things still open on Christmas and New Year's Day in Paris.

The Paris Office of Tourism gives a list of museums and monuments  open in Paris and Ile-de-France open on Christmas Day and New Year's Day (noteworthy openings are the Musée d'OrsayCentre Pompidou and the Musée Jacquemart André).

The Christmas markets are not open on Christmas Day and most close before the 31st, but you can visit the "Grande Roue" Ferris Wheel (Place de la Concorde, daily 11am-midnight, €10), the ice skating rinks at the Eiffel Tower, Charlety stadium, and Grand Palais), the free merry-go-rounds,  the Eiffel Tower, and Parisian cemeteries (Père Lachaise, Montparnasse, Montmartre, Passy, etc.).

Most shops and showrooms on the Champs-Elysées are open, but may close a bit earlier than usual. Shops and cafés in the Marais' Jewish district, mostly around the Rue des Rosiers, should be open as usual on Christmas Day (Hanukah is not a major holiday for the Jewish community in Paris).

The larger brasseries (such as those run by the Brasseries Flo and Frères Blanc) and restaurants remain open for Christmas. For the smaller ones, you simply need to to call and find out, since some are open and some aren't (in many cases they are either open for the 24th or the 25th, but not both). A lot of restaurants have special New Year's Eve menus so they may not be open on January 1st. Generally speaking, there will be more cafés and bistros open in the eastern districts of Paris because of the multi-cultural population (Chinatown in the 13th and Belleville, for example), and less in the business districts and more upscale 8th and 16th arrondissements. In any case, you won't starve! But if you're looking for something "special" then defintiely plan and call ahead. 

One useful resource for dining is Paris by Mouth, which updates their guide each year, and I also updated a list of restaurants open for the holidays (particularly the week between Christmas and New Year's) here

For entertainment, there are many shows. All of the standard tourist favorites like the Opéra de ParisMoulin Rouge and Lapin Agile are open, but if you can read a bit of French you can look on a great discount ticketing website Ticketac.com for discounts on French shows including circuses, theatre, cabaret and dance. 

Movie theatres are all open over the holidays. You'll find the English-language films ("VO") without French dubbing ("VF") at the cinemas along the Champs-Elysées and at the Forum des Halles, and all of the MK2 cinemas around Paris. With the smaller cinemas you'll have to check with each film to see what version they're showing.

Don't forget to check out the Secrets of Paris Calendar to see other events going on during the holidays.

Note for 2016: there are no fireworks planned at the Eiffel Tower for the 31st. There is, however, a light show at the Arc de Triomphe (Champs Elysées closed from 11pm) and a parade there on New Year's Day at 2pm (stret closed to traffic 1pm-6pm). Be aware that there is hogh security for all events, with crowds filtered through barricades with police checks. Be prepared to stand in line and walk out of your way if certain metro stations are closed for the event. 

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Reader Comments (2)

I was in Paris for New Years Eve in 1988. It was the most memorable New Years of my 63 years. Attended a live concert in Notre Dame on New Year's Day but not much else was going on. Great suggestions here. Wish I could be there!
December 21, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterCindy
My wife and I were in Paris for most of the fall of 2012 when I was performing at The Chatelet in West Side Story (I played Doc). The company had a party New Years Eve after the show, which we didn't attend. Instead we shared a bottle of good wine back at the hotel on Boulevard St Jacques. About 11:45 pm we came down to the lobby and finished our wine on a small wooden bench outside the front door of the hotel. A couple of musicians from the show, who were from Lithuania, came by and refilled our glasses with whatever it was that they were drinking. We didn't know what to expect at midnight. The street and entire neighborhood was so quiet, and it was pretty warm that night. All of sudden three or four teenage girls came stumbling down the sidewalk, exuberant with champagne joy and then it was 2013, hugs and kisses and Bonne annee"s all around. A New Years eve for the ages.
December 31, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Gioco

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