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What's Open On Christmas and New Year's Day in Paris?

Sure, 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.

There's a French website that gives a list of museums open in Paris and Ile-de-France open on New Year's Day (open is ouvert, closed is fermé; 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, both ice rinks (from December 17th, at Hôtel de Ville, Eiffel Tower, and Charlety stadium), 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. 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.

For entertainment, there are many shows. All of the standard tourist favorites like the Opéra de Paris, Moulin 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 (pick up a Pariscope at any newsstand, they come out every Wednesday when new movies are out).

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

Note for 2014: 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).

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Reader Comments (8)

So where's the New Years Eve hotspot this year, Heather? I'm assuming Flute is doing something. What sounds like fun?

Great meeting you at the W.H. Smith signing, by the way. Love the book.
December 15, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDave Guilford
Hi Dave!
It's looking like the VIP Room Theatre is the cool party; €200 for the dinner (it's a NICE dinner) and €100 for just the club entry and drinks. Reserve before the 21st! I'll be posting more stuff by the end of the week.
December 16, 2008 | Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall
I'm going to be there for New Years but I'm not big into the club scene. What else will there be to do if there is no scheduled fireworks at the Eiffel Tower? Thanks. I love your blog!
December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley M
Hi Ashley, Pretty much every bar and restaurant will also be having special New Year's Eve parties, concerts, Champagne menus, etc. Or if you can stomach the cold, head out to the Champs Elysées with the masses at midnight.
December 17, 2010 | Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall
Thanks for getting back to me Heather! I've read that a lot of people head to the Champs Elysees. What goes on there? And what do I bring?
December 20, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAshley M
Ashley: First of all, bring as little as possible (ok, I'm bitter I had my phone stolen in 1999/2000 New Year's Eve), dress warm, have a backpack with some Champagne and extra heavy blanket to bundle up, and a cheap camera. Voila!
December 20, 2010 | Registered CommenterHeather Stimmler-Hall
Just an FYI for any of your readers who may be contemplating New Year's eve in Paris. I was there on a solo trip in 1995 (15 years ago, I know, but I imagine things haven't changed that much), and since I hadn't prearranged any activities, I wasn't sure what to do. I ended up having a lovely early dinner at a greek restaurant in the 5th (where the festive proprietor horrified a group of asian visitors by following tradition and smashing plates on the floor between the tables.....the look on their faces was worth the cost of the dinner!). I then went to see a play at a small theater, and afterwards found my way, somewhat by chance, to the Champs Elysee where a huge crowd had gathered to bring in the New Year. It was a wild event, with much kissing (not that much fun when you're on your own) and champagne corks (and a few bottles as well) flying all around! But it was afterwards, as I walked back to my hotel that I'll always remember, as the streets were filled with revelers in their cars honking and shouting "Bonne Annee" to any and everyone they met along the way.......... All in all an unforgettable experience.
December 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Mc.
You are absolutely and unfortunately right Heather !
Most of tourists could be ashamed to come to Paris and find most of Parisian places closed ... Christmas is a family event !
December 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPascale ParisVF

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