Christmas in Paris

Hôtel de Ville Plaza. ©Lisa Anselmo

For many of you, I imagine Christmas in Paris sounds like a dream. I guess that’s a matter of perspective. For me, it means I’ll be separated from family for the first time in my life.

A combination of logistics, timing and, quite frankly, a raging pandemic, all informed my decision not to travel to the States for Christmas this year. It didn’t seem worth the cost, hassle, and risk for what would amount to only a few weeks (and some of that spent in quarantine). What was the point?

“It’s just one year,” my sister texted me. True, by December 26th it will be over. It’s the anticipation of a Christmas alone that is difficult, but just like that, it will be just another day. I’m well aware that there are those much less fortunate—like immigrants awaiting visas or refugees from war-torn nations—who haven’t been able to see their families for years at a time, or may never again. For me, this year amounts to no more than an inconvenience. And I won’t whine about it.

An upside to my not being in New York this year means I get to experience the lead-up to the holidays here in Paris. And even with the notable lack of bustling café terraces (all closed due to Covid), Paris is still wonderfully festive. The French really love their Christmas and are understandably embracing it with even more fervor this year. For those of you who can’t be here, I bring you Paris at Christmastime.

Place Vendôme & Environs
Rue Castiglione looking toward Place Vendôme. I love these swags hanging across the streets and avenues all over the city. ©Lisa Anselmo
Louis Vuitton, Place Vendôme, Paris. ©Lisa Anselmo
Place Vendôme at Christmas. ©Lisa Anselmo
A glance at the elegant interiors of the 2nd-floor (étage noble) on Place Vendôme. ©Lisa Anselmo
Parvis de l’Hotel de Ville (City Hall Plaza)

The plaza of the Hôtel de Ville has been transformed into a winter wonderland or light and music with dozens of trees bedecked with ornaments and lights creating a festive woodland retreat, just steps from the Seine.

The Hotel de Ville lit up for the holidays. ©Lisa Anselmo
Lightshow on the facade of Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) mimics falling snow. ©Lisa Anselmo
The Hotel de Ville lit up for the holidays. ©Lisa Anselmo
Bazaar de l’Hôtel de Ville, on the corner of the plaza, has an Italian theme this year. ©Lisa Anselmo
Christmas, Evergreen

I can’t get enough of these beautiful florists, even more beautiful during this time of year.

This little florist in my neighborhood is simply bursting with holiday greenery. ©Lisa Anselmo
Can you smell the pine? Monceau Fleurs in the 11th. ©Lisa Anselmo
I can’t get enough of this chic little florist on Blvd. Haussmann. ©Lisa Anselmo
This is how they display their price list for Christmas trees. Didn’t I say “chic?” ©Lisa Anselmo
This is the winner! Champ Libre on Ave. Ledru Rollin has really outdone itself this year. ©Lisa Anselmo
Christmas in Paris is a Movable Feast

While cafés are closed during the holidays due to Covid, many are doing takeaway, and have created warm and inviting counters, or comptoirs, for to-go happiness.

Café in Les Halles selling vin chaud, or hot mulled wine. Yes, please! ©Lisa Anselmo
Can’t go in the bar? No problem. The bar will come out to you. Seen near Blvd. Haussmann. ©Lisa Anselmo
Les Blouses Blanches in the 12th. ©Lisa Anselmo

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday and New Year. XO Lisa

For daily holiday festive moments, follow me on Instagram and Facebook.

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12 responses to “Christmas in Paris

  1. I’ve spent Christmas in Paris and it’s as magical as every cliche possible…though I’m sure it’s really hard to be away from NYC and family/friends, je vous souhaite Joyeuses Fetes! NYC is second to the French capital in terms of sheer beauty this time of year, and I’m trying hard to soak it all in during these difficult times.
    Bonne Année, Lisa.

  2. Happy and peaceful Christmas to you 🌲
    Thank you for this lovely visit to Paris and have really appreciated your posts though this year..
    We will all have our solitary moments I am going to try not to look down but look up. !!!
    So cheers to you from Calgary Alberta 🍷 🇨🇦
    Pamela.

  3. Your posts have been an absolute delight to read throughout my nine months of shielding-a little bit of Paris which used to be so close thanks to Eurostar but now feels so far! I hope you get lots of fun zoom calls on Christmas Day and I wish you every happiness for 2021. X
    Ps those Christmas trees seem awfully expensive?!

  4. I’ve never been to Paris at Christmas, but I’ve spent many, many Christmases in New York. Even after we moved away, made it a point to get back because the city is just so magical.

    We even had to opportunity to bring the kid back one trip. She was 15 at the time and we stayed at The Plaza (not as posh as it sounds–hubs did business with the parent co. and we got a great deal on the room). I kept calling her Eloise.
    Saw the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City, hung out in Central Park, went to the movies on 42nd Street and while in the movies, it snowed! We walked up 5th to the Plaza in the most fantastic white wonderland imaginable. I’m a native and I don’t remember anything so magical.

    But it’s still not Paris. Helas!

    Joyeux Noel, Lisa!

  5. It’s my first Christmas away from my family too. I’m teaching in the Canary Islands, and I also thought the hassle of going back to the U.S. would be too much. I love that you were able to find Christmas spirit in Paris and appreciate the simple beauty of it all 🙂 It’s definitely a strange year for Christmas for everyone, and I feel lucky that I can experience what Christmas is like in a different part of the world, and I feel even more appreciative of all the people in my life here and back home.

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