Each year, elegant holiday lights adorn several neighborhoods, shopping districts and historical sites in Paris, ushering the city out of its November gloom. Before checking out our list of places to head for festive scenes this year, get a little inspiration by checking out our 2012 photo gallery to Christmas decorations in Paris.
- Christmas/holiday lights displays on the Champs Elysées
The majestic Avenue des Champs-Elysées is flooded with lights every winter, with light-drenched trees stretching all the way from the Place de l'Etoile and the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde. This year, 200 trees lining the avenue will scintillate with lights, glimmering even more magically thanks to 400 projectors situated alongside. Don't forget to visit the Christmas market in the area while you're at it, to grab some mulled wine and find some original Parisian Christmas gifts.
Location: Avenue des Champs Elysées, metro Charles de Gaulle Etoile, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Champs-Elysées Clémenceau, or Concorde
When: The "Champs" will be lit during a ceremony hosted by actress Diane Kruger at 6:30 pm on November 21st, 2012. The displays will be taken down on January 11th, 2013. The street is lit until 2:00 am each day.
- Lights and Decor at Place Vendome and Surrounds
The elegant Place Vendome and surrounding streets are festively lit for the holiday season. Stop for tea at the Ritz to warm up, then go out and admire the gorgeous square.
Location: Place Vendome, Rue de la Paix, Rue de Castiglione, Rue Saint-Honore and Rue des Capucines (Metro Opera, Tuileries or Concorde
When: November 21st, 2012 through January 15th, 2013.
- Christmas Lights on Avenue Montaigne
Known for its luxury boutiques, Avenue Montaigne is getting all gussied up for the holidays this year.
Location: Avenue Montaigne (Metro Champs-Elysees Clemenceau
When: From November 23rd, 2012 through January 10th, 2013.
- Christmas Light Displays at Paris Department Stores
The classic Paris department stores district near the Opera Garnier is awash with lights and elaborate window decorations every holiday season, starting in early to mid November and throughout the January sales season in Paris.
Location: Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and surrounding stores on Boulevard Haussmann, 9th arrondissement
When: Galeries Lafayette will unveil its giant 2012/2013 Christmas tree on November 6th under its art-deco cupola inside (with decorative design by crystal maker Swarovski); Printemps department store will flip the switch on its lights and holiday windows on November 9th.
More: Pictures of Holiday Lights and Window Displays at Paris Department Stores
- Bercy Village Lights and Decorations
The outdoor shopping "village" near Paris's National Library District in the south of the city will be festively lit and decorated for the holidays from November 19th, 2012, and displays will remain until January 6th, 2013.
- Christmas Decor at Notre Dame Cathedral
As if Notre Dame Cathedral weren't stunning enough on its own, each Christmas season the gothic cathedral hosts an enormous, lavishly decorated tree on its main plaza. The decor generally appears in mid-November to early December.
- "Paris Illumine Paris"
From December 1st, 2012, the Paris City Hall will light some 125 streets around Paris for the holidays, with lights switched on from 5:00 pm each night until 2:00 am. Some streets illuminated last year included la rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais, Place des Abbesses in Montmartre, Avenue de Saint Ouen, Boulevard Saint-Germain, Rue de Rennes, Place de la Convention, Rue de Belleville, Place du Jourdain, Rue de Richelieu, Rue des Saints-Pères, or Rue de Grenelle. Check back here soon for a complete list.