Last Updated on 16th December 2020 by Sophie Nadeau
Many say that it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and if you’re a huge fan of illuminations and festive decorations, then Christmas in Paris is simply magical. From sparkling covered galleries to above the road light displays, there’s no shortage of pretty ornaments scattered across the city. Here’s your guide to some of the most beautiful Christmas trees in Paris (and where to find them)!
Galeries Lafayette Christmas Tree
At Christmastime, the ‘Grands Magasins’ (Galeries Lafayette, Printemps and BHV to name but a few) have been decorating their storefronts in time for the festive season for well over fifty years. The tradition of the Galeries Lafayette Christmas tree dates back over a decade.
Hands down, if you’re only able to see one Christmas tree in Paris, you should make it the annual Galeries Lafayette Christmas Tree, which is hosted in the Cupola flagship store of the brand. The tree changes on an annual basis and often is presented to the public with accompanying light displays and beautifully laid out festive windows.
How to visit the Galeries Lafayette tree
The department store is free to visit and is open every day of the week (Monday – Saturday 10 AM – 8 PM, Sunday 11 AM – 8 PM). While there, be sure to head up to the wonderful Galeries Lafayette rooftop terrace for one of the best free panoramic views of Paris. The department store can get pretty busy, so I recommend visiting earlier in the day and during the week if possible.
Châtelet Les Halles (Westfield Forum Les Halles) Christmas Tree
Though many would say that one of the ugliest buildings in Paris is the Les Halles shopping complex (and, to be honest, they would be completely right in saying so!), Les Halles offers one of the most beautiful trees in the entirety of the city.
Situated under the winged canopy of the mall, the tree spans the rather impressive height of three floors, meaning that it’s a staggering 20 metres tall. In 2020, a large cutout of a bear has been added to the base of the lights and bauble covered tree, perhaps a nod to the socially distanced bears seen all across Paris over the past year.
How to visit the Westfield Forum Les Halles Christmas Tree
Before you go, you should note that there is usually an off the beaten path Christmas Market at Les Halles, though this was cancelled for 2020. Since the tree is in the open air, it can be seen at all times of the day and night, though I recommend going just after dark to see the glittering lights in their full glory.
Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche Christmas Trees
Galeries Lafayette is not the only Parisian department store to boast a spectacular Christmas Tree come the festive season. The oldest department store in Paris is not to be found on the left-bank of the city like all the other Grands Magasins (BHV, Printemps, Galeries Lafayette and once-upon-a-time Samaritaine).
Instead, Le Bon Marché was founded by a husband wife duo Aristide and Marguerite Boucicaut in 1838. Set across several levels and largely open plan, each Christmas the store is decked out in beautiful Christmas trees which are well worth heading the store to admire.
How to visit Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche Christmas Trees
Wander in during opening hours (Sunday 11 AM–7:45 PM, Monday – Friday 10 AM–8:45 PM) and you can expect to find a forest of ‘sapins’ (fir trees) suspended from the ceiling, surrounding the staircase, and glittering with tens of thousands of twinkling lights.
On the second floor, there’s also a Christmas shop featuring all kinds of baubles and ornaments. Much like Galeries Lafayette, it’s best to visit earlier in the day and midweek if possible, so as to avoid the crowds.
Nearby, you can discover the delights of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, one of the most exclusive addresses in town and where you’ll find the likes of Café de Flore and plenty of upscale independent stores.
Place du Panthéon Christmas Trees
Once upon a time, the Paris Panthéon was constructed to serve as the final resting place for Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. Following the French Revolution, the grandiose building was transformed into a secular mausoleum and can still be visited to this day.
During the month of December, on an annual basis, Christmas trees are set up directly in front of the main entrance to the Parisian monument, making this one of the most magical places to visit during Christmas in Paris.