Paris, December 2021
Why to love Paris in December
What to do for Christmas in Paris
Restaurants Open on Christmas & New Year’s in Paris
Like August, Christmas and New Year’s Eve can be tricky times for finding restaurants that are open in Paris. Luckily, there are a select few that will be open on Christmas Eve (when the French typically celebrate), Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. Some may have special menus, while others will stick with their usual. Here are some options:
What better way to celebrate Christmas or New Year’s Eve than on the top of the Eiffel Tower? But if you want to dine at this one Michelin star restaurant, Jules Verne, you better make your reservation quickly before they book up. They have a special Christmas Eve dinner menu, Christmas Day lunch menu, and New Year’s Eve dinner menu.
What used to be called Le Coq Rico is now Le Coq & Fils, the popular chicken restaurant across the road from the Moulin de la Galette in Montmartre. Special menu items for the holidays include a chapon gaulois (capon), pintade nubienne (guinea fowl), meatloaf, and a tarte de volaille à la truffe.
Martin is a buzzing all-day restaurant in the Canal Saint-Martin neighborhood. Their menus are committed to seasonal cuisine and the best local produce, featuring 100% French dishes with various veggie and vegan options, and spicy cocktails. They have a five-course Christmas Eve menu for 70€ as well as a five-course New Year’s Eve menu for 90€.
Like Les Deux Magots, which is also open on Christmas Eve, La Closerie des Lilas was a popular haunt for famous writers and artists such as Verlaine, Hemingway, Picasso, and Gide. There is a restaurant, and a more affordable brasserie. Try the filet Hemingway or feast on one of their seafood platters. Left: La Closerie des Lilas. Right: Le Coq & FilsBrasserie Thoumieux This former Bouillon Chartier was bought in 1923 by Martial Thoumieux, who made it one of the must-visit addresses of the left bank. During summer this year, this traditional Parisian brasserie in the heart of the quartier des Invalides was revamped, complete with red velvet bench seats and green lamps.
If you feel like something other than French food, Les Délices d’Aphrodite is a tavern in the Latin Quarter serving up traditional Greek cuisine by the Mavrommatis brothers. There will be tzatziki, hummus, and Greek salad bien sûr, but also spanakopita, moussaka, souvlaki, and some baklava for dessert. Emblematic Parisian brasserie Bofinger claims to serve up the best choucroute in the city. In addition to this winter favorite, other Alsatian specialities include flammenkueche, kougloff façon pain perdu (French toast-style kouglof) and forêt noire (Black Forest cake). You can also get seafood platters, and my personal favorite, soufflé au Grand Marnier. Located in a 17th-century private mansion in the Marais, Dessance is a gastronomic restaurant offering modern healthy food with seasonal vegetables, fruits and herbs, and drink pairings. They have an Irrésistible Végétarien menu and a Hédoniste Terre & Mer menu for Christmas. Not open on New Year’s Eve.
The Best Bûches de Noël in Paris
If you’ve been in France during the Christmas period, you might have noticed that every pâtisserie has a selection of cakes that look like a big piece of wood. The bûche de Noël (the Christmas log) is a typically French dessert, only really eaten during the holidays. The tradition is very old and is shared by most francophone countries. Before Christianity, people used to burn a log for days—starting on the 24th of December until the end of the year—as an offering to the gods, in the hope of having a good harvest the following year.
Now the tradition has changed, but the log continues to be part of French Christmas traditions. The good news is that, nowadays, the log is made of delicious cake, and it doesn’t always look like a log.
In Paris, chefs take the making of the bûche seriously, changing the look and flavors every year, striving to make them more and more spectacular. We researched the most gorgeous, and tasty, bûches to buy in Paris this Christmas so you can bring a real show-stopper to your parties.
The Peninsula Paris – Chef David Bizet et Cheffe Anne Coruble
Loyal to tradition, Michelin-starred chefs David Bizet and Anne Coruble decided to celebrate their Norman roots with their Christmas bûche called Racine, revisiting the memory of the apple tree logs burning in the fireplace when they were little. The result is a decadent smoky log, deliciously filled with chocolate and caramel.
Hôtel Barrière – Chef Christophe Adam
Maple syrup and pecan nut praline are the stars of this bûche. The creation is called Monts et Merveilles (Mountains and Marvels) and really delivers what the name suggests. These mountains covered by a white chocolate glaze constituting the most inviting dessert you will see this Christmas.
Hôtel Molitor – Chef Benoît Gressent x Nebay
If you are into art, you’ll love the bûche that street artist NEBAY as created with chef Benoît Gressent. Caramelized apples, lemon and chocolate will delight your palate, while the colorful look of this dessert will give your guests something to talk about for the rest of the season.
Maison Lenôtre – Chef Jean-Christophe Jeanson
Inspired by the mountains of Provence, chef Jean-Christophe Jeanson created a double-faced mountain: on one side, a shiny chocolate glaze, while the other side is covered by sugary snow to celebrate the season. Candied mandarin, chocolate, and praline are served with a mandarin and olive oil sorbet—a Christmas dream.
Hôtel Lutetia – Chef Nicolas Guercio
Since the only limit is your imagination, this year, chef Nicolas Guercio at the Lutetia decided to abandon the log to create an incredibly convincing-looking pair of shoes. This might look strange, but it’s actually a nostalgic take on another French tradition. The day before Christmas, kids usually find mandarins in their slippers, so the chef decided to serve the same tradition to grown-ups, swapping the slippers for elegant shoes. Needless to say, mandarin is the main ingredient here.
How to Spend New Year’s Eve in Paris
A year ago, during the period-that-must-not-be-named, we were deprived of many things, big and small. But with the arrival of vaccines and the passe sanitaire we’re ready to make up for lost time—and if there’s one thing Paris isn’t short of, it’s events and things to do. No matter your mood, we got you covered for New Year’s Eve 2021/2022 a.k.a. Le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre, or simply Le Réveillon in French. Here are the hottest ways to celebrate another 365-day roller coaster ride around the sun – à Paris.
If you wish to end the year in poetry and elegance, let classical music invite you. We’re eyeing a few concerts at the two most prestigious churches in Paris: Sainte-Chapelle and Saint-Eustache. Not only will you be marveling at works of geniuses (Mozart, Offenbach, Berlioz, Bellini, and more), you’ll also be gazing at Paris’ architectural wonders.
Take la famille on an exciting ride—literally! Head out of town and see the world-famous Amsterdam Light Festival without having to worry about travel and lodging through this organized bus adventure from Fever. Otherwise, if you wish to stay within le périph’, a zesty Tzigane circus complete with Balkan dinner and drinks is also an excellent choice.
There is such a long list of parties happening in Paris for this night of overflowing Champagne, c’est impossible you won’t find something to suit your fancy. While nightclubs like Wanderlust and the Aquarium are staples of the Parisian réveillon scene, my favorite has to be up on rooftops where I can see the skyline– Rooftop Montmartre and Oxygen Rooftop both have panoramic views of the city where you can watch the Arc de Triomphe fireworks from afar!
Paris, a gastronomic giant, will certainement not disappoint you, however you want to dine and welcome the new year. If touristic dinners like cabaret shows and cruises by the Seine aren’t your thing, a more local dine-then-club experience with the Beaumarly group (with 9 locations all over Paris) awaits you.