Photo of Paris' Champs-Elysees during winter by Benh Lieu SongParis is an enchanting city to visit any time of year, but there’s nothing quite like seeing the City of Lights lit up for Christmas. Escape to Paris this holiday season and experience the dazzling avenues, storefronts and holiday attractions – not to mention the smell of chestnuts wafting through the air. Enjoy the Christmas sites from your own Paris vacation rental and feel right at home for the holidays.

There isn’t a better place to start your holiday tour of lights than the Champs-Elysées at night. From November 24th through the end of December, the stunning 8th arrondissement avenue sparkles with Christmas decorations. Begin at the base of the avenue at Place de la Concorde, home to an enormous ferris wheel referred to as La Grande Roue (the Big Wheel). Take in breathtaking views of all of Paris, then continue down the Champs-Elysées toward the illuminated Arc de Triomphe. The festive atmosphere might inspire you to do a little Christmas shopping along the way.

Head down the Avenue Montaigne, off the Champs-Elysées, to ogle at the high-end boutique windows decorated with garland and lights. And don’t miss Paris’ major department stores, like Galeries Lafayette or Printemps, both on Boulevard Haussman, for spectacular displays.

Paris Apartment: 1-bedroom Saint Germain des Pris (PA-3049) picts
Paris Apartment: 1-bedroom Saint Germain des Pris (PA-3049)

After all of that window-shopping, and perhaps buying, you might want to partake in something a little easier on the wallet. The ice skating rink at Hotel de Ville is free of charge. And even if you don’t feel like lacing up your skates, it’s worth a trip to simply watch the skaters in such a grand setting.

Across the Seine from the Hotel de Ville lies the magnificent Notre Dame, and during the month of December you can catch the cathedral’s nativity sound and light show. Shows run about every half hour.

New York Habitat offers numerous 8th arrondissement accommodations in close vicinity to the famed Notre Dame. Check out:

– A cozy 1-bedroom duplex rental in Saint-Germain-des-Près (PA-3049) on the fourth floor of a 17th century walk-up building. The apartment’s dark wooden beams make for a perfect winter retreat. The entrance door opens into the living room and kitchen. Upstairs you’ll find the bedroom area, featuring two large skylights, and the bathroom.

– An attractive studio rental in Saint-Germain-des-Près (PA-3647) on the 3rd floor of a 17th century walk-up. The apartment features parquet floors, a modern kitchen and a green-tiled bathroom.

Paris Accommodation: 1-bedroom in Saint Germian des Pris (PA-3103) Pict
Paris Accommodation: 1-bedroom in Saint Germian des Pris (PA-3103)
– A contemporary 1-Bedroom Rental in Luxembourg, St Michel – St Germain – Notre Dame (PA-3103) on the first floor of an 18th century building, renovated in 2006 (elevator access). The chic accommodation overlooks a beautiful courtyard and boasts southern exposure, teak flooring and WiFi Internet connection.

And no trip to Paris is complete without visiting the Eiffel Tower, guaranteed to wow you with its fantastic light show. Every night at the top of the hour, the tower comes to life with glittering, flashing lights. It will definitely leave you mesmerized.

Do you have a favorite holiday attraction in Paris or special Christmas memory from the City of Lights? Please comment below on your experience.