December is an especially lovely time to visit Paris, because the year-round “City of Light” outdoes even itself with festive decoration and illumination all over the city. Wandering its streets, perhaps the best (if least efficient) way to experience the city yields even more delightful surprises with each turned corner, from the Place de la Concorde (above) to the nightlife of the Rive Gauche.
In addition to ice skating during the day out front, the Hotel de Ville is host to a light show at night, with hundreds of tiny flashes of light like falling snow on its rooftop.
An early evening drink outside a cafe in Saint Germain
Selling Christmas trees on a street in Montmarte
Late-night book browsing under the festive lights at Shakespeare & Co.