I am traveling to Paris with my daughters for Christmas, and we would like to visit Versailles (the chateau and its grounds and surroundings, such as the Petite Trianon and the Hameau) on December 24, the day before Christmas. Do you know what the hours are at Versailles on December 24?
"Can you recommend any reputable guide services to take us from Paris to Versailles and then back to Paris, as well as providing tour guide services on that date? Ideally, we would like a full-day trip to allow enough time to see the chateau and other parts of the chateau property.
"Also, do you know what restaurants are open in Paris on Christmas Eve and Christmas night? Merci !
Christmas is one of our favorite times to visit Paris and you're in luck! There is a very nice private tour to Versailles on Christmas Eve. If you're interested, we recommend that you book as soon as possible as Christmas is a very busy time in Paris. This tour is very likely to sell out.
On this private tour, your driver meets you at your hotel and whisks you directly to Versailles. There, your own private guide (an art historian) will escort you through the palace, showing you all the highlights and hidden corners. Then, after the palace it's time to visit the lavish gardens (still fabulous in winter), including the Petite Trianon and the Hameau. The tour is a half day, taking four hours from start to finish. When the tour concludes, your driver is waiting take you back to Paris. As it is winter, wear warm clothes including waterproof footwear to stay cozy and dry.
There are many other Versailles tour options, but the private tour is the only option on Christmas Eve. We're certain it will make a memorable day trip for you and your daughters.
As for holiday dinners in Paris, it will be vitally important to book your Christmas Eve and Christmas day restaurant reservations far in advance. Most restaurants have special Christmas menus which are very popular with locals and visitors alike. In France, it's much more common for families to go to a restaurant for Christmas dinner instead of cooking the meal at home. (We love that tradition!) Christmas meals will last at least three hours and will consist of several courses.
If you will be staying in a hotel the concierge should be able to help navigate the restaurant scene for you. But be sure to have the concierge arrange reservations long before you leave home. Most restaurants start to post their Christmas menus in early October and start taking reservations then. If you love to research, reading the seasonal menus will give you a taste of what to expect. Foie gras, chestnuts, wild game, guinea fowl, fresh oysters, and black truffles are sure to be on menus during the holiday season.
Have a wonderful Christmas in Paris!