Should we spend Christmas in Paris or London?

MY HUSBAND, 18 YEAR-OLD SON AND I ARE PLANNING TO TRAVEL TO PARIS AND LONDON FOR ABOUT FOUR WEEKS FROM DECEMBER 20. GOING FIRST TO PARIS TO SEE THE CHRISTMAS MARKETS AND SPEND ABOUT FIVE DAYS THERE BEFORE CATCHING THE TRAIN TO LONDON. OUR DILEMMA IS WHERE TO SPEND CHRISTMAS, PARIS OR LONDON, NOT KNOWING WHAT WILL BE OPEN?

S. ROWE, EPPING

Christmas markets take place at several locations in and around the French capital and they add sparkle and spice to the festivities. There's a hugely popular one along the Champs-Elysees and others in Montparnasse, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower and Square Rene Viviani on the Left Bank across from Notre Dame. Be sure to visit the Champs-Elysees market in the evening; the lightshow is fabulous.

It's hard to choose between London and Paris at Christmas time but if you're planning to leave Sydney on December 20 and spend five days in Paris that puts you in Paris for Christmas, and nothing to dislike about that. A lot of the smaller shops and museums will be closed but some of the big hitters – including the Eiffel Tower, the Pompidou Centre and the tour boats along the Seine – will be open. 

Most of the larger  brasseries will be open as are the shops along the Champs-Elysees and the ice skating rink in front of the Hotel de Ville, the world's most glamorous for my money. Just wandering around the streets of Paris is endlessly entertaining, and that's available anytime.

Boxing Day is a public holiday in the UK but not in France. If I were you, I'd delay leaving Paris until December 27 at the very earliest. 

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