Figuring things out: How to dispose of your Christmas tree in Paris

The Christmas tree collection point - it looks like a holding pen for naughty trees! The white truck in the background is taking a load of trees to the chipper.

Over the past couple of weeks, we've bonded with our French Christmas tree. From early in the morning until late at night, it's twinkling lights and sparkling ornaments have been the focal point of our living room. It was a silent, yet benevolent, observer while we opened presents, sipped champagne and enjoyed our evenings together. So, there was no way that I was going to let it end up in an ignominious heap of dried branches on the curb.

Knowing that I had to find a solution prior to Epiphany, which is when we traditionally take down our tree, I visited the official website for the city of Paris and discovered that there are 100 recycling points. After I removed all of the little Eiffel Towers, Ikea spice cookies, Carrefour ornaments and the lights that we never really figured out how to stop from spasmodically blinking, Stephane and Philippe cut the tree into two manageable sections and carried it down five flights of stairs. [Note: If I would have been involved in this part of the tree removal, I would have wrapped it in a sheet to avoid leaving a trail of dried branches on the steps that someone else had to clean up!].

As the closest collection point to our apartment was in a tranquil pocket park that had previously escaped our attention, it was well worth the short walk to dispose of our tree in an environmentally friendly manner. Plus, we like knowing that it will help beautify the city's parks and gardens.

Number of trees collected during previous years:

15,000 trees in 2007-2008
25,000 trees in 2008-2009
27,000 trees in 2009-2010
29,000 trees in 2010-2011

Please click HERE for additional information and to find the closest collection point.

If you're unable to take your tree to a collection point prior to January 22, 2012, you can leave it next to the green garbage bins for regular collection.

Our collection point was located in this beautifully serene pocket park that's only a short stroll from our apartment.


  1. Isn't it so sad to see trees on the curb? There were tons of them all over the city yesterday. I'm so glad that you looked into a plan b! Why shouldn't they be recycled?! They're still living!

    Seb's father replants them in his backyard and now has a small Christmas tree forest where he gets to take his pick each year on which tree he will use for the holiday.

  2. Wait a minute. "leaving a trail of dried branches on the steps that someone else had to clean up!" No, if you leave the trail of branches, you have to clean it up. I don't know if that's the Swiss or the American speaking.

  3. Mlle Ella, You're back in Paris?!? Why didn't I feel the universe shift or something?

    Replanting their trees is just one more thing for me to like about Seb and his family! I just hope that the trees that Seb's father is sticking in the ground have roots! ;) Our was chopped off at the end and stuck in a piece of wood where it was deprived of water for weeks.

    Joseph, Even though Stephane claims that he would have cleaned up after himself, I didn't want our gardienne getting upset with us for leaving branches on the stairs. When I got back home from dropping off the tree and explained that I was going to clean them, she said that she hadn't noticed and that it wasn't a problem. Whew! I still ended up doing it because Stephane and Philippe were out on an unsuccessful quest for frog legs. The Swiss - they really aren't very tidy!

  4. I'm planning on taking down our tree tomorrow (yes, all one and a half foot of it!;)). It's in a pot, so we'll be able to keep it on our balcony:)

    I so love your idea of trimming it with a gazillion little Eiffel tower key chains that I was tempted to stock up on them when I was in Paris for Christmas!;) I might do it in April, a couple of months before I head back to Canada:)

  5. Duchesse, I didn't realize that you're heading back to Canada for good! In that case, you need to load up on some little Eiffel Tower key chains. I paid 15 Euros for 87 key rings, although you could probably get them at a better price if you haggle a bit longer. I way over estimated how many I needed for our French tree, but our kids are taking some of them back to the States for their friends.

  6. No, I'm not back in Paris.. : ( Sadly...

    I meant NY as "the city" ! ;)

    Sidenote: I changed my blog address and google won't redirect it (annoying), so here it is:

  7. That's a beautiful park - a proper one with paths, flower beds and trees. Boussac hasn't quite got the hang of parks!
    We've had an artifical Christmas tree since we came to France. I miss a real one but we're very short on space in our old cottage. Taking our decorations down today, always sad, but eating galette des rois to cheer ourselves up!

  8. Mlle Ella, Yeah, I figured it out after I read your response to one of the comments on your blog. That means that you still have time to eat another Magnolia cupcake!

    Thanks for telling me about your change of address. I updated it in my blog section.

    Steph, For some reason, I imagined you chopping down a real tree on your property and hauling it home. I had a bit of galette des rois last night and was surprised to find the king (actually a plastic statue of what appears to be a robber with his hands behind his head) in my piece!

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