Many of you lucky people out there get to spend your holidays in Paris. And what a wonderful time to come! The City of Light really puts on a show for the holidays, with colorful shop windows, streets decorated with Christmas trees and lights, and you may even get to see a few Parisians grudgingly look cheerful.
With so much to do in such a short time, you don’t want to miss anything good, and you want to be sure that you know what’s open and what’s closed on the big days. Luckily Christmas falls on a Monday this year, so not much will be out of its usual order, as Sunday and Monday are classic ‘closed’ days in Paris. But don’t worry, you’ll still find plenty of open restaurants – Christmas and New Year’s Menus are very popular. Transportation still runs, although some bus routes don’t run on Sundays or holidays. The large cinemas are open, as well as many of the theatres and other entertainment. Strolling the parks and the beautiful streets shouldn’t be missed, either. Holiday lights and window decorations are up at all of the Grands Magasins (department stores: Samaritaine, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Bon Marché) and along Rue Royale, Avenue Montaigne, Hôtel de Ville, Place Vendome, and Champs Elysées, just to name a few, through the first week of January.
To find out what’s going on, events, exhibits, concerts, fairs, ice skating rinks, and other fun holiday things, there are quite a few places in the Links pages that you could look. Many are classified under Paris in a Nutshell or Entertainment. I’ve pulled out the best ones to give you…
…The Top 10 Entertainment Links!
It’s all about entertainment, dining, sports, accommodation, and shopping in Paris and 10 other French cities. You get profiles, ratings, and even direct online reservations for many places. The people who run this site are French, so the authenticity is high, multi-lingual, very through, and growing every day. What else can I say! A quality, five star site.
Official French Tourism site, in English or French, with up to date listings for events, lodgings, and photos of what’s hot in the Capital! A really nice effort on their part.
3. Paris Digest
This site is not about flashy stuff nor selling. It’s a labor of love, full of practical and descriptive info for anyone visiting Paris. A nice site if most leave you more confused than when you entered.
4. Hip Guide
Another cool entertainment guide to Paris for the painfully hip. Nothing about sensible shoes on this site, and that’s just fine for their audience!
5. Paris Anglo
Expat David Appleyard has his finger on the pulse of all things going on in Paris. This link will take you directly to his Holiday Special Events page, with links on the sidebar for things like theatre tickets, museum and gallery listings.
6. Paris Avenue
This bilingual site is targeted at Parisians, so you know you’re getting all of the good events, not just the regular tourist info. Covers all aspects of nightlife and day tripping.
The Time Out Guide is not just online, there’s also the print version available in English bookstores in Paris, but the site is more up-to-the-minute. Clubbing, dining, and sight-seeing news for everyone.
Okay, the Pariscope web site is in French, but I put it into remind you that their print version found every Wednesday at newsstands, has an English section stuffed into the back. Lists all of the phone numbers and addresses of galleries, museums, theatres, restaurants, clubs, men’s clubs, and family events.
9. Bonjour Paris
Mostly articles, but check out the news for great holiday shopping and dining. May be more appealing to those of an affluent, female persuasion.
10. Paris Voice
Want to mingle in the Paris Expat scene? The Voice lists plenty of events, readings, concerts, English theatre, and so forth.
Extra Resources! Prepare for your trip ahead of time with the interactive CD-ROM Paris: Promenades & History. There are 50 animated sequences, over 2,000 photos of sites, monuments, and historical figures, 30 panoramic views from the tops of the main sites, music, maps, and more. Great for reminiscing after you get home, too!
If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, feel free to leave a message at our discussion board below. Until next year, remember to be careful in crowded places (don’t lose your passport!), get at least one thing you buy for yourself gift wrapped, and look up from your guide book once in awhile so you don’t miss the scenery! Enjoy your holidays!
This article is one of the 78 original “Secrets of Paris” articles published between September 1999 and July 2004. After disappearing into the internet graveyard for almost 15 years, I’ve republished them in autumn 2019 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Secrets of Paris: “1999-2019: Twenty Years of the Secrets of Paris” Broken and dead links have been updated or deactivated, but otherwise the article remains unchanged.