Leftover Holiday Events Through January 5th
New Year’s Day Parade on the Champs Elysées from 11:30am-1:30pm, and the avenue stays car(free until 3pm.
Through January 5
The annual Christmas Village on the Champs-Elysées includes over 200 chalets selling holiday gifts, local specialties, mulled wine, warm hats and gloves, toys, jewelry and every kind of sweet imaginable. There is also a fun Olympic-sized ice skating rink, amusement park rides for kids and Santa visits. There’s a hand-made 11-meter tall Eiffel Tower and a “Village des Artisans” dedicated to handcrafted items made in France. A great place to wander with an appetite and a Christmas shopping list! I made a Christmas Village video three years ago, but this year’s is much better in terms of quality and variety. Open daily 11am-11pm (until midnight Friday and Saturday).
Through January 5
Le Grand Rex, a historic cinema on the Grands Boulevards always has a holiday film (in French or dubbed in French) for the kids, preceeded by a 15-minute water-light-music show, “Spectacle de la Féerie des Eaux”. This year it’s for the new Disney film Reine des Neiges (Frozen in English). Tickets are €10-€20 (the more expensive Carré d’Or and Billets Prestiges come with a snack and you don’t have to wait in line before the show starts). The water/lazer/light/fireworks/music show is both beautiful and impressive, but also tacky and oddly mixed with pop tunes instead of holiday music, but it’s great for kids.
December 4 – January 2
The “Marché de Noêl de Montparnasse” includes 40 wooden chalets of food and gifts at the foot of the Montparnasse Tower, open daily.
December 21-January 5
All of the Manèges, aka Carrousels de Paris, in the 3rd through 20th arrondissements of Paris are free for children for the holidays (my favorite is in the Jardins du Trocadéro, but the lines are longest). See the full list here. Open daily 10am-7pm.
December 26 – January 5
If you saw Midnight in Paris you’ll recognize the Musée des Arts Forains, a private museum of antique carnival and fair rides and decor in a stunning setting, open to the public for the holidays. Expect crowds, get there early and dress warmly! Open 10am-6pm, €12 entrance, €5 for kids under 12.
Daytrips from Paris
November 30-January 5
The family-owned Château Vaux-le-Vicomte (the 17th-century palace that inspired Versailles) becomes a Christmas wonderland in December, decorated from top to bottom, each room in a different holiday theme, fireplaces ablaze, and holiday music playing. And at night the château facade and the gardens are lit with festive lights. It’s a magical experience, not to be missed! And this year there’s a special Pinocchio show for the whole family. Open the weekends of November 30-December 1, December 7-8, December 14-15, and every day from December 21-January 5th (closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) from 10:30am-6pm. Entry €14; entry plus Pinocchio show from €22.
Outdoor Winter Fun
Through February 16
At the Place de la Concorde is the Grande Roue Ferris Wheel (and the largest Christmas Tree in France). Each enclosed “car” holds six people. €10 for adult, €5 for kids under 10, open daily 11am-midnight (Fri-Sat until 1am).
December 20 – March 2
The Patinoire de Paris is a large ice skating rink in front of Hôtel de Ville. Free entry, €5 skate rental, gloves or mittens obligatory.
January 8 – February 11
The annual Winter Sales, aka Les Soldes, take place beginning midnight in shops throughout France, particularly on clothing.
Through January 5
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Giuseppe Verdi, the most frequently performed opera composer. Learn all about this composer in a very unique setting, the beautiful Eléphant Paname. “Dedicated to culture and dance, this magnificent nineteenth-century jewel of a place, just steps from the Palais Garnier opera house, nourishes the romantic spirit in all its visitors. Laurent Fiat and Fanny Fiat, the two young co-founders and co-directors of this unique multi-arts centre, driven by their noble and far-reaching commitments as ardent lovers of culture, are thus giving Verdi a compelling homage, in a truly Parisian venue.” Open Tuesday-Sunday 11am -7pm, Thursday until 9pm. Entry €9. Reserve lunch or dinner at Goust, the restaurant upstairs, to complete your visit!
Through January 26
One of my favorite exhibits of the season, Yousuf Karsh: Icons of the Twentieth Century, with stunning black and white photos of movie stars, artists, writers, and world leaders over the past 60 years. At the Mona Bismarck American Center (a gorgeous Parisian mansion near Palais de Tokyo worth the visit alone). Entry €7. Open Wed-Sun 11am-6pm.
Through January 12 (special late nights Dec 26-29)
Oh la la! The Musée d’Orsay is hosting a much-anticipated exposition Masculin/Masculin: The Male Nude in Art from 1800 to the Present. It’s sure to draw large crowds, so be sure to get your tickets online in advance to skip the line, or better yet, book your own private Naughty Paris tour of the exhibition with Jean-Manuel Traimond, author of the Guide Erotique du Louvre et Musée d’Orsay. The two-hour skip-the-line tour is €300 for up to four adults (contact us to book your tour). NOTE: Special late night opening December 26th-29th, last entry at 9pm.
Through February 7
The French are pioneers in vertical gardens. Have you seen the one on the Quai Branly Museum? The Pavillon de l’Arsenal is hosting a free exhibition and public experimental space on the use of “bio-facades” in construction, called AlgoCultures. Open Tues-Sun.
Through March 8
Brassaï, Pour l’Amour de Paris is a free exhibition about Paris as seen through the black and white photos of Brassaï, one if its most famous photographers, at the Hôtel de Ville (entrance at 3 rue Lobau, 4th), Monday-Saturday 10am-7pm.
Through March 16
Novel of a Wardrobe: The Parisian Chic from the Belle Epoque to the 1930s is the current exhibition at the Carnavalet History of Paris Museum. “Imagine stepping into one of Paris’s top Haute Couture houses in the early 20th century: Alice Alleaume, chief saleswoman from 1912 to 1923 at Chéruit, 21 Place Vendôme, welcomes you and offers to fulfil your wildest dreams.” On public display is the remarkable wardrobe of Alice Alleaume herself. Dresses by Chéruit, Worth and Lanvin, evening shoes by Hellstern, hats by Alphonsine, Marcelle Demay, Madeleine Panizon and Le Monnier, evening headbands by Rose Descat, jewellery, etc. Open Tues-Sun 10am-6pm, entry €4.50.
Through March 30
For the inaugural exposition of the newly-opened Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Ici Là et Au-Delafeatures four artists who explore Islam and the spiritual identity of the Goutte d’Or district of Paris: Abbas, Yazid Oulab, Patrizia Guerresi Maïmouna and Bruno Lemesle. Free entry, open Tues-Thurs 10am-9pm, Friday 4-9pm, Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday noon – 7pm.
Shows & Concerts
December 26 – January 4
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of the passing of French chanteuse Edith Piaf with sexy cabaret singer Caroline Nin’s “Hymne à Piaf”, a show using English storytelling and songs en français to remember one of the greatest French singers of all time. Shows are every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm at the intimate Essaïon Theatre (6 rue Pierre au Lard, in the Marais, 4th). Tickets are €20-€25. On December 31st the theatre will be transformed into a cabaret with everyone seated around little tables and served unlimited Champagne during the performance.
Through January 5
Looking for a fun show? Porte-Jarretelles & Piano à Bretelles is a comedy burlesque at the Alhambra Theatre. It helps to know French, but it’s still a fun show even if you just enjoy the moves. Tickets €27-42.
January 27-February 15
It’s the Year of the Horse! The Chinese New Year starts in January this year, with concerts, shows and exhibitions at the Mairie of the 13th arrondissement (Place d’Italie), home to the city’s largest Chinatown. The traditional parade with over 2000 participants will take place on February 9th starting at 1pm from 44 avenue d’Ivry, 13th. For the full schedule of events see the official website. Other Chinese New Year events will take place in the 3rd and in Belleville.
Through March 29
Le Burlesque Klub is performing their retro brand of “glamorous and funny” burlesque performance every Saturday night at La Nouvelle Seine (a péniche boat moored outside 3 Quai de Montebello, 5th). An entertaining show with plenty of feathers, sequins, and laughter, a great alternative to the touristy Moulin Rouge and Lido! Tickets €21 (€13 on BilletReduc.com). Show starts at 10:45pm.
Make a Difference
Through January 20
The non-partisan Union of Overseas Voters is organizing a Book Drive in Paris to celebrate the Martin Luther King, Jr. Global Day of Service. All donated new and gently-used books and textbooks in English or French will be given to libraries in African communities and schools with the assistance of the highly-rated U.S. charity Books for Africa. Check out the website for the list of collection points and times in Paris (including the American Library and Sugar Daze Bake Shop).
January 22 or 30
SOS Help, the confidential English listening line in Paris, needs volunteers for the coming season. If you’re interested, you only need to attend one of the information sessions in January, 7pm at the American Church of Paris (65 Quai d’Orsay, 7th). All volunteers will need to be available for the initial training session on February 22.
An exceptional concert tonight at the Salle Gaveau to cap off the 25th annual Pièces Jaunes Campaign (loose change drive for children’s hospitals in France), with a lineup of classical musicians and singers from around the world, brought together by the renowned pianist François Chaplin and hosted by Claire Chazal and Alain Duault. Tickets €10-€40.
Other Paris Calendar Links
- For literary events, readings, and classes: Monthly Paris Listing and American Library in Paris.
- For indie/alternative music concerts see Gigs in Paris
- For art exhibitions, museum news and openings see Paris Muse.
- For mainstream events visit the Paris Office of Tourism.
- For naughty events, see the Naughty Paris Guide.