Note: More events will be listed throughout the month, check back!
Last Days of the Christmas Villages
Through January 3
The annual Christmas Village on the Champs-Elysées includes over 180 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 3
For the first time, the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de bulogne (16th) will have an ice skating rink in a winter wonderland setting, open every day including Christmas and New Year’s Day, 10am-8pm. Entry with skate rental €7. There is also a Marché de Noël and foods from Alsace, hot chocolate and flammekeuche! And of course there will be the regular rides and activities for the kids. If you have kids too young for Disneyland, this is a perfect alternative.
Through January 3
If you’d like a bit of protection from the elements, the Grand Palais is hosting an indoor Jours de Fêtes with a ferriss wheel and fair rides and games (bumper cars, etc), fair food like popcorn and cotton candy, and live musical entertainment under the immense glass atrium. Entry fee is 20€ for adults, 15€ for kids. Open 11am-11:30pm (until 7pm on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve).
Through January 3
There is a Marché de Noël at the foot of the Eiffel Tower along the Quai Branly of the Seine, with chalets selling gifts and holiday foods.
Through January 3
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 11am-9pm.
Through January 3
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 by reservation only for the holidays, La Festival du Merveilleux. Guided tours of 2 hours by an elf, where you’ll get a chance to go on the rides and attend a magical music show. Tickets €16, tours daily (including Christmas), in French with an English handout.
Winter Fun: Ice Skating & Ferris Wheel
Through January 31
Skate on the Eiffel Tower! This year the ice skating rink on the first level of the Eiffel Tower is back, free for those who already have a ticket for the Tower, open daily 10:30am-10:30pm. Skip the line by taking the stairs, it will help you warm up, too! Skates size 25-47 (EU), sleds and scooters for kids, gloves are required. This year’s theme is COP21, so expect to see an eco-friendly decor.
Through March 1st
At the Place de la Concorde is the Grande Roue Ferris Wheel. Each enclosed “car” holds six people. €10 for adult, €5 for kids under 10, open daily 11am-midnight (Fri-Sat until 1am).
Shows & Concerts
January 2, 7 & 9
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of Edith Piaf (December 19, 1915), one of the best tribute shows in town is Hymne à Piaf by Carolin Nin at the Essaion Théâtre (6 rue Pierre au Lard, 4th, tickets €25), including a Champagne show on New Year’s Eve (€65). More than just songs, Caroline tells the stories behind them. A very entertaining evening in a very Parisian setting.
Billed as an adacious rock & roll baroque cabaret, The Hole is a surreal, sexy, surprising and subversive show at the Casino de Paris combining acrobratics, circus acts, theatre, dance and a ton of humor. It has been traveling around Europe and now comes to Paris, in French but you won’t need to be fluent to enjoy (however you DO need to be over 12 years old, this isn’t the Moulin Rouge!). Tickets €49-€85.
Today there will be a commemoration ceremony at the Place de la République in remembrance of the January 7, 2015 attacks at Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher market. The placing of a plaque at the foot of a tree planted for the event, a song about the solidarity march by Johnny Hallyday, and the French national anthem by the Army Choir will all be retransmitted on giant screens around the square.
Through January 11
Oh La La Oui Oui! Don’t miss this show featuring a modern take on the swing classics from Les Années Folles with two singers and a jazz manouche trio performing hits from Josephine Baker, Django Reinhardt, Mistinguette, and Maurice Chevalier among others who revolutionized the music scene in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s. Eight performances on Sunday and Monday nights (what else are you going to do?) at the Théâtre du Marais (37 rue Volta, Paris 3ème), tickets available online from €20.
Through January 15
Book your places now for the English production of Singin’ in the Rain at theChâtelet Théâtre, based on the 1952 film starring Gene Kelly. Reviews have been excellent, so expect this to sell out quickly! Tickets starting at €15 up to €119. Note that the website is in French, but the show is in English with French surtitles (above the stage).
Laughing Matters presents Irish comedien Jason Byrne for two nights at La Java: “Jason Byrne has been a stand-up comedian for 20 years and he has spent half of those years absent from a Parisian stage. First time in town was 1998 followed by a further 3 sold out appearances before marital duties, TV apearances, sell out Edinburgh Festival runs and touring kept him from bringing his high octane marathon shows to Paris. Now he’s back for an amazing two nights kicking off the 2016 comedy year.” Tickets €20/€15 students, reserve in English by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Through January 31st
Do you like electronic music and want to experience it in a whole new way? Paris Music Club, at the Gaïté Lyrique, is both an interactive exhibition and night club with some of the leaders in the Parisian music scene. “Nestled in the lower depths of la Gaîté lyrique, Paris Musique Club is both an exhibit of augmented music and programming focused on giving carte blanche to creative collectives and labels.” Open Thurs-Fri 6pm-midnight, and Sat-Sun noon-7pm. Check it out here.
Through February 28
Bartabas’ Zingaro shows combine equestrian theatre, dance, world music, poetry and many other disciplines.
After having pounded the ground of his Théâtre Equestre Zingaro for more than a quarter of a century, Bartabas is now tackling the skies with his new show “They shoot angels, don’t they? (elegies)“. Get your tickets €42-50 at FNAC.
Get Involved & Make a Difference
January 21, 27, or February 3
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 (date TBA, check website).
Through February 27
The 100% Packaging-Free Organic Pop-Up store by BioCoop, originally just slated to run through COP21, has been such a success that it’s not extended through the end of February. There are over 250 itiems available in bulk, including produce, fresh bread, dairy (butter, yogurt and cheese), fresh ground coffee, nut butters, and other items, 20% from local sources. If you don’t bring your own reusable glass jars and other containers you can buy them at the shop. At 14 rue du Châteu d’Eau, 10th, open 10am-8pm Mon-Sat.
Shopping, Art & Market Events
January 6 – February 16
The annual winter sales, aka Les Soldes. Honestly, the rules about when and how sales can take place in France since the economic crise have essentially made the sales irrelevant. There are sales all of the time now (often called “promotion” or “7 Jours BHV” or something like that).
January 20 – February 2
As part of the Fête du Graphisme, the City of Paris commissioned 39 acclaimed artists from France and around the world to “Celebrate the City”. Their artworks will be on display all over the city on the bus shelters and advertising pillars, as well as on special panels along the Champs Elysées (between the Rond-Point and Place de la Concorde) for the general public to enjoy for free. The main exhibition will be at the Cité International des Arts (18 rue de l’Hôtel de Ville, 4th, just behind City Hall) from January 15th through February 7th, featuring four themes: Graphisme des Antipodes (Stockholm vs Buenos Aires); Graphisme, Rock & Cinéma; Utopies et Réalités; and Rendez-Vous à Fondation Alliance Française. Seethe full schedule of events and prices on the official website (only in French, sorry!).
Le Food Market is a monthly open-air food festival on Boulevard Belleville (between metro Ménilmontant and Couronnes) with over a dozen stands serving up tasty dishes of all kinds (kind of like a gathering of static food trucks, but without the wheels) from 6pm-10:30pm. Expect lines, it’s a popular event! You can also check out the event on FB.
On the edge of Paris in the 13th arrondissement, where the new tram, eco-housing and university buildings have reinvigorated this former industrial wasteland, the city is inaugurating a monumental, illuminated art installation by Laurent Grasso called SolarWind (below). The massive commission, one of the largest in the city’s recent history, is 40m tall with two towers 20m in diameter, a work of projected images onto the Calcia silos which loom over the périphérique. Calcia is a cement factory, one of the many industrial manufacturers along the Seine just outside the city limits. Their distribution silos were built to look good…think “design”, and now with the light feature, no doubt it will brighten up the commute along the Paris ring road.
Through February 14
The boutique Storie specializes in high quality, hand-made, artisan, fair trade, recycled, and sustainably-made crafts from around the world. They have a boutique near Montparnasse, but for the holidays and through February there is apop-up boutique near the Canal St Martin (24 rue Yves Toudic, 10th, open Mon-Sat noon-8pm, Sunday noon-6pm).
Daytrips from Paris
Through January 3
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 Ferris Wheel inside the Grand Hall! (€5) Open the weekends of December 5-6, December 12-13, and every day from December 19-January 3rd (closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) from 10:30am-6pm. Entry €17.50 for adults, reserve in advance online (where you’ll also find the schedule for the shuttle from Melun train station to the chateau).
Other Paris Calendar Links
- For general events around Paris: Que Faire à Paris?
- For literary events, readings, and classes: Monthly Paris Listing
- For indie/alternative music concerts see Gigs in Paris
- For art exhibitions in galleries and museum see Slash Paris
- For mainstream events visit the Paris Office of Tourism
- For naughty events, see the Naughty Paris Guide