Through January 7
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 €14, tours daily (including Christmas), in French with an English handout. 10am — 6pm.
Through January 7
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! There are even carriage rides on the grounds. Open the weekends of December 2-3, December 9-10, December 16-17, and every day from December 23-January 7 (closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) from 10:30am-6pm. Entry €18.50 for adults, reserve in advance online (where you’ll also find the schedule for the shuttle from Melun train station to the chateau).
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), and websites and shops that do “ventes privées” which are open to anyone.
Looking for a way to cozy up the chilly winter nights? It’s time for the annual Paris Cocktail Week, with 75 participating bars promoting 150 special cocktails (with and without alcohol for those sticking to New Year’s resolutions to cut back) and 50 special events and workshops. To participate you can get your free pass on the official site.
The 11th edition of the Festival au Fil des Voix features some of the best World Music singers from all over the world. “For 15 events and 24 concerts, artists from Iran, Pakistan, Guadeloupe, Corsica, Benin, Basque country, Australia… will perform at the Alhambra and at the Studio de l’Ermitage in Paris.” Tickets €15-25, multi-concert passes available in the French version of the site only.
Ready to explore the hidden side of Paris? This weekend is the annual Paris Face Caché with visits under three categories: “L’Inconnu”, “L’Interdit”, and “Artistes Cachés”. Some are free, some are paid (€9-€15), reserve your spots now, many are already “complet”! See the full program here.
The Chinese New Year celebrates the Year of the Dog on February 16th with several events around Paris all weeklong, including the big Chinese New Year Parade in the 13th arrondissement (the largest Chinatown district in France) on February 25th starting on Avenue d’Ivry. There are also events in the 3rd arrondisselent and Belleville district. See the full schedule here.
Theatre in Paris is hosting their first Expats Theatre Night with the bestselling show “I Love Piaf” (with english subtitles above the stage). “This is a moving, heart-warming, intimate ‘revue’ type show which spills the secrets of Edith Piaf in between her powerful ballads. Featuring the World’s Best Accordeonist (2016) Aurélien Noël and ‘The Voice France’ star Karoline Rose, you’re in for a truly Parisian night. This show embodies the charm of Paris autrefois and will both take you back in time, and make you want to sing along to Piaf for days to come.” Tickets include the show and a pre-show drink at the nearby Folie’s Café. Limited space, sign up quick! More info here.