DECEMBER 8th CLOSURES: The Eiffel Tower, Louvre, many museums, public parks, and most shops on the Champs Elysées and surrounding streets, and two dozen metro stations will be closed December 8th due to political protests. While most of the city won’t even notice anything out of the ordinary, stay tuned to France 24 (in English) to avoid any areas of Paris where protesters may be blocking streets and clashing with riot police.
The 42nd annual AAWE Bazaar at the American Church of Paris (65 Quai d’Orsay, 7th), a giant second-hand sale of quality clothes, jewelry, handbags, accessories, English books, toys, children’s and baby clothes, white elephants, and baked goods. The Bazaar also continues the long tradition of American women coming together once a week to create and craft hand-made items, for sale at the Handicrafts table. Open 9:30am-5pm. Entrance €2, free for kids, proceeds go to charities in France and abroad helping women and children.
Don’t miss this unique Marché de Noël “Ta Mère Nature” at La Recyclerie (right outside metro Porte de Clignancourt, 18th), from noon-8pm. Free entry. There are 15 stands from local start-ups selling plants, home made treats, artisan gifts, unique and useful items all in respect for nature! Also stands for food and drink.
December 1-2, 7-9, and 14-16
The Boutique Ephérmère is a market featuring 35 stands with 80 different designers from all over Europe who create unique gifts: stationary, jewelry, bags, and other fun accessories and gifts. Open December 3-4, 9-10-11, 16-17-18, and 21-22-23-24 from noon-8pm, At the Galerie Joseph, 7 rue Froissart, 3rd. Free entry.
The annual Féeries d’Auteuil takes place at the non-profit children’s organization Apprentis d’Auteuil (40 rue Jean de la Fontaine, 16th, M° Jasmin or Eglise d’Auteuil) with a Christmas market, food stands, flea market, concerts, vintage carrousel and nativity scenes, from 11am-7pm. Live singing performances on Sat-Sun at 5:30pm.
December 2, 8-9, & 15-16
Conscientious consumers will find ethical, original, organic, and environmentally-friendly holiday gift ideas for the whole family at the Marché de Noël Utile et Solidaire hosted at the Foundation Good Planet in the Bois de Boulogne (Carrefour de Longchamp, 16th; take bus 244 from Porte de Maillot). Free entry, open 11am-7pm.
December 4-February 3
After having hung hundreds of white spheres in a New York City park, the Austrian artist Erwin Redl has unveiled his latest work, “Light Matters” at the Fondation EDF, a labyrinth on two floors composed of thousands of LED lights oscillating between red and blue as you walk past them, detecting your body movements. Free entry, 6 rue Recamier, 6th, M° Sèvres-Babylone, open Tues-Sun noon-7pm.
The Town Hall of the 13th arrondissement (1 Place d’Italie, 13th) is hosting 50 photographers, sculptors, painters and other artists from the local Lézarts du Bièvre artists’ collective. Free entry, open Mon-Fri 11am-5pm, Thur until 7:30pm.
Are you a Paris resident looking for volunteer opportunities but don’t know where to start? Don’t miss the Journée Mondiale du Bénévolat from 6pm at the Hôtel de Ville de Paris. If you can’t make it this year, check out Je m’Engage Pour Paris or Benenova to find all kinds of long-term or short-term volunteer opportunities in hundreds of non-profit associations and charities in Paris.
There’s nothing like Christmas in Alsace, but if you can’t make it to Strasbourg the next best thing is the Marché de Noël Alsacien on the square in front of the Gare de L’Est Train Station (10th), 9am-8pm. Pretzels, ginger bread, foie gras, vin chaud and many other regional specialities!
The 10th Bienniale Carrousel des Métiers d’Art et de Création takes place at the Carrousel du Louvre selling unique hand-crafted gifts, showcasing design, decor, fashion and artisan creations. This year’s special guest country is Portugal. Free entry, open 10am-8pm (2-6pm on the 6th).
Looking for a unique musical experience in a cozy setting? Book your tickets for the Sinfonietta Paris Chamber Orchestra, “Wine by the Glass” concert and wine tasting. Sinfonietta is “a concert series which blend and cross genres through the exploration and rediscovery of a significant and sometimes overlooked repertoire, offering fresh and innovative experiences to its audiences.” This weekend there is one private residence concert at Rue de la Tombe Issoire in the 14th arrondissement, and one concert at the historic Musée nationale Jean-Jacques Henner in the 17th arrondissement. The program is Gustave Mahler (Quatuor pour piano et cordes en la mineur, 1876) and Johannes Brahms (Quatuor pour piano et cordes n° 2 en la majeur, op 26, 1861), with commentary in French and English to help better understand the pieces, and wine afterwards with the musicians (Anna Göckel, violin; Léa Hennino, viola; Yan Levionnois, violoncello; and Guillaume Bellom, piano). Tickets just €25! Book here in English.
The twice-annual fashion sale Grand Braderie de la Mode takes place at the Magasins Généraux in Pantin (M° Eglise de Pantin), with high-end clothing, jewelry and other accessories up to 70% off, with profits going to charities fighting AIDS. Last time I went on Saturday and everything was already gone, so get there early on Friday if you want a shot at the best stuff. Opens 11am until 8pm Friday, until 6pm Sat-Sun.
Comic book lovers won’t want to miss the Salon de la Bande Dessinée SoBD#8, with 150 authors and 60 stands, signings, master classes, and art exhibitions. Free entry, 48 rue Vieille du Temple, 4th, M° Hôtel de Ville.
December 7 – January 12th
The famous street and urban artists Jace, Jef Aérosol, Gérard Zlotykamien, Mademoiselle Maurice, and Aurel Rubbish have a collective show “Résidence #2” at the Mathgoth Gallery (34, rue Hélène Brion, 13th). The show continues through January 12th (Wed-Sat 2-7pm), free entry.
If you’re strolling along the romantic Canal St-Martin in Paris’s east side, don’t miss the artisan Marché de Noël in the cute Pavillon des Canaux (39 quai de Loire, 19th), with gift stands selling artisan jeweltry, kid’s clothing, contemporary artworks, yoga accessories, and other surprises. Free entry, open 11am-8pm.
The Hôtel Bohème (71 rue de la Fontaine au Roi, 11th) is back with a special holiday edition of their regular “expo/vente de créateurs” with 40 different French artisan designers selling their wares — art, home decor, clothing, accessories, etc — at special prices. Free entry, open noon-7pm.
Tech geeks can check out the “avant-première” of the latest innovations in the world of French start-ups at the Marché Noël de la Tech at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. Free entry, in the Hall d’Acceuil 10am-6pm on Saturday, until 7pm Sunday.
The trendy Carreau du Temple (3rd, M° Temple) is hosting Klin d’Oeil, a Christmas market with 70 créateurs selling clothing, accessories, home decor, kids gifts, beauty items and illustrations. Food stands and DIY ateniers. Free entry, open 11am-8pm.
The legendary British comedian Eddie Izzard is coming back to Paris for a show en français (or rather, franglais), En Rodage! Tickets from €23, at La Nouvelle Seine, the barge at the foot of Notre Dame de Paris (3 Quai Montebello, 5th).
La Villette (19th) is hosting the 4th annual Freestyle dance event, with three days of interactive urban dancing for all ages, free entry. In the Grande Halle, check out the website for the full program.
Just one day for the Norwegian Marché de Noël at La Recyclerie (right outside metro Porte de Clignancourt, 18th), from noon-8pm. Free entry. There are stands for food, drink, decor, and music.
Through December 23
La Fabrique du Père Noël is a giant pop-up boutique where you’ll find 40 créateurs and start-up brands selling a unique selection of gifts, clothing and accessories, beauty products, and gourmet foods. Free entry daily 11am-8pm (7pm Sundays). This year there are two locations, one in the Marais (38, rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 4th) and another at 14 avenue des Ternes in the 17th.
December 26 – 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, with regular performances by dancers, magicians, puppeteers, and musicians, open by reservation only for the holidays, La Festival du Merveilleux. Tickets €14, tours daily (including Christmas), in French with an English handout. 10am — 6pm.
Through December 29
The Marché de Noël La Défense opens in late November for its 25th year in a row with 250 chalets featuring gifts, food, Christmas decorations, ice skating (€10) and Père Noël. Since the Champas-Elysées fair was cancelled (the contract for the company running it was not renewed by the City Council), this is the largest Christmas Market in the Paris area (reachable on Line 1 of the metro). Free entry, open Sunday-Thursday 11am-8pm, Fri 11am-10pm, Sat 10am-10pm.
There are no fireworks at the Eiffel Tower on New Year’s Eve (that’s just for Bastille Day on July 14th). but you can join Parisians on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées for a ound and light show on the Arc de Triomphe on the theme of “Fraternité”. From 11:20-11:40pm there will be a giant neon clock counting down the time until the show begins, then pre-show with major historic dates in the show’s theme: the 230th anniversary of the declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen (1789), the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights United Nations, 1948). At 11:40pm the show starts with sound, light and pyrotechnics celebrating 2018 and introducing 2019. To get an idea of what’s in store, you can see last year’s video here: https://quefaire.paris.fr/31decembre
Through January 6
The largest Marché de Noël in central Paris takes place this year in the Jardin des Tuileries, with a skating rink and 120 little chalets selling French crafts, holiday gifts, and regional food specialties lit up by the giant Ferris Wheel, merry-go-round and other funfair rides for all ages. Entry is free, rides each have their own fee. Open Mon-Thurs 11am-11pm, Fri-Sat until 12:45am, Sun until 11:45pm, Dec 24-25 until 9pm. NOTE: The market may be closed December 8th due to political protests on and around the Champs Elysées.
Through January 15
For the first time in its several-hundred-years-history, the Jardin des Plantes (the gardens of the National Museum of Natural History) is hosting a nocturnal light festival “Espèces en voie d’illumination” featuring giant illulinated animals which are either already extinct or quickly on their way there. It’s a magical setting to get across a serious subject, perfect for kids as well as adults looking for a unique evening activity over the holidays. Tickets are €15 (14 if you buy in advance), €12 for kids under 12, free for kids under 3.
Daytrips from Paris
The town of Provins, with medieval ramparts making it a UNESCO listed village, hosts a two-day Marché de Noël Médiéval with a Living Nativity show in the church. You can easily catch the train from Paris to Provins for the day, but I should warn you it’s pretty crowded! The Medieval/Renaissance Fair hosts food and artisan stands, performance troupes, a live auction, the Tour César dungeon tower that used to protect the city, and the church hosting the free Nativity Concert several times each day. There is no entry fee for the fairs, but there are long lines for the stands, especially the food, so be prepared with a picnic basket! Open Saturday 11am until 11pm, Sunday 10am until 7pm.
Through January 6
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 Wed-Sun from November 24th to December 21st, and every day from December 22nd to January 6th (closed Christmas and New Year’s Day). From 11 AM to 6:00 PM (until 4:45pm on 24/12 and 31/12). Entry €19.50 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 French Theatre with English surtitles: Theatre in Paris
▪ For general events around Paris (including sports): Que Faire à Paris?
▪ For literary events, readings, and classes: Monthly Paris Listing
▪ For mainstream events visit the Paris Office of Tourism