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.
Through January 6
Noël aux Gobelins is a rare opening with free entry to Paris’ famed 17th-century tapestry workshop, the Manufacture des Gobelins, to celebrate the magic of Christmas for the whole family. The free exposition brings to life Fontaine’s Fables, the cape-andsword adventures of Puss in Boots, Don Quichotte and Sancho Panza, as well as Perrault’s fairy tales of Tom Thumb and Sleeping Beauty. There will also be displayed the whimsical paper sculptures of Junior Fritz Jacquet, Les Végétales. Open 11am-6pm (closed Dec 31st/Jan 1st).
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).
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, 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 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.
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.
Through 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.
January 9-February 19
The annual winter sales, aka Les Soldes. Honestly, the rules about when and how sales can take place in France 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. But if you like standing in long lines and wrestling for that one pair of shoes in your size, you’ve got five weeks to enjoy the chaos.
Looking for a way to cozy up the chilly winter nights? It’s time for the annual Paris Cocktail Week, with 50 participating bars promoting 150 special cocktails (with and without alcohol for those sticking to New Year’s resolutions to cut back,#spiritfree) and 9 special events and workshops. To participate you can get your free pass on the official site.
Upcoming February Events
Ready to explore the hidden side of Paris? This weekend is the annual Paris Face Caché with visits under three categories: “L’Inédit”, “L’Interdit”, and “Artistiques”. Some are free, some are paid (€9-€15), reserve your spots rom January 14th, it fills up fast! See the full program here.
The 12th edition of the Festival au Fil des Voix features some of the best World Music singers from all over the world. “The festival Au Fil des Voix aims to defend musical diversity by offering more than just a concert: on stage, there are new encounters, sometimes daring, natural or unforeseen; transcultural dialogues, reflections of the artistic wealth of the world.” This year there will be 12 exceptional concerts: the opening night at La Cigale, evenings at the Bal Blomet, the Studio de l’Ermitage, L’Alhambra and the closing night at the Trianon. Tickets €15-45, multi-concert passes available in the French version of the site only.
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.
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