It might seem like there’s nothing to do in the post-holiday lull in Paris, but some holiday festivities continue while a few other fun events keep everyone’s morale high while the temperatures are low. Just look out for the transport strikes planned for the month!
Through Jan 4thFor carnival rides with a holiday spirit check out the Jours de Fête à la Villette (Place de la Fontaine aux Lions, 211 avenue Jean Jaures, 19th) with 60 rides and stands. Free entry, ride tickets €2. Open daily noon-11pm.
Through January 5th
The vast garden courtyard of the Jardins du Marais Hotel (74 rue Amelot, 11th) is home to an outdoor chocolate bar, serving Pierre Marcolini hot chocolate, macarons, chocolates, and even mulled wine in a Winter Wonderland chalet setting. Open Fri-Sun 3-9pm.
Through Jan 5th
The Musée des Arts Forains at Les Pavillons de Bercy (53 Avenue des Terroirs de France, 12th) is a private museum of carnival rides and decorations usually closed to the general public (the venue can be hired for private events). It’s exceptionally open for the holidays for the 10th annual Festival du Merveilleux, decorated in winter wonderland style, with antique merry-go-rounds, carnival games, automatons, and live magicians and jugglers. Open daily December 26 through January 5th from 10am-6pm, entry €16 (€10 for kids 3-12), get your times-entry tickets online in advance (there are huge lines otherwise). Tip: you can buy skip-the-line open date tickets exclusively at the Culture au Quai Festival (Dec 14-15).
Through Jan 5th
The biggest Christmas Market in Paris is in the Tuileries Gardens (1st), which combines carnival rides, a Ferris wheel, a 500m² skating rink (€10 for adults, €6 for kids), live music concerts, and a village of 100 wooden chalets selling decorations, toys, gifts, and gourmet treats. A special food market representing 20 French regions sells plenty of hot food and drinks to enjoy seated at picnic tables or as you walk around. They are supposed to focus on quality and products made here in France (there are even crafts people making their wares right at the market), but double-check before spending. Free entry. Open Sun-Thurs 11am-11:45pm; Fri-Sat until 12:45am (11am-8pm on Dec 25th and 31st). See last year’s video here (on mute recommended).
Through January 5th
The historic Grand Rex Cinema (1 Blvd Poissonnière, 2nd) is putting on their annual laser-light-water-jet-pop-music show (you have to see it to believe it…), Féérie des Eaux. €15 (€12 for students under 26), includes your film of choice and the pre-film show. You’ll want to be on time for this, people line up early! If you want to splash out a bit more cash, €35 gets you a Carré d’Or ticket with your own priority line, a special goodies box from the snack bar, and the best seats reserved just for you. Note that all Féérie des Eaux screenings are in VF (dubbed in French). You can also see other great holiday films in this magical setting (without the pre-show), including Last Christmas, Star Wars, and Knives Out (regular tickets €9).
Through Jan 5th
Ice skate on the rooftop of La Grande Arche de La Défense with incredible views over Paris for €15 (€3 for skates and gloves; bring your own if you have them). This temporary rink is 300m², open during the Marché de Noël, 10am-7pm. Snack bar available. A bit pricey, but it’s actually just the price to go to the roof (whether you skate or just look at the view).
Through Jan 5th
The privately-owned Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte always puts on a good show for the holidays, making it worth the hassle of getting there from Paris. Aside from the elaborate Christmas decorations both in the château and vast gardens, this year they also have a special 8-minute light show projected directly onto the château’s façade every 30 minutes from 5:30-7pm. In the evenings the gardens are lit by twinkling garlands of light. This year they’ve partnered with the Croix Rouge (Red Cross), so kids are asked to bring a gift which will be distributed to those in need. Open 11am-6pm (the domain closes at 7pm). Wed-Sun from Nov 23-Dec22, then daily (except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) from Dec 23-Jan 5. Tickets €19.90 (€14 for kids 6-17). Buy them online to avoid waiting in line. The weekends are the biggest crowds; come on a weekday or as early in the day as possible to avoid the sardine effect!
Through Jan 5th
Just north of Paris, the princely Château de Chantilly is all dressed up for its first Christmas festival, with decorations, an illuminated winter wonderland, choir concerts, Santa visits, Christmas equestrian shows, and special visits of the historic Bibliothèque du Théâtre (Theatre Library) for €5 (tour in French). Entry to the Domaine + Show ticket: access to the entire Christmas offer + Christmas show is 30 € (€24 for kids 3-17). Family Domain tickets for access to the entire Christmas offer (excluding Christmas equestrian show) for 2 adults + up to 3 children is 43,20 € instead of 74,50 € (for the dated ticket).
Through Jan 8
The Grand Palais hosts the largest ice skating rink in the world, the Grand Palais des Glaces, under the impressive verrière. Open in three acts (with an hour closed in between) from 10am-1pm, 2-7pm and 8pm-2am (early closures on the 24th and 31st). The night openings include live DJ atmosphere. Entry €20-€25-€29 for morning, afternoon, and night (€12 for kids 12 and under in the morning and afternoon). Skate rental is free. Small backpacks allowed (no big bags or suitcases). Kids under 14 must be accompanied.
January 8 – February 4
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 for the changing rooms and wrestling for that one pair of shoes in your size, you’ve got five weeks to enjoy the chaos.
Despite ongoing transportation strikes since December 5th, French unions have called for a day of national strikes, or Une Grève Générale et Nationale, all day today. Expect widespread disruption of municipal services and possible closures of monuments, museums, shops and/or restaurants.
Through Jan 19th
Larger-than-life illuminated marine wildlife sculptures are on display each evening in the Jardin des Plantes (5th) for the “Illuminated Ocean” exposition, which beautifully features the magic of the oceans as well as the vulnerability of those who call it home. Tickets are available ONLY online, purchased in advance (€15, €12 for kids 3-12; Family tickets €48 for two adults and two kids; discount rate of €12 for 9:30pm tickets Monday-Thursday nights). Access every 30 minutes from 6pm-9:30pm (open until 11pm).
January 20- February 2
January 25th is the Chinese New Year, ringing in the Year of the Rat with several events around Paris all week long, including the big Chinese New Year Parade in the 13th arrondissement (the largest Chinatown district in France) on February 2nd starting on Avenue d’Ivry at 2pm, and continuing along Avenue de Choisy, Boulevard Massena and Avenue d’Ivry. There are also events hosted by the 3rd (around Rue au Maire) and 19th arrondissements (around Belleville) which have large Chinese populations. UPDATE: Some events have been cancelled because of the Coronavirus outbreak, out of solidarity with the people in China.
Through January 26
Calling all French Revolution history buffs and Marie-Antoinette fans: the Conciergerie is hosting a new exhibit this fall and winter, Marie-Antoinette: Metamorphosis of an Image: “Only a handful of historic figures have been the subject of such an abundance of representations: Marie-Antoinette is one of these, both during her lifetime and more notably after her death on 16 October 1793. Even today, this queen-turned-icon is still a key emblem in popular culture. The exhibition will illustrate the many representations of Marie-Antoinette through almost 200 works, artifacts, heritage and contemporary archives, never-before-seen interviews, film extracts and fashion accessories, and shine a light on this worldwide phenomenon of media overkill through both a historic approach and a critical and comparative examination of forms.” Get your tickets in advance on the official website here.
January 30 – February 2
The 41st annual Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain (World Festival of the Circus of Tomorrow), an international competition of 24 up-and-coming circus acts, takes place at Cirque Phénix (Place Cardinal Lavigerie, 12th). Tickets from €45-€150.
January 31 – February 2
The 9th annual Paris Face Cachée event offers “unique moments in atypical places”. There are over 120 original adventures inplaces that are usually inaccessible, in history, art, physics, science, innovation, gastronomy, fashion and other interests. Some events are free, some have a small fee. Spaces go fast, check out the website and register for your adventure.
January 31-February 1
Enjoy a classical music concert in an intimate setting followed by wine with the musicians in this month’s Music by the Glass concerts by Sinfonietta. “We welcome the new year and winter season with an exquisite and poignant program of Haydn and Mozart, performed by the artists of Quatuor Hanson! For this series, the artists will perform Haydn’s quartet op. 33 no. 5 «How do you do?» as well as Mozart’s string quartet K 421. A fascinating program presented by one of the best young French string quartets. January 31 in the historic and elegant Reid Hall— Columbia Global Center (6th), and February 1 in the Grand Salon of Fondation des États-Unis (14th). Tickets €25.
The Chinese New Year edition of Le Food Market, a street food market ialong Boulevard de Belleville between metro Couronnes and Ménilmontant, featuring 20 Chinese restaurants. There will be decorative lanterns and the famous Lion Dance. Open 6-10:30pm.
Through February 28
La Forêt Escargot (the Snail Forest) is a magical art exposition of 29 street artists using found objects in a giant snail structure in the gardens of the Rochefoucauld Hospital (15 ave General Leclerc, 14th, M° Denfert-Rochereau). It’s open free to the public Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday 1-7pm (there will be someone at the gate to let you into the gardens). There’s a little bar with some beverages, a donation box at the entrance, if you feel inclined, and some of the artists’ prints are for sale.
Other Paris Calendar Links
▪ For General Events around Paris (including sports): Que Faire à Paris?
▪ For Off the Beaten Track Tours (in French or English) #ExploreParis
▪ For French Theatre with English surtitles: Theatre in Paris
▪ For French Cinema with English surtitles: Lost in Frenchlation