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Paris Events Calendar

What’s On in Paris – December 2020

Champs Elysees Christmas lights

Because of a second wave of Covid-19 cases, France returned to confinement through December 15th, with restaurants and bars closed through January 20th. Most holiday events in December have been canceled. We’ll be posting the ones that are still scheduled, however be sure to confirm for last-minute changes.

All month long: enjoy the Christmas lights on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées, the Place de la Concorde, and Place de la Bastille, as well as the window decorations in the Grands Magasins (BHV, Printemps, Galeries Lafayette, and Bon Marché).

December 5-6
Le REcyclerie (83 blvd Ornano, 18th) is hosting another Marché de Noël (autrement) de Ta Mère Nature with green, local and ethical alternatives of the traditional holiday gifts, including plants, useful gifts, toys, and gourmet treats, as well as workshops for making your own gifts. Free entry, masks required as usual. Open 11am-6pm.

Through December 6th
Over 100 French personalities, stars, chefs, athletes, photographers, artists, architects, naturalists, adventurers, entrepreneurs, fashion designers, politicians, actresses and cultural legends are participating in a very unique auction to support the Goodplanet Foundation (in the Bois de Boulogne), including actress Juliet Binoche, former French Minister of Culture Jack Lang, photographer Yann Arthus Bertrand, DJ Jean Roch, designer Stella McCartney, chef Alain Ducasse, and former president Hollande. Bids for the online auction through Drouot are open until December 6th, register on their site and check out the amazing meetings and experiences on offer!

December 11th
American expat, pastry chef, and cookbook author David Lebovitz will be signing books at Café Méricourt (22 rue de la Folie Méricourt, 11th) from 3-4pm. Copies of Drinking French will be available to purchase from the café. (If you’d like a copy of L’Appart or The Perfect Scoopclick here to pre-purchase for pick-up at the event.)

December 12th-13th
Le REcyclerie (83 blvd Ornano, 18th) is hosting the Marché de Noël Japonais with artisans and specialists selling everything from ceramics and martial arts accessories to specialty foods and Japanese fabrics in bamboo stands along the tracks of La Petite Ceinture. Open 11am-7pm. Free entry.

December 15-March 14th
Free exposition at the Galerie d’Instant (47, rue de Poitou, 3rd) featuring portraits of the iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo taken by Lucienne Bloch. Vernissage on the 15th at 7pm. Opening hours Mon 2-7, Tues-Sat 11am-7pm, and Sun 2:30-6:30pm.

December 15th
Today, assuming the Covid cases keep dropping in Paris, the confinement is partially lifted: no attestations will be needed to circulate within France (train and plane travel is allowed, get your tickets now!). However there is a curfew 8pm-6am throughout the country until January 20th (except for December 24th).

December 15th/16th CANCELLED
Paris cinemas, theatres, museums and monuments (including the Eiffel Tower and the Atelier des Lumières) reopen with strict Covid measures; most require you to reserve a ticket or an entry time in advance online, and they will surely sell out quickly, so be prepared! UPDATE: Cultural institutions will not re-open for at least three more weeks.

December 18, 22, & 29th
There are a few places left for the #ExploreParis tour of the Marché Aligre with a food expert guide, €90 per person (tour lasts 2.5 hours). Check out the #ExploreParis website for other walking tours of off-the-beaten-path sites in and around Paris, many available in English.

December 19-20th
The Grande Vente de Noël is taking place this weekend at the Parc Floral in the Bois de Vincennes (12th), with thousands of major brand products sold for up to 70% to benefit Mécénat Chirurgie Cardiaque (benefitting children who need heart surgery). There will be four pavilions selling Christmas gifts, toys, books, clothing (women, men, children), perfume, jewelry, shoes, sports equipment, home décor and appliances, wines and spirits, gourmet foods and chocolates, tableware, etc. Entry is FREE but you have to sign up for an entry time (to maintain Covid restrictions on crowd size).

December 2-January 3 UPDATE: Only the gardens and boutique are open.
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 in the château (open starting December 16th, masks required), the vast gardens will be brilliantly decorated with twinkling garlands of light (bundle up, it gets windy in the gardens!). Gardens are open Dec 2-Dec 15, Wed-Sun from 2-7pm, then daily (except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) from Dec 16-Jan 3 (confirm this is still true after December 15th). 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!

Chateau Vaux le Vicomte at night
Château Vaux le Vicomte lightshow

December 12 -January 10 UPDATE: Only the gardens and boutique are open.
Just north of Paris, the princely Château de Chantilly is all dressed up for Christmas, with decorations, an illuminated winter wonderland in the château, gardens, and Grand Stables. The gardens are open starting the 12th, and the château will be opening starting the 15th. 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).

December 31
No one is allowed outside between 8pm and 6am for the Covid-19 curfew, but the City of Paris has engaged the legendary French electronic DJ Jean-Michel Jarre for a special New Year’s Eve event to ring in 2021; “Welcome to the Other Side”. His avatar will be hosting a live DJ set from inside a “virtual Notre Dame Cathedral” (he won’t actually be inside the real one, since it’s still closed for reconstruction), available for everyone to watch FREE from 11:25pm through 12:15am on YouTube, Facebook@Paris, on France Inter (radio), BFMTV Paris (TV), VRchat (if you have the VR viewer), and on the City of Paris’s official website, Paris.fr. “This immersive concert, sponsored by UNESCO, is according to the musician ‘both a message of hope for 2021 in the difficult times we are going through, but also an opportunity to pay tribute to Notre-Dame, weakened like all of us.”

December 31
In competition with the above-mentioned event is another star DJ, David Guetta, broadcasting his New Year’s Eve set from another star Parisian monument, the Louvre, but this time for charity (Restos du Coeur and UNICEF). Tune in at 11:45pm to start watching “United at Home” (and consider making a donation!)

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