Note that the Pass Sanitaire is still required in most monuments, concerts, and other entertainment venues, and masks are required everywhere indoors, and at markets and public events outdoors. Due to the rise of Covid cases again in France, it’s possible some events may be canceled at the last minute such as the New Year’s Eve light show on the Arc de Triomphe.
For Christmas Markets and other specific holiday events see the Christmas in Paris article.
November 29-December 5
Benenova, the platform for volunteer opportunities in France, is hosting their annual Semaine de l’Engagement, or Commitment Week, to encourage civic engagement. It coincides with the National Food Bank Collection (Nov 26-28), Giving Tuesday (Nov 30th), and the World Volunteer Day (December 5th). There are a bunch of different activities throughout the week you can participate in, from wrapping holiday gift donations and making homemade holiday cards for the elderly, to helping on a construction site for a non-profit community center or delivering food to the homeless. And if you’re not free this week, check their schedule for ongoing volunteer opportunities throughout the month of December (and, of course, all year long).
Bill & Rosa’s Book Room (42, rue Chemin Vert Boulogne, M° Pte St Cloud) is hosting a used book sale in support of SOS Help English Crisis Line. Entry is €15, bring a sturdy bag (one) to fill with as many books as it can carry. Books in French and English. Open 1-6pm.
As part of the Salon Nautique boat show in Paris through December 12th, the “The World’s Largest Paddle Race” will take place on the Seine River this morning at the crack of dawn. Open to both amateurs and professional paddleboarders (in two divisions), they’ll be 1000 participants racing from the National Library of France (Bibliothèque Nationale de France, 13th) to the Port Javel (15th) starting at 7:45AM (the sun doesn’t actually come up until almost an hour later!) Position yourself at any of the bridges in central Paris to catch the sight of them (and if the forecast is correct, bring an umbrella).
Every Weekend from Dec 4-March 6
The Cité Fertile, a “Third Space” in the Parisian suburb of Pantin, transforms into La Cité des Merveilles every weekend through March at their massive space dedicated to sustainable living. On the program of this fun fair are sweet and savory street-food stands, different eco-responsible Christmas markets every weekend in December (see the schedule here), live music, a labyrinth, games and attractions for young and old, and a magical atmosphere where tree-huggers have a good time! Free entry (tickets for the flying chairs ride sold separately), open Sat noon-1am and Sun until 8pm. Exceptionally open Friday Dec 10th 6pm-1am and open daily February 19th-March 6th.
Time Out Paris is celebrating their 10 year anniversary with a multi-day gastronomic food festival: “For this birthday, Time Out Paris puts the small dishes in the big addresses and invests seven of its favorite restaurants for high-quality meals, all kinds and budgets combined, from the XXL Chinese canteen on the canal to the micro-gastro Germanopratin. And since nothing is too good, we invited our favorite bartenders to chop up some fiery pairing cocktails, to drink between each bite. In short, when conductors and mixologists merge style to make you experience a week of anthology… Admire the cast!” Reserve your spots, they’re filling up fast!
It’s time for the annual Grande Braderie de la Mode AIDS, a huge sale of 150 top brands to benefit HIV/AIDS charities at the Magasins Generaux (1 rue de l’Ancien Canal, Pantn, metro Eglise de Pantin). New clothing and accessories (shoes!) are for sale at 70% off their regular price. Open Thurs noon-6pm, Fri-Sun 10am-6pm. Entry €2, RESERVATIONS REQUIRED: https://www.aides.org/braderie
MyDomos is offering guided visits of a private mansion in the 16th arrondissement, the Hôtel Kergorlay Langsdorff “Built in the 1880s by the famous Belle Epoque architect Paul-Ernest Sanson, this mansion houses an important collection of historical objects from General de Caulaincourt, close to Napoleon I and direct ancestor of the de Langsdorff family. A rare mansion which still belongs to the sponsor’s descendants, a member of the Kergolay-Langsdorff family will welcome you to tell you the history of the place with passion. The visit will be followed by a refreshment with a glass of champagne.” Tours are available for up to 15 people on November 27th at 10:30am and on December 9th at 6pm. Tickets are just €39, book online.
La Caravane Passe returns to the Cabaret Sauvage (59 Boulevard Macdonald, 19th) for one night with its joyous mix of nomadic music from Eastern Europe, Spain and contemporary rock, hip-hop and electronic music. “On the strength of its collaborations with Sanseverino, Rachid Taha, and R.Wan from Java, the caravan continues its journey. Around its repertoire was born Le Vrai Faux Mariage, like a “mega-concert” bringing together, in addition to La Caravane, dancers, acrobats and magicians …” Tickets €15, buy online here.
“Italians Do It Better!” is a three-days Italian arts festival in the Passage Choiseul featuring 20 Italian artists; live painting sessions by 8 Italian artists; a limited edition of prints of the exposition poster by Italian writer Simondee; prints, beers and books by Notorious; and film screenings in the 80-person theatre. Free entry, open 11am-8pm. Vernissage opening night with Prosecco at 6pm.
Through December 18
Stand-up comedian Julie Collas stars in the one-woman show (in English), “Oh my God, she’s Parisian” every Saturday night at the Théâtre BO Saint-Martin (19 blvd St Martin, 3rd). Tickets €19.50-€26, available here.
Through December 18th
Throughout the fall, the art gallery/museum La Fab is showcasing Graffiti and the French designer agnès b.’s historical relationship with this movement since 1985. “The Graffiti movement will take over all the interior and exterior spaces, private and urban, of La Fab. The agnès b. collection, the Galerie du Jour, and the Place Jean-Michel Basquiat offer a fascinating retrospective of history and discovery.” Artists include Banksy, Blek Le Rat, Dennis Hopper, Jef Aérosol, Jérôme Mesnager, Shepard Fairey / Obey Giant, and Jordane Saget, among others. Open Tues-Sat 11am-7pm, entry €7. Le Fab. Place Jean-Michel Basquiat, 13th, M° Bibliothèque.
The American Friends of the Musée d’Orsay (AMFO) are hosting a private visit of the exhibits “Chaïm Soutine / Willem de Kooning, Paint made Flesh” and “David Hockney. A Year in Normandie” when the museum is closed to public, from 11am-noon. It’s free for AMFO members, but non-members can attend the event for €35, register here for your spot.
The City of Paris’s light and fireworks show planned on the Champs Elysées for New Year’s Eve has been canceled due to the rise in Covid cases in Paris.
Through January 9
Don’t miss the Lumières en Seine, a dazzling light show in the gardens of the Domaine de Saint Cloud (west side of Paris accessible via metro). “From the very entrance at the Clémenceau gates, this special light trail will take you on a magical journey through fire gardens and frosted forests, over fields of fairies and illuminated waterfalls. Along the way you’ll pass by a charming merry-go-round and Santa’s sleigh as well as a cozy rest spot, where you can enjoy mouth-wateringly good food, mulled wine and hot chocolate.” Tickets are €20 for adults (€22 Fri-Sun ), €18 for kids 5-14 (€20 Fri-Sun) and Family Tickets for two adults and two kids for €72 (€80 Fri-Sun and holidays). Purchase online in advance and dress warm!
Through January 17
A photo exposition of Afghan women, “Aux Côtes des Femmes Afghanes: Résister” (Standing with Afghan Women: To Resist), will be displayed free to the public on the Avenue des Champs-Elysées at the corner of Avenue de Matignon. The exposition comes from the cover story from the September 16, 2021 edition of ELLE France magazine, by journalist Ava Djamshidi and photos by Philippe de Poulpiquet.
Through December 31
To honor the first Black woman in the Panthéon, the Piscine Josephine Baker (Quai François Mauriac, 13th) is hosting a free multimedia exhibition, “Joséphine Baker au Fil de l’Eau” all month long tracing her history in documentary fashion, along with other artists’ tributes to her in their paintings, sculptures, street-art and digital creations. Free entry during the opening hours of the pool (some works can be seen from the quai) most days 1-8pm (Saturdays 11am-7pm).
Through January 29
The Bibliothèque Forney (1 rue du Figuier, 4th, the Arts Library in the 15th century Hôtel de Sens) is hosting an exposition on powder boxes, powder puffs, and everything around these very girly objects, La Poudre de Beauté et Ses Ecrins. “From the end of the 19th century, cardboard became the material of choice for powder boxes which experienced their golden age from the Belle Epoque to the 1960s and the appearance in 1914 of the powder compact. This serial production of varied cases, both in their forms and in their materials, is a reflection of society at the turn of the twentieth century, both in the evolution of customs and in female emancipation.” Free entry, open Tues-Sat 1-7pm, no reservations needed.
Through January 30
The Jardin des Plantes (5th) is hosting another evening illuminations festival in their gardens over the holidays. This year’s theme is “The Enlightening Evolution” featuring more than a hundred light structures representing the many strange and wonderful species that have populated the Earth over the past 600 million years. “You will see “celebrities” from the past, such as dinosaurs, but also little-known species that will surprise you with their astonishing shapes and unique lifestyles.” You can see them for free in the daytime during regular garden opening hours, but will need tickets to see them lit up at night, from 6-11pm. Tickets €12-€15, AVAILABLE ONLY ONLINE here.