Think you've got a novel in you just waiting for a bit of coaxing out? Join thousands of others in France for National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. Nanowrimo France has its own group and Facebook Pageorganizing different events around town to help participants get to that mythical 50,000 word count by the end of the month.
Through November 1
The last big electronic music festival of the year, the Pitchfork Festival, takes place over three days at the Grande Halle de la Villette (Parc de la Villette, 19th). One-day passes €49, three-day passes €110.
Through November 2
If you don't have enough Halloween candy to put your body into diabetic shock, head over to the annual Salon du Chocolat, the city's largest fair dedicated to the delectable sweet in all of its formats, from bean to bar. It takes place at the Porte de Versailles - Paris Expo, tickets €14 (get the tickets in advance online to avoid lines). Open 10am-7pm. Note: eat a full meal before you go to stave off the munchies. There are enough free samples to make everyone blissfully ill by the end of the day. :-)
Through November 2
A bit like a smaller, cosier version of the Foire de Paris, the Foire d'Automne at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles is a trade show of food and wine, home decor, beauty and fashion, and all French arts de vivre. Open 10am-7pm, entry €9.
Through November 2
Shop for local produce, meats, dairy products, honey, oils, and other products directly from 120 local farmers at the Pari Fermier food fair, at the Parc Floral (Bois de Vincennes). Open Friday and Saturday 10am-8pm, Sunday until 6pm. Entry €6, or go to the website to print off a free invitation for two.
The Popcorn Project is hosting a Sunday brunch with a screening of The Addams Family, with food by La Camion Qui Fume, Gü desserts, organic juice, Champagne and a DJ set following the film. It starts at 11am at the Cinéma Etoile, tickets €35 (buy online in advance).
Get your tickets now for an exceptional concert at the Opéra Bastille featuring the world-famous choir, symphony orchestra and soloists of the Astana Opera(Kazakhstan), just after their performance at Carnegie Hall in NYC. The first part of the program includes works by Rakhmadiev, Rachmaninov and De Fallaperformed by Denis Matsuev on piano and Erzan Kulibaev on violin, followed by extracts from Verdi's opera Attila with Ildar Abdrazakov of the NY Metropolitan Opera in the role of Attila. Tickets €15-€60 from the box office or FNAC; the two-hour performance begins at 6:30pm.
Through November 3
The Grand Galerie d'Evolution at the Jardin des Plantes (Natural History Museum) is hosting a fabulous new exhibition, Nuit, an exploration of the night in all its aspects from scientific to imaginary, presented in four sections: the night sky, noctural life in the natural world, a night of sleep, and myths and monsters of the night. Open daily except Tuesday from 10am-6pm (nope, not open at night). Entry €9, €7 for kids and students 4-24 years.
As part of their series Evenings with an Author the American Library is hosting Peter Watson, who will be discussing his book "The Age of Aetheists". Free entry, from 7:30pm.
The boutique charity organization Emmaüs (105 Boulevard Davout, 20th) is having a "Kilo Sale" where mens, womens and childrens used clothing are sold for €10/kilo (that's a lot of clothing). Daily 11am-7:45pm.
The 39th annual Salon Marjolaine, the largest organic fair in Paris, takes place this week at the Parc Floral (Bois de Vincennes) with 550 stands selling everything organic you could imagine: produce, meats, cheeses, artisan oils, wines, essential oils, herbs, teas, cosmetics, beauty products, household cleaning products, clothing, shoes, accessories, home decor, books, gardening supplies, as well as stands for environmental tourism, different green activist groups such as Greenpeace, etc. There are also plenty of food stands for lunch onsite, a vestiaire, and a little shuttle from the metro Château de Vincennes to the entrance of the Parc Floral. Open 10:30am-7pm. Entry €9, but you can get a €3 discount voucher on the website to print out in advance. You can also see my article and video from my visit in 2010.
The Château Vaux le Vicomte is hosting its annual Palais au Chocolat. The palace will be decorated with chocolate artworks created by some of the biggest names in chocolate. There will also be a series of demonstrations, chocolate-making workshops for adults, special ateliers for kids, plenty of tastings, a presentation on whine and chocolate pairings, and may more sweet surprises in a magical setting. Tickets are €16.50 (€13.50 for kids 6-18), which includes access to the château and gardens and exhibits throughout the estate; you can reserve them in advance online. Open 10am-6pm. To get there by public transport, take the RER D from Gare de Lyon to Melun (€7.90, leaves every 10 minutes, takes 25 minutes, about ) and then catch the ChateauBus shuttle (€7, going to the chateau at 10am, noon, 2pm and 3:30pm; returning to the station from the chateau at 1:10pm, 3:05pm, 4:40pm and 6:10pm).
It's cold outside, perfect weather for a bowl of hot soup! Head up to Montmartre on the Place des Abbesses for the 4th annual Amoureusement Soupe festival of soup to profit the France Parkinson charity. From 11am-5pm there will be a dozen different soups available for €7/bowl.
The American Library is having their monthly used book sale on Saturday from 10am-7pm and Sunday from 1-7pm.
Through November 11
The French actually celebrate Toussaint (or All Saints Day) on November 1st, which is more festive in Mexico. Join in the annual Mexican-style El Día de los Muertos at the Belleville art gallery Association pour l'estampe & l'art populaire featuring the artworks inspired by the "Jour des Morts". Open daily 3-8pm.
The Marais boutique of the Emmaüs charity is having a retro-vintage sale at 54 rue de Charonne, 11th (metro Ledru Rollin). All proceeds go to the charity.
Shopping for some supplies for your creative projects? Head down to the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles for the annual Création & Savoir Faire show. Scrapboooking, knitting, gardening, baking, sewing, crafts, and decorating ideas for the holidays. Entrance €12.50, open 9:30am-6:30pm (until 9:30pm Friday).
Although it's rather low-key in France compared to the hype it gets in America, the annual Beaujolais Nouveau festival takes place in wine bars throughout Paris today. Read all about the history and the different varieties (good, bad, ugly) and where to celebrate in Paris in this excellent article by Aaron Ayscough, The Redemption of Beaujolais Nouveau. And for fun, here's a link to the little video I made at the Beaujolais dinner I attended in 2010 with Meg Zimbeck of Paris by Mouth and Bryan Pirolli.
Tonight at 6pm the Christmas lights on the Avenue des Champs Elysées will be inaugurated by Mayor Anne Hidalgo and the actor Omar Sy. The theme this year is "Scintillance". The lights are all low-energy LED bulbs powered entirely from a solaire energy farm outside Paris (since switching to this method in 2006, the city has reduced the kilowatt consumption by 97%). The lights will be up until January 7. Note: Geta head start on Christmas events here.
Through December 21
Don't miss the newest musical comedy show at the historic Folies Bergère, "Love Circus", a high-energy burlesque show around the theme of love with dancers, acrobats, and singers performing French, American and British songs (many which you'll recognize in the preview clip here.) This is an awesome alternative to the Moulin Rouge (which, in case you didn't know, is only sung in French), and won't be full of busloads of annoying tourists. Tickets €29-€84 (by seating area), no dinner included, discounts for booking online.
Through December 31
Looking for a super sexy Parisian cabaret show that isn't full of tourists? Don't miss the second season of the Mugler Follies, at Le Comedia Theatre, a show written, costumed and directed by the famous fashion designer Thierry Mugler (currently the artistic director for Beyoncé's world tour). The show alone starts at €29, but you can also opt for Champagne, dinner or Sunday Brunch (food by Fouquet's).