Paris Events Calendar - December 2014

Christmas Villages, Ice Skating & Ferris Wheel

Through January 4
The annual Christmas Village on the Champs-Elysées includes over 200 chalets selling holiday gifts, local specialties, mulled wine, warm hats and gloves, toys, jewelry and every kind of sweet imaginable. There is also a fun Olympic-sized ice skating rink, amusement park rides for kids and Santa visits. There's a hand-made 11-meter tall Eiffel Tower and a "Village des Artisans" dedicated to handcrafted items made in France. A great place to wander with an appetite and a Christmas shopping list! I made a Christmas Village video three years ago, but this year's is much better in terms of quality and variety. Open daily 11am-11pm (until midnight Friday and Saturday).

December 2 - January 3
A small "Village du Père Noël" with 30 chalets is set up outside Eglise St-Germain des Prés, open daily 11am-9pm. 

Through December 28
The largest Christmas Village in the region is the Marché de Noël de La Défense, on the Parvis de la Défense (line 1 metro), with over 300 wooden chalets, a Bavarian restaurant, and giant igloos housing créateurs...and don't miss the fabulous evening views over Paris! Open Sun-Turs 11am-8:30pm, Fri 11am-9pm, Sat 10am-9pm (until 6pm on Dec 24th). (closed Dec 25th)

December 6-14
The annual Féeries d’Auteuil takes place at the non-profit children's organization Apprentis d'Auteuil (40 rue Jean de la Fontaine, 16th, M° Jasmin or Eglise d'Auteuil) with a Christmas market, food stands, flea market, concerts, vintage carrousel and nativity scenes, from 11am-7pm. Live singing performances on St-Sun at 5:30pm. 

December 11-22
The Marché de Noël "Paris Notre Dame" features French artisan crafts and gourmet regional foods at this market across the river from Notre Dame Cathedral in the  Square Viviani (Quai Montebello, 5th). Open daily 10am-8pm.

December 4-19
The "Marché de Noël Alsacien" takes place at the Gare de l'Est celebrating gourmet food specialties from the Alsace-Lorraine region of France. Open Mon-Sat 9am-8pm, Sunday 10am-7pm. 

December 1 - January 3
A small "Marché de Noël" of a dozen stands set up outside the Italie 2 Shopping Mall at Place d'Italie (13th). 

December 4 - 31
The "Marché de Noêl de Montparnasse" includes 40 wooden chalets of food and gifts at the foot of the Montparnasse Tower, open daily. 

December 8 - February 15
Skate on the Eiffel Tower! There is an ice skating rink on the first level of the Eiffel Tower, free for those who already have a ticket for the Tower, open daily 10:30am-10:30pm. Skip the line by taking the stairs, it will help you warm up, too! Skates size 25-47 (EU), gloves are required. 

December 14 - January 4
The Grand Palais is hosting the largest indoor skating rink in France Le Grand Palais des Glaces beneath their glass and steel dome. Open daily from 10am until 8pm (earlier on the first two days and Christmas and New Year's Eve, check the schedule) and then in the evening from 9pm-2am with DJ and sound/light show. There is also hot drink and snack stands (sponsored by Ferro Rocher, whose name is all over the place). Kids 3-12 are €10, adults €15, and night entrance is €25 (price is with or without skates). Bag/coat check is €2/item. Tickets can be purchased online in advance. 

December 20-January 4
All of the Manèges, aka Carrousels de Paris, in the 3rd through 20th arrondissements of Paris are free for children for the holidays (my favorite is in the Jardins du Trocadéro, but the lines are longest). See the full list here. Open daily 11am-9pm.

Through February 15
At the Place de la Concorde is the Grande Roue Ferris Wheel. Each enclosed "car" holds six people. €10 for adult, €5 for kids under 10, open daily 11am-midnight (Fri-Sat until 1am).  

December 20 - March 1
The Patinoire de Paris is a large ice skating rink in front of Hôtel de Ville. Free entry, €5 skate rental, gloves or mittens obligatory. 

December 26 - January 4
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, open to the public for the holidays, La Festival du Merveilleux. Expect crowds, get there early and dress warmly! Open 10am-6pm, €12 entrance, €5 for kids under 12. 



Daytrips from Paris

November 30-January 5
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! And this year there's a special Snow White show for the whole family. Open the weekends of November 29-30, December 6-7, December 13-14, and every day from December 20-January 4th (closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day) from 10:30am-6pm. Entry €17.50; entry plus Snow White show from €22. 

Special Shopping Events

December 5-8
The Salon Saveurs des Plaisirs Gourmands takes place at the Espace Champerret with a "Marché de Noël" theme, 350 stands, and a pavillion dedicated to Italian foods.  Tickets are €10, print them off at home. 

December 9-14
A special créateurs clothing and accessories market selling direct to the consumers, the next Les Filles en Aiguille takes place at the Espace Beaurepaire (28 rue Beaurepaire, 10th), noon-8pm (Friday-Sat until 9pm). Free entry.

December 10-14
"Le Noël des Créateurs", highlights up-and-coming designers and artisans selling ther crafts "Made in France". Come for original and unique holiday gifts! You'll find 15 chalets along the Petit Ceinture (former railway) at Located at 83 boulevard Ornano, 18th (direct access to the Petite Ceinture through la Recyclerie, right outside metro Porte de Clignancourt).

December 12-14
The Noël en Bio organic market takes place at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Porte de la Villette, Paris 19ème (M° Porte de la Villette), features organic and fair-trade products, toys, gifts and holiday decorations. Free entry, from 10:30am-7:30pm (until 6:30 on the 14th). 

December 14
Home decor and clothing by young desingers and  famous brands sold at a discount to benefit the homeless children's charity Promethée Humanitaire. At the Espace Commines, 17 rue des Commines, 3rd) from 10am-6:30pm. Entry €2.

December 20-21
La Bellevilloise is hosting a Christmas Vintage Market from 10am-8pm, with vintage clothing, records, home decor, retro hair stylist, entertainment, and other fun surprises for anyone who wants to embrace the vintage spirit this Christmas. €2 entry. Le Forum du Bellevilloise, 21 rue Boyer, M° Gambetta.

December 20-21
The Village St-Paul (entrances along Rue St Paul, 4th) is having its winter brocante (flea market) this weekend, with outdoor stands in addition to the antique and vintage shops and other fun shops in the cobblestone courtyards. 


Through December 4
Don't miss the free photography exhibition The Manhattan Darkroom: Photos of Henri Dauman at the Palais d'Iéna, a gorgeous neo-classic monument near the Place Trocadéro that is rarely open to the public. Open daily (see website for hours). 

Through January 11
The Kama-Sutra: Spirituality and Eroticism in Indian Art  explores one of the major texts of medieval Hinduism. Not recommended for anyone under 18 years, this exhibit at the excellent Pinacothèque de Paris (at the Place de la Madeleine) explores the erotic aesthetics specific to Indian cultural life and Hinduism through over 350 artworks including sculptures, paintings, miniatures, objects of daily life, and “pillow books”, illustrated "erotic education" works that were offered to the newlyweds until the 19th century. 

Through February 14
The Art of Love in the Time of Geishas In tandem with the exhibition Kama-Sutra, the Pinacothèque de Paris is also hosting an exhibition exploring the singular approach to erotic life and culture in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1867). You can get a special discount by visiting both Pinacothèque exhibitions within the same day, available only directly at their ticket window.  

Shows & Concerts

December 5-6
Blending culture with social, Sinfonietta Paris brings you two wintery evenings of warm and luminous chamber music by Robert Schumann exquisitely performed by SPCO artists Rika Masato and Askar Ishangaliyev for an engaging and sensational experience. The Friday evening concert will be hosted by the Finnish Institute in the Latin Quarter, and the Saturday evening concert will be hosted in the intimacy of a beautiful private residence in Paris. Sit closely to the performing artists; afterwards, enjoy an excellent presentation of wine and mingle with musicians and fellow culture lovers. From 8-11pm. Tickets €25 (wine and hors d'oeuvres included). The address for the Saturday performance will be mailed once confirmed. Register on the website; places limited to 40 participants. 

December 17-21
The 6th annual Paris Burlesque Festival takes place this year at the Centre Barbara FGO and La Java Nightclub under the theme: "Burlesque & Politics: Pin-Ups Take Power!" In their usual fashion, this festival highlights local and international burlesque acts that mix humor, satire, and a very raunchy blend of sexiness in all genres. he opening night is the election of "Miss PBF 2014" followed by three nights of La Grande Revue performances (twice nightly) and an all-night dance party with live bands and performers at La Java (Naughty Paris will be there!). Get your tickets online in advance (seated "assis" spots go fast!). Whet your appetite by reading our article from the 2012 edition

Through December 21
The newest musical comedy at the historic Folies Bergère is 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 below). Love Circus is the perfect alternative to the Moulin Rouge (including its busloads of tourists and high prices). Tickets €29-€84 (by seating area), no dinner included, discounts for booking online.  

Through January 31st
Thierry Mugler, who dressed all of the supermodels in the 1990s, has created a sexy, contemporary stage show Mugler Follies à la Cirque du Soleil with a talented troupe of dancers, acrobats, singers and performers paying homage to the human body in all its beauty. Expect pop music and over-the-top glamour as only this legendary French couturier can do. There are evening and daytime shows, with a full meal (catered by Fouquet's), Champagne, or just a seat. Tickets €39-€156. 

Through January 11
Nostalgic for the soulful songs of the legendary Parisian chanteuse Edith Piaf? Book a tabe now at sexy cabaret singer Caroline Nin's "Hymne à Piaf", a show using English storytelling and songs en français to remember one of the greatest French singers of all time. Shows are Thursday Dec 11, 18 and Jan 8 at 7:30pm; Sundays Dec 21, 28, and Jan 4, 11 at 6pm and 8pm; and a special New Year's Eve show with Champagne on Dec 31st at 8:45pm. Shows take place at the intimate Essaïon Theatre (6 rue Pierre au Lard, in the Marais, 4th). Tickets are €20-€80. 

Other Fun Events

December 7
Attention busy ladies and working moms: think you have time to take care of yourself? Fit to Inspire aims to change your mind with a worldwide "Holiday Waddle" event to walk off holiday stress and help benefit Operation Smile. The Paris walk takes place today from 3-5pm starting at the Henri IV statue (western tip of the Ile de la Cité, on the Pont Neuf). Entry is free, donations to Operation Smile optional. I'll be there! 

December 13
Enjoy a swanky afternoon of cocktails, tea and tasty treats while supporting the campaign to end violence against women at Tea & Tipples Holiday Edition for Charity, the latest event of the private cocktail club The Chamber taking place in a secret location, open to members for €34 or non-members (spaces limited) for €54. 

December 14
The Popcorn Project is hosting their film club Brunch de Noël today at the Club de l'Etoile. The program includes TWO screenings of the 1993 Jon Candy film Cool Runnings (Rasta Rockett in French), one for early risers at 11am and one for late risers after brunch at 2:30pm. In between (at 1pm) there will be brunch buffet and Champagne provided by Eat My Truck (gourmet hotdogs), GÜ Desserts, and Tropicana, with entertainment by DJ Aldrich. It's a fun social event for just €35. 

Other Paris Calendar Links


Paris Events Calendar - November 2014

November 1-30
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 NaNoWriMoNanowrimo 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.

November 2
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). 

November 2
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.

November 4- December 4
Don't miss the free photography exhibition The Manhattan Darkroom: Photos of Henri Dauman at the Palais d'Iéna, a gorgeous neo-classic monument near the Place Trocadéro that is rarely open to the public. Open daily (see website for hours). 

November 5
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.  

November 5-8
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. 

November 8-16
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. 

November 8-11
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. 

November 8
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.

November 8-9
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. 

November 14-15
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. 

November 14-16
Looking for unique items made in France? Check out the Made in France Expo at Paris Expo-Porte de Versailles to visit over 300 stands in all sectors (food, clothing, home decor, high-tech). The entry is €0, but you can get that reimbursed at the first stand where you make a purchase, or you can get a free invitation by registering in advance on their website

November 18-24
The 11th annual Frimousse des Créateurs is a special auction of dolls decorated by famous designers and artists to benefit UNICEF. They will be on display (free entry) at the Théâtre du Châtelet until November 23, and the auction takes place on November 24.

November 19-23
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). 

November 19-23 and December 5-8
here are two long weekends in Paris for the Salon Saveurs des Plaisirs Gourmands. First, in November at the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles, with over 150 stands of fine gourmet goods, the finale of the French Championship of Amateur Chefs, and a little food truck village. Then in December at the Espace Champerret with a "Marché de Noël" theme, 350 stands, and a pavillion dedicated to Italian foods.  Tickets are €10, print them off at home. 

November 20
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 (read the 2014 update here)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. 

November 20
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

November 22
The Chamber is a private cocktail club that organizes special events for guests. Today is Tea & Tipples from 3-5pm: "
We'll have afternoon-appropriate cocktails, bubbles, soft drinks, sweet and savory snacks by Gateaux Mama and, of course, tea. This is not your granny's teatime. Or maybe it is….if you're granny is devilishly divine, enjoys a nip or two and lives in a gorgeous apartment to which she invites her fabulous friends." This event takes place in a private residence on Montmartre. Details on location will be forwarded upon confirmation of attendance. The event is limited to a maximum of 12 guests. €54 for non-members.

November 22
Tonight is a unique opportunity to combine wine/Champagne tasting with a live musical performance of the works of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini, Strauss, etc. Organized by Philippe Catz of Vinissime  (wine tasting classes in the Butte aux Cailles) at the Studio International des Arts de la Scène (16 rue de l'Espérance, 13th, M° Corvisart or Place d'Italie), the performers are Cherise Lukow (soprano), Nana Sawauchi (Soprano), Christophe Caul (Tenor), Julien Rouquès (Barritone) and Karl Baraquin (pianist). There will be a selection of wines and Chapagnes (with written tasting commentary provided in English for those who don't understand French). It starts at 8:30pm and is €40/person (or €70 per couple, €25 per student). RSVP and register online here.

November 27-November 30
Get in the winter spirit in St-Germain-des-Près, where Rue Princesse and Rue Guisarde have been transformed into "
Saint-Germain-des Neiges ski station", with snow, chalets and activities promoting skiing holidays in France. Free entry. 

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). 

Through January 4
The enormous Village et Marché de Noël des Champs-Elysées is back for another Christmas season of vin chaud, regional specialties, warm mittens and tons of original gift ideas in the Artisan Village. There are also food stands, ice skating, little rides for kids, Santa appearances, and of course the giant Ferris Wheel, La Grande Roue de Paris, at the Place de la Concorde. Open daily noon-midnight, no entry fee. From the Place de la Concorde until the Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées.