Entries by Scott Dominic Carpenter (2)


Paris Events Calendar - December 2016

Note: More events will be listed throughout the month, check back!

Christmas Villages, Ice Skating & Ferris Wheel

Through December 27
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 350 wooden chalets, a small petting farm, a train (weekdays only), a Bavarian restaurant, and giant igloos housing créateurs...and don't miss the fabulous evening views over Paris! Open everyday, 11am-8pm (closed Dec 24th-25th)

 Through January 8
The annual Christmas Village on the Champs-Elysées includes over 180 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 noon-midnight (until 1:00 a.m. Friday and Saturday).

Through January 3
The Jardin d'Acclimatation offers a great series of holiday activities, from 11 am to 6 pm, Monday-Friday (till 7 pm on Saturday). If you have kids too young for Disneyland, this is a perfect alternative.  

December 14-January 2
The largest ice skating rink in Paris is opening once more under the glass dome of the Grand Palais des Glaces. Open 10am-2am (Christmas Eve and December 31st until 6pm); tickets €15-27 (depending on time of day) and €12 for kids. 

December 15 - February 19
Skate on the Eiffel Tower! This year the ice skating rink on the first level of the Eiffel Tower is back, 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), sleds and scooters for kids, gloves are required. This year's theme is Ice Hockey, though it will be less brutal than the NHL!

Through March 1st
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. 

December 1-16
There's nothing like Christmas in Alsace, but if you can't make it to Strasbourg the next best thing is the Marché de Noël Alsacien on the square in front of the Gare de L'Est Train Station (10th), 9am-8pm.  Pretzels, ginger bread, foie gras, vin chaud and many other regional specialities! 

December 3-11
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 Sat-Sun at 5:30pm. 

December 10-31
The Marché Noël de Montparnasse has 40 wooden chalets at the foot of the Montparnasse Tower, with gourmet foods, snacks and holiday gifts. Don't forget one of the best views of Paris is from the top of the Tour de Montparnasse, an excellent alternative to the Eiffel Tower for those who can't stand glass elevators and "open" platforms. 

December 15-early January 
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.

December 16-27
The Marché de Noël Notre Dame is across the river from the Cathedral on the Left Bank, in the little square Viviani (Quai Montebello, 5th). Chalets sell regional foods and crafts and artisan gifts. Open 10am-8pm, Fri-Sun until 9pm. 

December 18-March 6
The ice rink at the Hôtel de Ville is unfortunately on hiatus this year. However, a similar rink is available at Montparnasse. Free entry, €6 skate rental, gloves or mittens obligatory. Tlll 10 pm daily. 

December 26 - January 2
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 by reservation only for the holidays, La Festival du Merveilleux. Guided tours of 2 hours by an elf, where you'll get a chance to go on the rides and attend a magical music show. Tickets €16, tours daily (including Christmas), in French with an English handout. 10am -- 6pm 

December 24
Participate in Paris's take on the polar bear swim, La Coupe de Noël, on Christmas Eve in the Bassin de la Villette (19th). Up to 150 hardy swimmers can register for free (you need a medical certificate signed by your doc), and swim solo or with up to a team of 4. The 100-meter swim is for fun, not a race, so costumes are encouraged! 

Shows & Concerts

December 4-January 8
Book your places now for the English production of 42nd Street at the Châtelet Théâtre, a musical based on the financial crash of 1929. Reviews have been excellent, so expect this to sell out quickly! Tickets starting at €25 up to €79. Note that the website is in French, but the show is in English with French surtitles (above the stage). 

December 7-11
Winter is circus time in Paris! Lots of options--for example the Cirque du Soleil with this year's Varekai performance. At the Accorhotels arena (12e), seats from 37€ to 80€.

Until February 19
Quintessence -- another circus, at the the Alexis Gruss tents at the Porte de Passy (16e), from 20€ to 70€. Check out the teaser here.

Through February
See the complete list for other circus and circus-like spectacles. 

Arts & Crafts & Markets 

December 4-24
The Boutique Ephérmère is a market featuring 35 stands with 80 different designers from all over Europe who create unique gifts: stationary, jewelry, bags, and other fun accessories and gifts. Open December 3-4, 9-10-11, 16-17-18, and 21-22-23-24 from noon-8pm, At the Galerie Joseph, 7 rue Froissart, 3rd. Free entry.

December 3-4
The 12th annual Marché des Cadeaux Bio et Ecolo (Organic and Ecological Gift Fair) takes place this weekend at the Mutinerie Coworking (29 rue de Meaux, 19th, M° Colonel Fabien), €2 entry for adults, 30 different stands selling everything from handmade soaps and jewelry to home decor and gourmet food items. There will also be free workshops and live music. 

December 11
The Grand Marché de Noël (indoors) at the Palais de Congrès Porte Maillot donates 100% of the profits to the charity Mecenat Chirurgie Cardiaque Enfants du Monde. There will be many well-known brands selling their clothing, accessories, decor, toys and gourmet foods at a discount price, a great way to stock up on some holiday gifts for a good cause. Open 10am-6pm, free entry, live music and a café. 

December 8-11
The Carrousel du Louvre (the mall under the museum) is hosting the free Salon des Beaux Arts with 600 sculptors, painters, photographers, and other professional artists from around the world selected by the Société des Beaux Arts to participate. 

December 9, 10 , 11
The antique, vintage and design boutiques of the Village St-Paul are hosting a brocante this weekend,  shops and stands open 1:30am-7pm. Look for signs along the Rue St-Paul in the 4th. 

December 10 and 11
Just two days for the Norwegian Marché de Noël at La Recyclerie (right outside metro Porte de Clignancourt, 18th), from noon-8pm. Free entry. There are stands for food, drink, decor, and music.  

December 14-17
Shop for designer clothing, accessories and gifts at the annual Créateurs ont du Coeur (Designers have a Heart) event, where 200 have donated their items to be sold at 50-90% off their sticker price for the charity ARCAT (HIV/AIDES support). Braderie ARCAT, 11am-8pm (Saturday until 5pm) at the Bastille Design Center, 74 blvd Richard Lenoir, 11th, €2 entry.

December 16-17
The charity thrift store Emmaüs Alternatives is having its popular Vente au Kilo (Sale by the Kilo) of clothing and accessories at €10/kilo this weekend (Friday and Saturday) 10am-6pm at La Rotonde (Place de la Bataile Stalingrad, 19th). 

Food Events

December 3
Book your table at the Paris Shangri-La's monthly "100% Green" Gourmet Dinner served in the hotel's gorgeous Bauhinia restaurant, just €68/person (not including drinks), check out the vegetarian menu (PDF). This is an excellent mealeven if you're not vegetarian. I also recommend getting one of the "jars", a fresh fruit and vegetable smoothie cocktail (with alcohol in it) served in a mason jar.  

December 16-19
Noël Gourmand takes place in the Carrousel du Louvre (99 rue de Rivoli, 1st) from 10am-8pm (Monday closes at 6pm), the €10 entry includes an engraved wine glass (and free tastings), but you can also download a free entry on their website, fill out the info and print.  There are stands for wine, liqueur, cheeses, meats, seafood, chocolates, sweets, foie gras and all other kinds of French goodies. 

December 8
Le Food Market is a monthly open-air food festival on Boulevard Belleville (between metro Ménilmontant and Couronnes) with over a dozen stands serving up tasty dishes of all kinds (kind of like a gathering of static food trucks, but without the wheels) from 6pm-10:30pm. Expect lines, it's a popular event! You can also check out the event on FB.  

Daytrips from Paris

December 10-11
The town of Provins, with medieval ramparts making it a UNESCO listed village, hosts a two-day Marché de Noël Médiéval with a Living Nativity show in the church. You can easily catch the train from Paris to Provins for the day, but I should warn you it's pretty crowded! Two separate markets, one in the "upper" town that has a Medieval/Renaissance Fair style, and a more traditional French Marché de Noël in the "lower" town. In between is the Tour César, a tall dungeon tower that used to protect the city, and the church hosting the free Nativity Concert several times each day. There is no entry fee for the fairs, but there are long lines for the stands, especially the food, so be prepared with a picnic basket! 

Through December 31st
If you want to see the best and largest Christmas Market in France, don't miss the Marché de Noël de Strasbourg, in Alsace-Lorraine, where the entire city is decorated with a dozen separate markets, the towering Cathedral, and countless events throughout the month of December. It's a doable daytrip (2:15hrs by TGV from Paris), but I recommend staying overnight if you can to have time to visit the museums and enjoy the streets after the daytrippers have left. Avoid weekends if possible.  

Through January 3
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! There are even carriage rides on the grounds. Open the weekends of December 3-4, December 10-11, and every day from December 17-December 31 (closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day) from 10:30am-6pm. Entry €17.50 for adults, reserve in advance online (where you'll also find the schedule for the shuttle from Melun train station to the chateau). 

Other Paris Calendar Links


Paris Events Calendar - October 2016

FYI: Daylight Savings in France takes place at 3am October 30, 2016. 

October 1-2
The annual Nuit Blanche  "White Night" festival starts at sunset on Saturday and goes until sunrise on Sunday, with a diverse set of artistic events and shows scheduled predominantly on the Right Bank (with twoparcours, East and West), and a few "Off" events on the Left Bank, in parks, public spaces and sometimes cool venues like the Petit Ceinture (usually closed to the public). This year there are also a few bars and food trucks along the route, worth stopping in just for that! Free entry. Info in English on the city's website.

October 6
Don't miss the last magical Candlelit Evening at the Château Vaux-le-Vicomte, just an hour south of Paris by RER and shuttle. Visit the family-owned palace and gardens that inspired Versailles by candlelight, including dinner in the gardens (or bring your own picnic or book a table for a gourmet meal starting at €59) and a fireworks finale. Entry €19.50. 

October 1
Book your table at the Paris Shangri-La's monthly "100% Green" Gourmet Dinner served in the hotel's gorgeous Bauhinia restaurant, just €68/person (not including drinks), check out the vegetarian menu (PDF). This is an excellent meal even if you're not vegetarian. I also recommend getting one of the "jars", a fresh fruit and vegetable smoothie cocktail (with alcohol in it) served in a mason jar.  

October 1-2
Escape to a little island on the edge of Paris for the 92nd annual Foire de Chatou antique market. Formerly known as the Foire Nationale à la Brocante et aux Jambons (Ham and Flea Market), this popular twice-annual market has a mix of over 800 stands selling antiques and bric-a-brac, with an entire section dedicated to regional French foods, particulary pork in all its varieties. The Ile de Chatou, just north of Paris, also known as the Impressionists Island, is accessible via RER A from Charles-De-Gaulle-Etoile station in Paris, then either walk five minutes or take the free shuttle. Entry €6.  

October 1-2
Bestiaire is a free, open-air exhibit of fantastic, mythical, and surreal animals in paintings, sculptures and videos are on display in the gardens of the Hôpital Pitié Salpêtrière (83 blvd Hôpital, 13th), open free to the public daily 2-7pm, and during Nuit Blanche October 3rd from 7pm until 1am.

October 1-3
The 33rd annual funfair carnival, the Fête à Neu Neu, opens on August 30th in the Bois de Boulogne (Porte de la Muette, 16th, M° Rue de la Pompe). Open 4pm-midnight Mon, Tues, & Thurs; 2pm-midnight Wed & Fri; and noon to midnight Sat-Sun. Free entry, ATM, Vélib station, food tents and rides (tickets purchased onsite). 

October 6-8
The 16th annual Marché de l'Aveyron takes place for three days with over 100 food, wine and artisan stands from the Aveyron region of France. There will also be folk dancing and live music. Free entry, open 9am-10pm along the Rue de l'Aubrac, 12th, M° St-Emilion (near Bercy Village).  

October 6-16
Celebrate Oktoberfest in Paris all week long in a huge Bavarian-themed tent at the Porte de la Villette (19th), tickets €34-€44, including €15 of drink tickets.  There will be music, Bavarian Cancan dancers, and plenty to eat and drink. Dust off the lederhosen and be ready for fun! 

October 7-30
The largest antique market in Versailles takes place for three days for the Fête d'Automne, with 50 antique shops and art galleries celebrating the reign of Louis XIV (it's the 300th anniversary of his death).  SHops and stands along the Passage de la Geôle and Rue du Bailliage (northwest corner of the Marché Notre Dame, closest station is the Gare de Versailles Rive Droite direct from Paris' Gare St-Lazare). 

October 5-8
Head up to Montmartre for the 83rd annual Fête des Vendanges, the wine harvest festival (yes, there is an actual little vineyard in Montmartre, just behind the Musée Montmartre and across from the Lapin Agile Cabaret). There is grape stomping, food and wine tastings, fireworks, a parade, live music, and all kinds of fun throughout the "Butte". Many events are free, some you have to reserve a spot, so get to the website or stop by the little Montmartre Tourism Office at 21 Place du Tertre (18th). 

October 9-11
Over 100 Paris artists open their ateliers to the public for three days for the event ParisArtistes 2016. They are in different neighborhoods throughout the city, some in public buildings like the Couvent des Recollets in the 10th or la Villa Belleville. Free entry, check the website for the full schedule. 

October 8
Fashion Week is over, but you can still enjoy a bit of the glamorous Parisian fashion lifestyle at the Bristol Hotel's Fashion Saturdays, which includes a fashion show by one of the major fashion houses with Afternoon Tea (pastries, Champagne, teas, and finger foods). Entry is €70 per person. This week's show features Etro, from 2:30-4:30pm, in the Jardin Français Bar (112 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, 8th), RSVP 01 53 43 43 42.

October 10-11
Discover the latest up-and-coming French "créateurs" at the Hôtel Bohême, a pop-up sale of jewelry, accessories, clothing, decor, art, gifts and other goodies all made in France, with a particular focus on eco-friendly design and organic products. There are also gourmet sandwiches, salads and other snacks by Chloé Cuisine en Vert, making this more of an outing than just shopping. Free entry, open Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 11am-7pm. Address: 71 rue de la Fontaine au Roi, 11th, M° Parmentier, Goncourt or Couronnes.

October 16
The SOS Help English-language listening line is hosting its Autumn Book Sale today 12 pm to 4 pm. Orrick Law Offices, 31, avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, 16th, M° Alma-Marceau. Paperbacks are only 1€ and hard covers are 2€. They have books in every category, with a ton of general fiction, young adult, and children's books. Be sure to tell your friends about this great way to get inexpensive books, meet other people in the English-speaking community, and support this organisation. To donate books in good condition, simply bring them to the sale on Sunday. They will also have a bake sale where you can get all kinds of fabulous homemade sweet and savory goodies as well as perk up with a little coffee!

October 16
Watch some of the best international outdoor and adventure short films  at the European Outdoor Film Tour tonight at La Cigale from 8pm. There are 9 films for a total time of 120 minutes with a half hour break. See the trailer here.

October 14-15
The charity shop Emmaüs Alternatives (105 blvd Davout, 75020, M° Porte de Montreuil) is clearing out its stock of used men's, women's and children's clothing with a 5-day Kilo Sale, where everything is on sale for just €10 per kilo. Open 11am-7:45pm. 

October 14-15
Blending culture with social, Sinfonietta Paris brings you an evening of classical music, "Music by the Glass," Shostakovich: Trio for piano nº 1, op 8; Tchaikovsky: Trio for piano, op 50) -- exquisitely performed by SPCO musicians at the Institut Finlandais (behind the Cluny Medieval Museum, Latin Quarter). Sit closely to the performing artists; afterwards, enjoy an excellent cocktail reception with wine and mingle with musicians and fellow culture lovers. Presentation of the evening is in English and French. From 8-11pm. Tickets €25 (wine and hors d'oeuvres included). Register on the website; places limited.

October 14-16
One of the biggest flower shows of the season, Les Journées des Plantes de Courson is taking place at the Château de Chantilly, just 30 minutes north of Paris by RER. Over 200 exhibitors in a stunning setting with pretty flowers and plants, what's not to love? Buy your tickets in advance online to get the €17 entry fee (€20 at the door) or the €30 3-day pass. 

October 16, 22, 23
There are a number of neighborhood Vide-Grenier (attic sale) or brocantes (antique sales) throughout Paris this month. For info on these sales and others in Paris for any given date check the website Info-Brocante

October 20
Le Food Market is a monthly open-air food festival on Boulevard Belleville (between metro Ménilmontant and Couronnes) with over a dozen stands serving up tasty dishes of all kinds (kind of like a gathering of static food trucks, but without the wheels) from 6pm-10:30pm. The first two editions were VERY crowded, so get there early to avoid waiting (there are places to sit and eat if it's not cold/wet). You can also check out the event on FB.  

October 20-24
The 8ème Avenue show features 23 contemporary, urban and street art galleries under the tents along the Champs-Elysées, from Concorde to Clemenceau. Tickets €15, open 11am-8pm (Monday until 6pm). It's right next to the Art Elysées Art & Design Fair, so you can make a day of it if you combine shows. Galerie Mathgoth will be there, who represents Herakut, a German duo of street artists Hera and Akut, who did a mural in the 13th arrondissement this month (see video below):

HERAKUT from Galerie MATHGOTH on Vimeo.


October 21-30 A bit like a smaller, cozier 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. 

October 28
Ma Cocotte, the trendy Philippe Starck designed restaurant in the Marché aux Puces de St-Ouen hosts a monthly Apéro Voyance (Fortune-Telling Happy Hour), tonight from 7:30-11pm. From €25/person for the dinner menu, or €30 per couple for just the apéro. Reservations recommended: 01 49 51 70 00

October 28 - November 1
Stuff yourself with all kinds of chocolately goodies at the annual Salon du Chocolat, at the Paris-Expo - Porte de Versailles (metro line 12), 10am-7pm. Entrance €14. You can get advance tickets online or ask at your favorite chocolate shop if they have any extra invitations. Avoid the weekend unless you're a masochist! Here are some Salon du Chocolat tips from a previous article by Secrets of Paris intern Tara Oakes. 

October 27-29
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 €54,  three-day passes €120.

October 31 - Halloween in Paris!
Inspirelle Magazine has an article on Seven Spooky Haunts where you can Celebrate Halloween in Paris (and the countryside) for all ages. You can find some other ideas for Halloween (including costumes) in the 2013 article How to Halloween in Paris.

October 29 - Nov 15

On a charming, cobblestone street in Belleville, the East Parisian quartier of artists and ateliers, the Association pour l’Estampe et l’Art Populaire (print making atelier and gallery) hosts an annual festival commemorating the Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos in Spanish, or Les Jour des Morts en français), a typically called All Saints Day or Toussaint if you're Catholic. It's the festival on November 1st when we remember those who have passed on. In France, that means visiting the cemetery to put flowers on graves of loved ones. In Mexico the Dia de los Muertos is a colorful festival not just to remember the dead, but to remind ourselves to be thankful for the time we had with them, and our time left here on Earth. There is usually an altar where gifts of fruit and flowers are placed alongside candles and incense, and artworks with skeletons, aka calaveras in French. This Belleville atelier has both for their annual Jour des Morts, come check it out at their vernissage on October 28th from 6pm, or the exposition of artworks by different artists daily 3-8pm. 

Through November 25
The unforgettable Paris photos by legendary photographer Willy Ronis are on display in a free exhibition "Transmission" at the Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication (182, rue Saint Honoré), open Mon-Fri 8:30am-8pm.  


November 17-January 8
Book your seats now for 42nd Street, one of the last Broadway musicals showing at the Châtelet Theatre before it closes for renovations in February 2017. Tickets from €25. 

December 3
The 39th annual AAWE Bazaar at the American Church of Paris (65 Quai d'Orsay, 7th), a giant second-hand sale of quality clothes, jewelry, handbags, accessories, English books, toys, children's and baby clothes, white elephants, and baked goods. The Bazaar also continues the long tradition of American women coming together once a week to create and craft hand-made items, for sale at the Handicrafts table. Open 9:30am-7pm. Entrance €2, free for kids, proceeds go to charities in France and abroad helping women and children. 

Through December 31
Bartabas, the mystical horse trainer, is back with his Zingaro company of equestrian performers for the show "On Achève Bien les Anges" under the big top at Aubervilliers. A must for horse lovers looking for a magical evening. Tickets from FNAC or online, €42 (€21 for kids). Shows Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat at 8:30pm, and Sun at 5:30pm. 

Through January!
Are you a fanatic for the Tintin, the boy reporter -- along with Captain Haddock and Snowy? Now's your chance. There's a fantastic exhibit about the Tintin series (and about its author, Hergé), at the Grand Palais. More information at the Grand Palais website.

Other Paris Calendar Links