The Pre-Christmas Program VI

photo: merry go-round hotel de ville
Back by popular request; spinning around
in front of the Hôtel de Ville.

Christmas and New Year's Eve Comments

Paris:- Friday, 11. December 1998:- The calendar must have been a bit different last year. This year I am behind myself when I look at last year's program at this time - or I am waiting for the next new program to come out this coming Tuesday.

In essence, last year's program is valid - except that there are new shows this year; the names of theatres, addresses and dates are correct - but I'm behind with the new names of the shows.

Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve are even pretty much the same. More than 70 well-known restaurants and clubs offer gala dinners for under 500 francs and there are some in the 300-franc range. Usually these festive menus do not include drinks, so you can add quite a bit to your bill unless you are a hydraulic.

The Cave Maillot has a New Year's Eve buffet for 240 francs and wine is dispensed by the glass for only 20 francs a shot. The evening includes some sort of music and a five-course dinner. It's at 7. rue Waldeck-Rousseau, Paris 17. The restaurant chain Chez Clément also has a reasonable multi-course menu for 200 francs, for either the evening of the 24th or lunch on the 25th.

Even the Hotel Prince de Galles is offering a menu for under 500 francs, but I'd watch the drink prices carefully here. There are a lot of other well-known establishments with offers in the under-500 franc range.

New Year's Eve is generally more expensive, to cover the cost of funny hats, a bit of tinsel and some music. More than 80 places are in the 500 to 1000-franc category. Champagne is often a necessity for New Year's, so remember to bring an extra 500 francs for a couple of bottles of this.

Getting into longer menus and more music and more of everything brings you into the 1000 to 1500-franc area. La Tour d'Argent and the Villa d'Este are here at around 1350 francs, along with 30 competitors.

Over 1500 francs sometimes puts you over everybody's heads by being at the top of the Tour Montparnasse or in the Jules Verne on the second level of the Tour Eiffel, which sounds reasonable for 1800 francs to start. In this category there are also famous restaurants such as Le Grand Vefour and Ledoyen; both around 2000 francs.

Winners of the cost-is-no-object theme are Les Ambassadeurs at 2500 francs, Laurent at 2800 francs and Maxim's at 3100 francs. A bottle of Champagne could cost 1500 francs at Maxim's, but what the heck! You only live once and you may only do this once in Paris.

Cabarets also serve some sort of menu, but the main thing is the show they put on; some costumed and others less so. For an example, the Lido is charging 800 francs for dinner and the show, or just the show with Champagne for 550 francs; tipphoto: passage du harve included. The point is, once in a place like this, it is hard to stop at just one half-bottle of Champagne.

The old and run-down Passage du Harve is now bright and glossy.

The Villa d'Este, just off the Champs-Elysées, seems to be typical. With a cabaret, gala dinner - about 700 francs for Christmas Eve and about 1400 francs for New Year's Eve.

But before you say this is all too stratosphérique, you can always head for the Cabeau de la Huchette on the Left Bank - open since 1946! - and get some really good music; all for 130 francs to get in and drinks starting from 38 francs a pop. In this class there are also La Chapelle des Lombards in the rue de Lappe, Le New Riverside and the Slow Club.

Finally, for true Paris fans, the Moulin Rouge puts on a 'Formidable' show on New Year's Eve for 2400 francs a person, which includes dinner, dancing and Champagne with a date. In your diary, note Thursday, 31. December, at 21:00. By the time you get around to paying, they might be accepting Euros.

Circus Time!

The 'Moscow On Ice' circus has excellent bear skaters. This show is half circus and half fancy ice-skating - trapeze acts on skates? Yes skates! - and trained monkeys too, in addition to clowns. Or maybe they are clowns dressed as monkeys? Or bears dressed as clowns? Until Sunday, 3. January, on the Pelouse de Reuilly in the Bois de Vincennes. Métro: Porte Dorée or Porte de Charenton. Info. Tel.: 01 49 87 32 32.

Pinder is the biggest circus, with a tent that can hold 4,500 spectators. Circus puro, with elephants and tigers, music and lights; and prices starting at a low 65 francs. Same date and location as above: the Pelouse de Reuilly. Info. Tel.: 01 43 44 09 09.

Arlette Gruss - who is the daughter of Alexis Gruss, is supposed to have the 'most beautiful' circus; trying to be as big as Pinder, but more sophisticated, more 'artistic.' And this is with two fake Opéra dancers, who get into heavyweight boxing, wearing tutus! Same location as above, but until Sunday, 20 December: the Pelouse de Reuilly. Info. Tel.: 01 43 44 22 62.

Alexis Gruss - is Arlette's father and he goes for 'classic' circus, elegant circus, circus with non-stop costumes and the main acts are done by dancing horses and lesser acts have lots of trained animals too. Until Sunday, 7. March; on the Pelouse de Madrid, in the Bois de Boulogne. Métro: Info. Tel.: 01 44 17 96 22.

Trapeze At Villette The 'Arts Sauts Company' has reinvented the trapeze in a new imaginary aerial space, one that will give you an urge to fly higher than usual too. Until Sunday, 17. January, at La Villette. Call for exact location: Info. Tel.: 08 03 07 50 75. Festival d'Art Sacré: - 'Les Femmes et le Sacré' is the subtitle of this series of concerts with singers, which continues to a midnight mass on Thursday, 24. December, with the Moscow Ice Circus, at their location on the Pelouse de Reuilly. Métro: Porte Dorée. Reservations can be made by writing to the 'Festival d'Art Sacré,' 14. rue de Madrid, 75008 Paris. Tickets are also available at fnac and the Virgin Megastore. Info. Tel.: 01 44 70 64 10. The program is a big one, and you might find details for it on Metropole's links page, at the official Paris Web sites. Two Rudolf Nureyevs or None

Although a bit misleading, there's nothing better than to celebrate the end of this year and the beginning of next than with two ballets choreographed by Rudolf Nureyev. [See the poster on the 'Scene' page.]

'La Bayadère' is at the new Opéra Bastille and 'Don Quichotte' is at the splendid Opéra Garnier, which everybody simply calls, 'the Opéra.' The first, from Monday, 7. December until Sunday, 16. January and the second, from Thursday, 24. December until Friday, 15. January.
Opéra Bastille and Opéra Garnier; one Info. Tel.: 08 36 69 78 68. Métros: Opéra and Bastille.

Sunday Shopping

All of the 'Grands Magazins,' which includes Samaritaine, BHV-Rivoli, Printemps, Galeries Lafayette and Bon Marché, will be also be open on the first three Sundays in December. This will extend weekend shopping hours, allowing Samaritaine, for example, to serve an extra 60,000 customers.

This year's Christmas program is below, and below it are the references to Metropole's own past seasonal features.

Events, Displays

Christmas Lights - Paris' Quarters:

From mid-November to January 1999:

Rue Royal - Opéra Quarter
Avenue Montaigne - from 15. November to 5. January
Champs-Elysées - from 26. November to 11. January
Avenue Vendôme - from 30. November to 5. January
Rue de la Paix - from 30. November to 5. January
Faubourg Saint-Honoré - from 1. December to 3. January

Hôtel de Ville Skating Rink - Patinoire - Eisbahn:

Place de la Hôtel de Ville: Christmas decor, with two merry-go-rounds at either end of ice-skating rink. No charge. Ice-skate rentals. From Tuesday, 15. December until 7. March 1999. Open from 9:00 to 22:00 daily.

Giant Ferris Wheel - Grande Roue - Riesenrad:

Place de la Concorde, Tuileries side. Panoramic view from the top. From 19. December until 3. January. Daily from 10:30 until 19:30.

Merry-go-rounds - Les Maneges de Noël - Karussel:

Two at the Hôtel de Ville, from 19. December to 3. January; daily from 10:30 to 19:30. No charge. Others located in most other Paris arrondissements.

Christmas Windows - Vitrines de Noël - Schaufenstern:

Bon Marché, Rive Gauche, 'Peau d'Ane;' at Galeries Lafayette, 'Le Ciel de Noël de Christian Lacroix;' La Samaritaine, 'Le Chocolat dans tous ses Eclats' and at Printemps, 'Basile, Jouet 'Fetische.'' From November to January 1999.

Christmas Mangers - Crèches - Krippen:

Noêl aux 5 Continents:

From the four corners of the world, 120 crèches representing voyages full of fantasy. At the Forum des Halles, 1 and 3, Grandphoto: libe gift selection Balcon, level -1. From 10:00 to 19:30 daily. Closed Sundays except for 6, 13 and 20. December. Open from 28. November to 2. January.

La Crèche du Vieux Paris:

Find yourself in the Christmas of medieval Paris as if it were 1491. Notre Dame is finally finished, shops and houses on the bridges; apothecaries, barrel makers -with more than 400 actors, some of them robots, in period costumes to animate this replica of another time. With narration by Jean-Pierre Coffe. In a heated circus tent at the place du Palais-Royal; daily from 10:00 to 20:00. Starts Friday 4. December and continues until 4. January. Reservations possible: Info. Tel.: 01 40 21 40 21.

La Crèche de Notre-Dame de Paris:

Inside a big tent, errected on the place in front of the church; entry from the church side. Daily from 10:00 to 19:30; on Tuesdays until 22:30. Daily from 5. December to 3. January. Entry charge: 35 francs; under 12 years, 25 francs.

Christmas Markets - Marchés de Noël - Weihnachtsmarkt:

Marché de Noël - Champs-Elysées:

Exhibition - market organized with traditional handcrafted items and products from Alsace, including decorations, breads and spices. 'Avent crowns.' From 28. November to 24. December; daily from 11:00 to 19:00; until 17:00 on 24. December. Maison d'Alsace, 39. avenue des Champs-Elysées, Paris 8.

Alsatian Noël At Gare de l'Est:

Reconstitution of two Alsatian villages, with timbered houses. Specialty food products from the region along with typical Christmas decorations, and Christmas trees crowned with stars; plus music boxes and Alsatian Chrristmas books. Saint-Nicolas gives goodies to the kids on Wednesdays from 10:00 to 19:00.

Gare de l'Est, suburban and long-distance train halls, Paris 10. From Tuesday, 6. December until Saturday, 19. December; daily from 9:00 to 20:00.

Christmas Concerts:

The Children's Choir of L'Ecole Sainte-Marie d'Antony, sing Noël under the direction of Père Giraud, with Georges Bassonnet on the organ. At the Saint- Germain-des-Prés church, 6. place Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris 6. Performance on Tuesday, 22. December at 20:30.

Concertsolo - by the Choir of the Russian Patriarch. 'Un Noël à Moscou' features ancient orthodox chants, liturgical choir and traditional Russian chants. Direction by Anatoly Grindenko. At the Saint-Louis-en-L'Ile church, 19 bis, rue Saint-Louis-en-L'Ile, Paris 4. On 25, 27. December and 1. January at 17:00 and on 26, 28. and 31. December at 20:45.

Candlelight Christmas Concert - featuring the Alegria Ensemble, performing 'Les Plus Beaux Noël au Moyen-Age et de la Renaissance.' At the Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre church, 23. quai de Montbello, Paris 5. On Sunday, 26. December, at 21:00.

Christmas Masses

Midnight Mass - with the participation of artists from the world of showbusiness; the 'Masters of Paris,' under the direction of Patrick Marco. At the Pelouse de Reuilly in the Bois de Vincennes, Paris 12. On Thursday, 24. December, at 23:30. Info. Tel.: 01 44 70 64 10.

Christmas Mass at Notre Dame - Thursday, 24. December, Mass of the Vigil at 18:30, 'Eve of Noël' about 21:00 and Midnight Mass at 24:00. On Christmas Day, 25. December, there will be masses at 8:00, 8:45, 10:00, 11:30, and possibly one at 12:30, and at 18:30.

Festival d'Art Sacré: - 'Les Femmes et le Sacré' is the subtitle of this series of concerts with singers, which begins Thursday, 19. November and continues to a midnight mass on Thursday, 24. December, with the Moscow Ice Circus, at their location on the Pelouse de Reuilly. Métro: Porte Dorée.

Reservations can be made by writing to the 'Festival d'Art Sacré,' 14. rue de Madrid, 75008 Paris. Tickets are also available at fnac and the Virgin Megastore. Info. Tel.: 01 44 70 64 10. The program is a big one, and you might find details for it on Metropole's links page, at the official Paris Web sites.

Metropole's Christmas Past in Paris:

Past Christmas' Season Features in Metropole at a Glance:

Anno 1997:

Metropole Issue 2.49 - 8. December 1997:

Metropole Issue 2.50 - 15. December 1997:

Metropole Issue 2.51 - 22. December 1997:

Metropole Issue 2.52 - 29. December 1997:

Anno 1996:

Metropole Issue 1.43 -
16. December 1996

  • Features: 'Shopping' on the Rue Saint Honoré,' 'Standing Around Waiting for Food' and 'Best Christmas Window Contest.'

Metropole Issue 1.44 - 23. December 1996

  • Feature: 'The Eating Season'

Metropole Issue 1.45 - 30. December 1996

  • Feature: 'New Year's in Paris'
Exotic Holiday Menus In Paris

It seems that I'm making too many promises I'm not keeping sophoto: lafayette reveillon I'll try not to fall down on this one. Next week, according to my plan, there will be some holiday menus here. In advance I give you permission to print them out, so a week should give you time to get flavored ink cartridges. Print the menus and then put them in a microwave, and while they're still hot, see how they taste.

The 'gourmet' selection at Galeries Lafayette is getting a lot of attention this year.

Those of you looking for other New Year's ideas will have to check out the past year's URLs above - I don't think anything really new for this year will be posted until this Tuesday. If some new items turn up, I expect it will be pretty much the same as always. The same old cabaret, Champagne, caviar and foie gras again. And fish! Must not forget fish.

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