Paris Christmas Season

photo: barbie window, samaritaine

'Barbie's' window at Samaritaine - you have to look closely.

Dining and New Years Still To Come

Paris:- Saturday, 9. December 2000:- Like almost anywhere, Christmas and New Years in Paris are the affairs of friends and families. Paris' difference may be that these friends and families may have been here for a very long time.

But Paris is also one of the world's major crossroads. It stands to reason that many who are in the city at this time of year are without friends or families. If this is you, Paris considers that you are entitled to just as much seasonal cheer as residents enjoy - in fact, you can share it with them.

From what little I've seen of this year's Christmas windows, the crass commercialism of former years has been cut back. Without last year's 'fin de siècle' hoopla and even more local prosperity, Paris returns to its 'regular' festive program. This offers something for everyone. This ought to be more than enough.

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Christmas In Paris 2000

There are so many items, with some of them difficult to classify, that the following may be a bit of a hodge-podge. Mostly likely - look and ye shall find.

Christmas Lights -

  • Rue Royal, until the beginning of January
  • Avenue Montaigne, from 17:00 until midnight; until Friday, 5. January
  • Place Vendôme and Rue de la Paix, until Friday, 5. January
  • Avenue des Champs-Elysées, from 18:00; until Sunday, 31. December
  • Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

Christmas Windows -

  • Bon Marché, Rive Gauche, until Sunday, 26. December. At 24. Rue de Sèvres, Paris 7.
  • La Samaritaine, until Sunday, 31. December. At 19. Rue de la Monnaie, Paris 1.
  • Printemps, Haussmann, until Sunday, 31. December. Theme - 'Glam'rock.' At 64. Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9.
  • Aux Galeries Lafayette, until Sunday, 31. December. Theme - 'Alice au Pays des Merveilles' which is otherwise known as 'Wonderland.' At 40. Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9.

Neighborhoods - 'quartiers' - also put up their own light shows, usually on shopping streets, around markets, or even on the city halls of arrondissements - so you may run into lights of cheer wherever you go in the city. This applies to decorated windows too - with lots of shops having their own seasonal displays.

Ice Skating - the Hôtel de Ville's outdoor ice skating rink is back in the place in front of Paris' main city hall. At the moment it has the only ice in the city. Open daily forcover: nova twirling from 9:00 to a late 22:00; until 25. February. Skate rental. Métro: Hôtel de Ville.

Christmas Tree Forest - Paris fashion designers turn their hands to 80 Christmas trees, which can be seen at the place in front of the Pompidou art museum - or, inside the art warehouse itself. Closed Tuesday; open from 11:00 to 22:00; until Thursday, 4. January. Paris 4. Métro: Rambuteau.

Merry-Go-Rounds - one in each of Paris' 20 arrondissements, free for kids. This includes the 'Grand Roue de Paris' which operates from 11:00 to 00:30 daily and 11:00 to 00:45 on weekends at the Place de la Concorde. The merry-go-rounds - 'manèges' - operate from 10:30 to 19:30 daily; from Saturday, 23. December until Sunday, 7. January.

Un Conte de Noël - a Christmas Fable, by William Korso and Pierre-Alain Perez, features dancers, singers, jugglers and magicians. Until Sunday, 31. December. From one to three times daily, at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin, 16. Boulevard Saint-Martin, Paris 10. Métro: Strasbourg-St-Denis. InfoTel.: 08 92 69 90 00.

Le Mystère de Noël - is an opera of 3D images featuring religious art works, from Byzantine mosaics - to Rembrandt. Accompanied by sacred texts, classical music and gospels. Subtitles in English and Italian. Until Wednesday, 10. January, in the heated tent located on the Parvis in front of Notre Dame. Daily performances hourly from 13:00 to 19:00. Métro: Cité. InfoTel.: 01 56 56 44 23.

Marchés de Noël

Le Village de Père Noël - more than 40 wooden chalets have been set up to offer artisanal toys, cookies and other products. Until Sunday, 24. December; from 11:00 to 20:00. In front of the Gare Montparnasse, Paris 15. Métro: Montparnasse.

Le Monde des Enfants - tress and decorations, Santa Claus' house, rides and merry-go-rounds, at theposter: staline medodie, thr village of more than 70 chalets. Until Sunday, 7. January; from 11:00 to 20:00; 11:00 to 22:00 on Friday and Saturday. At the Place de la Bastille, on the Port de l'Arsenal side. Paris 4. Métro: Bastille.

L'Alsace Fête Noël - regional products from Alsace, representing its 'art de vivre,' are in the departure hall at the Gare de l'Est. Until Saturday, 16. December; from 6:00 to 20:00 and from 9:00 to 19:00 on Sunday. Gare de l'Est, Paris 10. Métro: Gare le d'Est.

Au Pays de Noël - festive products, attractions such as jazz concerts, fables, rollers, circus acts and another Santa Claus house. 'Nuit du Conte on Thursday, 21. December, from 17:00 to 02:00. From Saturday, 16. December until Sunday, 24. December; from 10:00 to 19:00 and from 10:00 to 22:00 on Fridays and Saturdays. At the Parc Floral de Paris, Route de la Pyramide, in the Bois de Vincennes, Paris 12. Métro: Château de Vincennes.

Grand Choir - of Saint Petersburg's Moussorgsky Theatre, will be singing in Russian and other European languages. At the Eglise Saint-Louis-en-l'Isle, 19 bis, Rue Saint-Louis-en-l'Isle, Paris 4. On Monday, 25. December at 17:00 and from Tuesday, 26. December to Saturday, 30. December at 20:45. The final concert takes place at the American Cathedral at 20:45 on Sunday, 31. December. At 23. Avenue George V, Paris 8. InfoTel.: 01 44 62 00 55.

Gregorian Ensemble - of Notre-Dame de Paris. Gregorian chants and French polyphones from the 11th century. On Friday, 29. December, at 20:30; at Notre Dame on the Ile de la Cite. Métro: Cité. InfoTel.: 01 42 34 56 10.

Handel's Messiah - performed by the National Philharmonic Orchestra, on Sunday, 31. December, at 20:30. At the Eglise de la Madeleine, Place de la Madeleine. Paris 8. Métro: Madeleine. InfoTel.: 08 03 80 58 03.

The other 'show,' on Sundays during December, consists of free concerts usually beginning at 16:00, performed on the Madeleine's very large and famous organ. I believe that there is also a Christmas Eve Midnight Mass on Sunday, 24. December - which is such a tradition that there is no mention of it. Tickets for this: at fnac, Virgin and agencies.

Festival d'Art Sacré - takes place for the 23rd time in the 10 Paris churches with antique organs, and in the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées - for a total of 20 performances, continuing until Saturday, 16. December. At the Saint-Eustache church, also see Bill Viola's video 'The Greeting,' until Sunday, 7. January. Order tickets from the Festival d'Art Sacré, 14. Rue de Madrid, 75008 Paris. Also available at fnac. InfoTel.: 01 44 70 70 64 10.

Orchestra de Paris - Krystian Zimerman performs Rachmaninov, Dvorak, under the direction of Wolfgang Sawallisch. From Wednesday, 20. December to Friday, 22. December; at 20:00; at the Salle Pleyel, 252. Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré, Paris 8. Métro: Ternes. InfoTel.: 01 45 61 65 89.

Orchestre National de France - under the direction of Hans Graf, Elzbieta Szmytka sings Ravel, Szymanowski and Bartok, with the Radio France Choir. On Thursday, 21. December, at 20:00. In the Salle Olivier Messiaen at the Maison de Radio France, 116. Avenue du President Kennedy, Paris 16. Métro: closest is Ranelagh. InfoTel.: 01 56 40 15 16.

Le Quatuor - with 'Il Pleut des Cordes,' directed by Alain Sachs. Featuring Laurent Vercambre et Jean-Claude Camors on violins and Pierre Ganem, alto. Laurent Cirade, violoncello. Performing Schubert, Mozart and Lemarque. Théâtre du Châtelet, 1. Place du Châtelet, Paris 1. Métro: Châtelet. InfoTel.: 01 40 28 28 40.

Casse-Noisette - is the 'Nutcracker Suite' as performed by leading artists of the Ballet of the Paris Opéra. Choreography by Nurevev, music by Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky. Until Sunday, 24. December; on the 16th at 14:30 and 20:00; on the 19th, 20th and 23rd at 19:30; on the 24th at 15:00. Opéra, Bastille, 2 bis. Place de la Bastille, Paris 12. Métro: Bastille. InfoTel.: 08 36 69 78 68.

Joyaux - by George Balanchine, is a new production featuring the opera's first dance team. Music for 'Rubis' is by Igor Stravinsky and the music for 'Diamants' is by Tchaikovsky. At 19:30 on the following days in December: the 15th, 16th, 19th, 2Oth, 21st, 26th, 27th, 28th, 29th and 30th. At 17:00 on Sunday, 17. December. Opéra Palais Garnier, Place de l'Opéra, Paris 9. Métro: Opéra. InfoTel.: 08 36 69 78 68.

Grupo Corpo - Choreography by Rodrigo Perderneiras. Music for 'Parabelo' by Tom Zé andposter: theatre jemmapes José Miguel Wisnik. Music for 'O Corpo' by Arnaldo Antunes. From Monday, 18. December until Sunday, 24. December; at 20:00. Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 15. Avenue Montaigne, Paris 8. Métro: Place de l'Alma. InfoTel.: 01 49 52 50 50.

Pietragalla - dances in solo, with choreography by Carolyn Carlson. From Monday, 18. December until Sunday, 24. December; at 20:30. At the Olympia, 28. Boulevard des Capucines, Paris 9. Métro: Madeleine. InfoTel.: 01 47 42 25 49.

Juana la Loca - as performed by Sara Baras Flamenco Ballet, with music by the Grupo Flamenco Sara Baras. From Wednesday, 27. December - including Sunday, 31. December - until Sunday, 7. January; at 20:00. Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 15. Avenue Montaigne, Paris 8. Métro: Place de l'Alma. InfoTel.: 01 49 52 50 50.

La Flute Enchanté - with the orchestra and chorus of the Opéra. Alternate direction by Ivan Fischer and Stéphane Denève. Until Saturday, 6. January. On the following days at 19:30; the 18th, 22nd, 23rd and 24th. On the 25th at 15:00. Opéra Palais Garnier, Place de l'Opéra, Paris 9. Métro: Opéra. InfoTel.: 08 36 69 78 68.

La Chauve-Souris - otherwise, the 'Bat,' by Johann Strauss, with the orchestra and chorus of the Opéra. Directed by Coline Serreau. Until Sunday, 21. January. At 19:30 on the following days; the 14th, 18th, 21st, 22nd, 25th, 27th, 29th, 30th, and 31st. At 16:00 on Sunday, 17. December. Opéra, Bastille, 2 bis. Place de la Bastille, Paris 12. Métro: Bastille. InfoTel.: 08 36 69 78 68.

How Could This Happen? - 'La Nativité' by John Adams, directed by Peter Sellers. Théâtre du Châtelet, 1. Place du Châtelet, Paris 11. Métro: Châtelet. InfoTel.: 01 40 28 28 40.

Alexis Gruss - after 26 years of the 'Cirque à l'Ancienne' which follows a tradition established in 1770, to have lots of horses clowns, balancing acts and jugglers. On Wednesdays at 14:00; at 14:00 and 20:30 on Saturday and 14:00 and 17:15 on Sunday. Daily at 14:00 during school holidays. Until 25. February, at the Allée de la Reine Marguerite in the Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16. InfoTel.: 01 40 36 08 00.

Cirque Phenix - is the gypsy circus 'en liberté,' which means its tent has no interior poles. With musicians and violins and acrobats. Until Saturday, 23. December at 14:30 and 21:00 on Wednesday; at 14:00, 17:00 and 21:00 on Saturday, and 10:30, 14:00 and 17:00 on Sunday. Then until Sunday, 7. January at 15:00 and 21:00 on Wednesday ans Saturday. On the Pelouse de Reuilly, Paris 12. Métro: Porte de Charanton or Porte Dorée. InfoTel.: 01 56 29 19 18.

Cirque Joseph Bouglione - features 'Le Songe d'une Nuit d'Ete,' from Monday, 25. December until 18. February. To be located in the Square Alexandre et René Parodi, which is opposite the Palais des Congrès. Paris 16. Métro: Porte Maillot. InfoTel.: 06 80 11 11 98.

L'Air de Paris - is a musical revue by Jacques Pessis, directed by Thierry Harcourt and features Patrickposter: barouf, theatre 13 Dupond, Manon Landowski and Olivier Benard. Except Monday, daily at 20:30 and at 15:00 on Sundays. Espace Pierre Cardin, 1-3. Avenue Gabriel, Paris 8. Métro: Place de la Concorde. InfoTel.: 01 42 65 27 35.

Musiques et Danses Viennoises - Viennese waltzes with the Budapest Strauss Symphony Orchestra. Only on Monday 18. December at 15:00; and Tuesday, 19. December at 15:00 and 20:30. At the Zenith, 211. Avenue Jean-Jaurés, Paris 19. Métro: Porte de Pantin. InfoTel.: 08 03 02 00 40.

Grand Bal - is a big dance for spectators and dancers which is supposed to be 'at the Palais' but is really at the POPB. This starts at 19:30 on Tuesday, 19. December. At Bercy, 8. Boulevard de Bercy, Paris 12. Métro: Bercy. InfoTel.: 08 25 03 00 31.

La Dame aux Camelias - by Alexandre Dumas, Fils. Directed by Alfredo Arias, this piece marks the end of a long absence for Isabelle Adjani. Except Mondays, at 20:30; 16:00 and 20:30 on Saturday and at 16:00 on Sunday. Théâtre Marigny, Carré Marigny, Paris 8. Métro: Champs-Elysées-Clemenceau. InfoTel.: 01 53 96 70 00.

Hamlet - by Bill Shakespeare and directed by Peter Brook. With subtitles in French. Except Sunday and Monday, daily at 20:00 and 15:00 on Saturday. Théâtre des Bouffes du Nord, 37 bis. Boulevard de la Chapelle, Paris 10. Métro: La Chapelle. InfoTel.: 01 46 07 34 50.

poster: theatre villette This section remains to be updated for the 2000/2001 season. I hope to do this during the week, but at the latest it will be done for next week's issue.

However, for a preview, this following is from last year's Metropole guide. The reason for including it is twofold - it is still Paris' oldest restaurant and it hasn't upped its price for this year.

"You can dine well at Paris' oldest restaurant, at the Auberge Nicolas Flamel for 295 francs. Besides age, this restaurant's other claim to fame is its wine list, which has very 'big' names at very competitive prices. 51. Rue de Montmorency, Paris 3."

Paris has its 'big names' for the 'good stuff.' It also has its 'small names' for equally 'good stuff,' but I don't know these - therefore only the biggest of the 'big names.' For these, make sure your 'plastic' is gold:

  • Dalloyau - out of five locations, here are two: 25. Boulevard des Capucines, Paris 2 and 101. Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris 8.
  • Fauchon - only one address: 26. Place de la Madeleine, Paris 8.
  • La Grande Epicerie de Paris - in the Bon Marché, 38. Rue de Sèvres, Paris 7.
  • Hédiard - out of six locations, here are two: 21. Place de la Madeleine, Paris 8 and 31. Avenue Georges V, Paris 8.
  • Lenôtre - out of four locations, here are two: 61. Rue Lecourbe, Paris 15 and 44. Rue d'Auteuil, Paris 16.
Anno 1999:

Last year was somewhat confusing because Paris decided it was changing the century and the millennium, so there was a big program for this year-early fête - which was quite successful.

However, all the hoopla for it subtracted a bit from Paris' usual seasonal program - and caused Metropole to have three weekly 'Scene' columns for a number of issues. Once was enough, so the 'Millennium Party' is not official this year.

Metropole Issue 4.51 - 20. December 1999:

Metropole Issue 4.52 - 27. December 1999:

Anno 1998:

Metropole Issue 3.48 - 30. November 1998:

Metropole Issue 3.49 - 7. December 1998:

Metropole Issue 3.50 - 14. December 1998:

Metropole Issue 3.51 - 21. December 1998:

Metropole Issue 3.52 - 28. December 1998:

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'
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