Not the Full Program

photo: lafayette window, 7 nov

One of Galeries Lafayette's windows that opened
last Thursday.

Noël 2OO2 in Paris

Paris:- Saturday, 9. November 2002:- When I picked up the events 'futures' at the beginning of the month, it looked like it was a rich mine full of Christmas season nuggets. Considering what is here this week it is not too bad, but it is pretty shabby compared to last year's program.

'Last year's program' first appeared four weeks later in the year than today's column, so I guess I shouldn't grumble about having nothing about choirs, Christmas trees, seasonal tours, special exhibitions - plus not much about crèches, and nothing at all concerning the New Years Day parade. These, I assume, will turn up when they are ready.

Last year there was a bit of confusion with the 'Year 2000' festivities and a number of eager people turned up at the Tour Eiffel to see the New Years Eve fireworks. The next edition of these is scheduled for the 'Year 3000' festivities. In the meantime, a zillion euros-worth of fireworks are shot off every year on Bastille Day, which is always on the 14th of July.

Paris Lights Up

The following list only contains Paris' **BIG LIGHTS** and does not take into account all of the local quarters that put up their own lights too, to take the climatic gloom off the season and basically make the food look better and more irresistable. The same thing goes for shop windows - many merchants dress them up for you and the fête.

  • Avenue des Champs-Elysées, from the last weekend of November until the beginning of January. From the Etoile to Concorde, with 135,000 colored lights strung along 2.5 kilometres
  • Rue Royal, from last week of November until the 2nd week of January
  • Place Vendôme, Rue Castiglione and Rue de la Paix, from Friday, 29. November until Sunday, 5. January
  • Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, from Rue Royal to Avenue Montaigne, from Friday, 29. November until Monday, 6. January
  • Place des Victoires, Rues Montorgueil and Petits Carreaux - during December
  • Montmartre Quarter, on the Butte and in the Rue Lepic-Abbesses areas, during December
Christmas Windows
  • La Samaritaine's window theme is Santa's suit revisited by the students of the Berçot school. Until the end of. December. At 19. Rue de la Monnaie, Paris 1.
  • The Bon Marché on the Left Bank has ten animated windows showing how the 'Boule de Noël' is made. At 24. Rue de Sèvres, Paris 7.
  • Printemps, Haussmann, until Tuesday, 7. January. Themes - all display windows are decorated to the hilt. 64. Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9.
  • Aux Galeries Lafayette, until Monday, 6. January. The whole building has a dress of light, which was lit up on Thursday, 7. November, above my head. The window themes, designed by David Belugou, are traditional children's fables. At 40. Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9.
  • At the BHV, from Monday until the end of December. Theme - 'La Forêt Imaginée,' featuring three major designers, with a 6th floor expo-sale of objects by one of them, DuPont Corian. At 52. Rue de Rivoli, Paris 4.
Christmas Markets - Marchés de Noël
  • L'Alsace, Gare de l'Est - from Tuesday, 3. December to Sunday, 15. December
  • Village de Noël, Gare Montparnasse - from Tuesday, 3. December to Tuesday, 31. December
  • Marche de Noël, Place de la Nation - from Thursday, 5. December to Tuesday, 24. December
  • Le Chemin de Lumière, Les Halls en Fête - from Friday, 6. December to Sunday, 29. December
  • Marché de Noël, at Palais-Royal - from Friday, 6. December to Tuesday, 31. December
  • Marché de Noël de l'UNAPEI, at Saint-Sulpice - from Thursday, 12. December to Sunday, 15. December
  • Marché de Noël, Ménilmontant - from Thursday, 12. December to Sunday, 15. December, from 8:00 to 20:00. Place de Ménilmontant or Place Maurice Chevalier. Also a 'live' crèche from Friday to Sunday in front of the Eglise Notre-Dame de la Croix
Crêches in Paris

Crêche - the big one is at Notre Dame cathedral, beginning on Thursday, 5. December with the theme of 'Angels and Peace.' It continues until the end of January. Daily from 8:30 until 19:00. Cathédrale de Notre-Dame, 6. Place du Parvis-Notre-Dame, Paris 4.

Paris On Ice - the Hôtel de Ville's outdoor ice skating rink will be back in the place in front of Paris' main city hall. The rink opens on Saturday, 14 December and will bephoto: lafayette building open daily for twirling - from 9:00 to a late 22:00, continuing until late in February. Métro: Hôtel de Ville. Smaller rinks will also operate from 9:00 to 20:00 at the Place de Stalingrad in the 19th arrondissement and in front of the Gare Montparnasse in the 15th arrondissement. Skates will be available for rent.

La Défense On Ice - info is scanty about this but it happened last year in December too. Near the skating rink, a huge cluster of wooden huts housing a vast Marché de Noël located on the much larger wind-swept prairie of the 'Parvis,' overlooked by the Grande Arche. RER 'A' and métro: Grande Arche de La Défense. InfoTel.: 01 47 74 84 24.

La Parade des Petits Soldats - is an exhibition for kid's dreams with 5000 lead soldiers that were once for play but are now only seen in collections. This exhibition has musical accompaniment. From Tuesday, 17. December until 30. March 2003. From 10:00 to 17:00, except for the 1st Monday of the month. At the Musée de l'Armée, Hôtel des Invalides, 129. Rue de Grenelle, Paris 7. Métro: La Tour-Maubourg or Varenne. InfoTel.: 01 44 42 37 72.

The Merry-Go-Rounds

Merry-Go-Rounds - are in most of Paris' 20 arrondissements, with two in front of the Hôtel de Ville that keep on twirling from Saturday, 7. December until March. Rides are free for kids. The other merry-go-rounds - 'manèges' - operate from Saturday, 21. December until Sunday, 5. January. Daily from 10:30 to 19:30.

"Le Cirque" - celebrates the 150 years of the Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione with all the stops pulled out, including a special anniversary evening on Wednesday, 11. December with Michel Serrault. Continuing until Sunday, 26. January. At 14:00 and 17:00 Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday plus daily during school holidays from Sunday, 22. Decemberphoto: samaritaine jouets until Sunday, 5. January. At 20:30 on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. No shows on Monday and Thursday, except during school holidays when the show must go on. At the Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione, 110. Rue Amelot, Paris 11. Métro: Filles-du- Calvaire. InfoTel.: 01 48 05 48 70.

Tzar - is merely the Russian Imperial Circus, featuring the 9th edition of the 'Stars of the Circus.' In the Russian tradition, the largest herd of camels and llamas in the world! Cossaks too. Apes on trapezes. And bears - you have to see the bears. Special show on Wednesday, 25. December. Beginning on Saturday, 23. November and continuing until Sunday, 5. January. No shows on Monday, Thursday and Friday - but with two or three showtimes on the other days, some starting at 10:00. See Cirque des Tzars for complete info. At the Pelouse de Reuilly in the Bois de Vincennes. Paris 12. Métro: Porte Dorée. InfoTel.: 08 25 03 90 40.

Jules Verne l'Odyssée 2001 - or, 'Je ne voyagerai plus qu'n rève.' This double-named show is put on by the Cirque Joseph Bouglione, which only has one famous name. Only one datephoto: la belle de bois dorment is given for this - Tuesday, 31 December, at the two times of 14:30 and 20:30. Located at the Square Alexandre-et-René-Parodi, which used to be named the Square de l'Amiral-Bruix, but most people just call it 'Porte Maillot.' The circus ground is on the opposite side to the Palais des Congrés, which has also had some name changes lately but is still basically the same place. Paris 16. Métro: Porte-Maillot. InfoTel.: 01 45 00 59 28.

Le Tradition est Notre Culture - is a bulky name for the Cirque Diana Moreno Bormann, which performs all year long on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 15:00 with an additional Saturday show at 20:30. Most likely like real circus. Find it at 9. Boulevard du Bois le Hêtre, Paris 17. Métro: Porte de Saint-Ouen. InfoTel.: 01 64 05 36 25.

Année du Cirque - The 'Year of the Circus' taking place in 150 locations around France. See the Année du Cirque Web site for complete details.

Balloons Away! - the tethered Eutelsat balloon flights at the Parc André Citroën take place, weather permitting, from 9:00 until 30 minutes before the park closes. At the Parc André Citroën, Rue Cauchy, Paris 15. Métro: Javel or Balard. For flight conditions call InfoTel.: 01 44 26 20 00.

Opéras - are in full swing in Paris at their locations in the Palais Garnier and at the Place de la Bastille during the holiday season. For both opera and ballet names and dates, check the Web site, or call Toll number InfoTel.: 08 36 69 78 68.

Paquita - with the stars and first dancers of the ballet corps. Performances begin on Wednesday, 18. December and continue until Wednesday, 1. January. Times are usually 14:30 and 19:30. At the Opéra Palais Garnier, Place de l'Opéra, Paris 9. Métro: Opéra. InfoTel.: 08 92 69 78 68.

Sylvia - with the stars and first dancers of the ballet corps. Performances begin on Friday, 20. December and continue until Tuesday, 14. January. Times are usually 14:30 and 19:30. At thephoto: lafayette xmas tree Opéra Bastille, 2 bis. Place de la Bastille, Paris 12. Métro: Bastille. InfoTel.: 08 92 69 78 68.

Mariana Pineda - flamenco ballet with choreography by Sara Baras and music by Manolo Sanlucar. Opening night is Saturday, 21 December and the show continues until Sunday, 5. January, with times usually at 15:00, 17:00 and 20:00. At the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, 15. Avenue Montaigne, Paris 8. Métro: Franklin D. Roosevelt. InfoTel.: 01 49 52 50 50.

Alone, worth a trip to Paris - the Galeries Lafayette tree.

La Cenerentola - is what Gioacchino Rossini called 'Cinderella,' but it's the same story. Directed by Jérôme Savary, featuring great opera stars. Staring on Saturday, 7. December, with various dates up until New Years Eve. Times are either 15:00 or 19:30, except for 20:00 on the year's final evening which is supposed to be 'exceptional.' At the Opéra Palais Garnier, Place de l'Opéra, Paris 9. Métro: Opéra. InfoTel.: 08 92 69 78 68.

Turnadot - is by Giancomo Puccini and this staging is by Francesca Zambello, featuring Andrea Gruber, plus the Opera's orchestra and chorus and the kid's chorus for good measure. This starts on Saturday, 23 November and has various dates until Monday, 30. December. Either at 19:30 or at 15:00. Opéra Bastille, 2 bis. Place de la Bastille, Paris 12. Métro: Bastille. InfoTel.: 08 92 69 78 68.

Die Frau Ohne Schatten - by Richard Strauss, is directed by Robert Wilson and features Susan Anthony and Thomas Moser. Play dates are from 9. December until 8. January. Either at 19:30 or at 14:30. At the Opéra Bastille, 2 bis. Place de la Bastille, Paris 12. Métro: Bastille. InfoTel.: 08 92 69 78 68.

Le Coq d'Or - by Nikolaï Rimski-Korsakov, straight from Saint- Petersburg's Marinski Theatre, under the direction of Ennosuke Ill and an all-star Russian cast. Beginning on Friday, 13. December with a performance at 19:30, at 16:00 on Sunday, 15 December, and at 19:30 on the 19, 23, 26 and 28. December. At the Théâtre du Châtelet, 1. Place du Châtelet, Paris 11. Métro: Châtelet. InfoTel.: 01 40 28 28 40.

Moscow's Sirine Chorus - will be presenting a traditional 'Russian Christmas' a bit early, under the direction of Andrei Kotov. At 17:30 on Wednesday, 25 December, at 20:45 on 26 and 28. December, at 17:30 on 29. December and at 20:45 on 30 and 31. December, and again at 17:30 on New Years Day. At the Eglise Saint-Louis-en-L'Ile, 19 bis, Saint-Louis-en-L'Ile, Paris 4. Métro: Pont-Marie. InfoTel.: 01 44 62 00 55.

Le Dindon - is a turkey of a play that is on every year at this time. Georges Feydeau wrote hits in his time and that's why this one plays all the time at this time. It should be called 'Le Dindon de Noël.' Beginning on Saturday, 16. November and going on and on until next May, just like a Christmas turkey. Playtimes are usually at 20:30 but there are some 14:00 matinees too. At the Comédie Française in its Salle Richelieu, 2. Rue de Richelieu, Paris 1. Métro: Palais-Royal. InfoTel.: 01 44 58 15 15.

Ruy Blas - is by Victor Hugo, France's favorite dead author of the year, with direction by the live Brigitte Jacques-Wajeman, helped out by a good cast. Beginning on Wednesday, 11. December and continuing until - next May too! Alternating with 'Le Dindon' at the Comédie Française in its Salle Richelieu, 2. Rue de Richelieu, Paris 1. Métro: Palais-Royal. InfoTel.: 01 44 58 15 15.

Sacred Music - concerts organized by the Festival d'Art Sacre de la Ville de Paris begin on Tuesday, 19. November and continue until Tuesday, 17. December. InfoTel.: 01 44 70 64 10.

Nuit d'Ivresse - anything by Josiane Balasko is worth a detour, especially when the cast includes Michéle Bernier and Francis Huster. Already playing for a long time, the hours are at 20:30, and 16:30 and 20:30 on Saturdays. Days off are Sunday and Monday. At the Théâtre de la Renaissance, 20. Boulevard Saint-Martin, Paris 10. Métro: Strasbourg- Saint-Denis. InfoTel.: 01 42 08 18 50.

Concha Bonita - is a big and extravagant musical comedy by Alfredo Arias and René de Ceccatty, which just happens to have Catherine Ringer in it. Starting on Thursday, 5. December and continuing until 2. February. At 20:30 and at 15:00 on Sundays. No shows on Christmas Eve, New Years Day and 15 and 16. January, plus no show on any Monday. Special performances are planned for the blind, and for the deaf - on different dates. At the Théâtre National de Chaillot, Paris 16. Métro: Trocadéro. InfoTel.: 01 53 65 30 00.

Le Petit Prince - is a musical comedy based on Antoine de Saint- Exupéry's little fable, staged by Jean-Louis Martinoty, with fancy costumes. Until Thursday, 30. January. At 20:30, at 15:00 and 20:30 on Saturday, and at 16:00 on Sunday. Nophoto: wallace fountain show on Mondays. At the Casino de Paris, 16. Rue de Clichy, Paris 9. Métro: Saint-Lazare or Trinité. InfoTel.: 01 49 95 99 99.

La Vie Parisienne - it seems to me that this forever favorite by Jacques Offenbach was playing last year too. Musical direction by Gérard Daguerre and staging by Jérôme Savary. Until Tuesday, 31. December, usually at 20:00 and at 15:00 on Sunday. On Christmas and New Years Eves, at 19:30. No show on Mondays. At the Opéra Comique, Place Boïeldieu, Paris 12. Métro: Richelieu-Drouot. InfoTel.: 08 25 00 00 58.

Emile Jolie - book, orchestra and direction by Philippe Chatel, with dance steps by Florence Clavaizolle. Already started, and continuing forever. Playtimes are at 20:30 on Tuesday and Friday, 14:00 and 17:00 on Wednesday and Sunday, and on Saturday at 17:00 and possibly at a later time. No shows on Monday or Thursday. At the Théâtre Mogador, 25. Rue de Mogador, Paris 9. Métro: Trinité. InfoTel.: 01 53 32 32 00.

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