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The Fête of the Year

photo, printemps window

A Christmas window at Printemps on Saturday.

Christmas In Paris

Paris:– Saturday, 11. December 2004:– Right after 'Paris Plage' closes in the summer readers want to know if Paris is 'open' at Christmas and New Years. The answer is emphatically 'oui!' There are all sorts of people here who hate cooking turkeys, but many adore having them to eat. Folks get what they want in Paris.

This page has gotten a bit long, so you will find the regular Scène items on their page, which was updated last week. I am a week or two behind last year, so the annual 'Eves' page for Christmas and New Years may be included here, or it will be coming later in the week.

Not much changes from year to year in Paris, so taking a glance at past years in Metropole will give you an idea of what you can expect. There are links to past years' features at the bottom of this page.

The number one questions are always, 'are there parades, is there a big fireworks display at the Tour Eiffel?' The answer to both is 'no.' There will be thousands of twinkling lights, great food, evening galas, you and Paris. Fireworks are scheduled for 14. July if you don't mind waiting a bit.

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Seasonal window decorationsphoto, galleries lafayette have evolved from displays of tons of 'Lego' and hundreds of 'Barbies' to elaborate themes this year, with Printemps being the first to be shown on TV–news, last Thursday. Result – there's more to look at for a longer delight. A good viewing time may be before noon on Sunday mornings. Otherwise, let the kids and moms stand in front.

  • Printemps, Haussmann – Christian Lacroix does opera to five windows, until the beginning of January. At 64. Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9.
  • Aux Galeries Lafayette – to have eight windows featuring Lili and friends in the enchanted forest, plus the whole building is illuminated. Until Friday, 31. December. At 40. Boulevard Haussmann, Paris 9.
  • La Samaritaine – imagine shopping in an enchanted forest where the windows were full of toys and stuffed animals. Until the beginning of January. At 19. Rue de la Monnaie, Paris 1. At the Pont-Neuf.
  • Also see Au Bon Marché, at 24. Rue de Sèvres, Paris 7 and the BHV at 52. Rue de Rivoli, Paris 4.

The following list only containsposter, marches alsacian Paris' BIG LIGHTS and does not take into account all of the local quarters and neighborhoods that put up their own lights too, to take the climatic gloom off the season and basically make the food look better and more irresistible than it smells. The same thing goes for shop windows – many merchants dress them up for you and the fête.

  • Avenue des Champs–Elysées, a vast lightshow until Tuesday, 4. January. From the Etoile to Concorde, with 135,000 colored lights strung along 2.5 kilometres of France's Main Street.
  • Rue Royal, Rue Saint–Honoré, until Sunday, 9. January
  • Place Vendôme and Rue de la Paix – with 24 giant Swiss balls of reflecting 'snow' and four chalets. Lit up until Wednesday, 5. January
  • Rue du Faubourg Saint–Honoré, from Rue Royal to Avenue Montaigne, until Monday, 6. January
  • Avenue Montaigne, until Tuesday, 4. January
  • Montmartre Quartier, on the Butte and in the Rue Lepic–Abbesses areas, until Saturday, 15. January
  • Rue de Rivoli – with its illuminated 'carrots' overhead, illuminating thousands of shopper's cars
  • Maison de l'Alsace, at 39. Avenue des Champs–Elysées, Paris 8 – until Tuesday, 22. December
  • Village de Noël Montparnasse, near the Place du 18. Juin 1940, Paris 15 – until Friday, 31. December. The skating rink is in front of the Gare Montparnasse and is open until Sunday, 13. March
  • Marche de Noël, Place de la Nation, Paris 11 – until Friday, 24. December
  • Marche de Noël, Place Saint–Germain–des–Prés, Paris 6 – until Wednesday, 28. December
  • Marché de Noël, at Cour de Rome, in front of the Gare Saint–Lazare, Paris 9 – until Friday, 24. December
  • Le Monde des Enfants, with everything for kids, at the Place de la Bastille, Paris 4 – until Sunday, 2. January
  • Marché de Noël, at the Place Maurice–Chevalier, Paris 20 – until Sunday, 19. December
  • Marché de Noël, on the Boulevard de Menilmontant, Paris 20 – from Friday, 17. December to Sunday, 19. December
  • Marché de Noël de l'UNAPEI, at Saint–Sulpice, Paris 6 – from Thursday, 16. December to Sunday, 19. December
  • Marché de Noël, at the Gare de l'Est, Paris 10 – until Saturday, 18. December
  • Marché de Noël, at La Défense, 160 chalets and Santa Claus. Métro: Grande Arche–La Défense
  • Marché de Noël, at Disney Village – until Sunday, 2. January. Take RER 'A' to Marne–la–Vallée–Chessy
  • L'Arche de Noël, at La Défense – Métro or RER: La Défense – until Friday, 24. December
  • Glaciation Plastic – Noël Decorations – Frigo artist Antoine Rossi has created decorations composed entirely of plastic for Bercy Village. To begin Monday, 15. November. At 1. Cour Saint–Emilion, Paris 12. Métro: Cour Saint–Emilion
  • Les Sapins de Noël des Createurs – top Paris fashion designers turn their hands to 100 Christmas trees – to aid the Orphans Foundation of the Apprentis d'Auteuil, by auctioning off printed designs of the trees and their decor. The creations can be seen at the Centre George Pompidou, at Beauburg, Paris 4. Métro: Rambuteau. On view until Monday, 3. January. Open from 11:00 to 21:00.
  • Les Alps du Sud is a complete winter station imported into Paris, located inside the Stade de France,photo, bowl chocolate, candy until Monday, 20. December. In Saint–Denis. Métro: Saint–Denis Porte de Paris, or RER 'B' or 'D.'
  • L'Allée Gourmande – features 10 stands with tasty holiday eats. All you can afford until Friday, 24. December, from 11:00 to 19:00. Level –2, at the Forum des Halles, Porte Lescot, Paris 1. Métro: Châtelet –Les Halles.
  • Basilique du Sacre–Coeur de Montmartre – on Friday, 24. December, the mass for families at 19:00 and at midnight, a solemn mass conducted by the Benedictines. On Christmas Day, masses at 11:00, 15:00, 18:00 and 22:00. At 35. Rue Chevalier–de–La–Barre, Paris 18.
  • The Madeleine – on Friday, 24. December. Doors open at 22:30 and the ceremony begins. This includes carols accompanied by the famous organ. The mass is about 23:00 and ends at 00:45, in time for the last Métro. On Christmas Day, the mass at 9:30 is followed by a high mass at 11:00, with singing and the organ. Additional masses at 12:30 and 18:00. Place de la Madeleine, Paris 8.
  • Notre–Dame–de–Paris – on Friday, 24 December, the mass for families at 18:00 and an international mass at 20:00. The midnight mass is conducted by Cardinal Lustiger, the Archbishop of Paris. On Christmas Day, the first mass is at 8:30 followed by a Gregorian one at 10:00. Cardinal Lustiger leads the mass at 11:30 and there is a final mass at 18:30. Cathedrale Notre–Dame–de–Paris, Paris 4.
  • Eglise Saint–Germain–des–Prés – on Friday, 24 December, the mass for families at 19:00 and an another mass at 22:30. On Christmas Day, masses are at 9:00, 10:30 and 19:00. Paris 6.
Crèches

La Crèche de Noël à Notre Dame – located inside the cathedral, 40 square metres of religious scenes. On view until Monday, 3. January, from 7:45 to 19:00. Notre–Dame, 1. Place du Parvis–Notre–Dame, Paris 4. Métro: Cité.

Crèche de Caltagirone, Sicilienne – located inside the church. Eglise Saint–Sulpice, 1. Place Saint–Sulpice, Paris 6. Métro: Saint–Sulpice.

Crèche Ameridian – located inside the church. Until 23. January. Also see the exhibition 'Crèches de Rivière Eternité,' from 11:00 to 19:00. Eglise Sainte–Madeleine, Place de la Madeleine, Paris 8. Métro: Madeleine.

Crèches Artisanales d'Europe – located inside the church. Until Thursday, 6. January. 'Living' créche on 24. and 25. December. Eglise Saint–Joseph Artisan, 214. Rue La Fayette, Paris 10. Métro: Louis Blanc.

More Crèches – at Notre–Dame de la Croix, 3. Place de Ménilmontant, Paris 20. Métro: Ménilmontant. Saint–François de Sales, 6. Rue Brémontier, Paris 17. Métro: Wagram. Saint–Georges, 114. Avenue Simon Bolivar, Paris 19. Métro: Bolivar.

Choirs and Concerts

Concert de Noël, Notre–Dame, baroque music with children's choir, directed by Lionel Sow. On Tuesday, 21 December at 20:30. At the Cathedrale Notre–Dameposter, sara baras, flamenco de Paris. Paris 4. Métro: Cité.
Gospel Dream pour Noël, on Thursday, 23. December at 20:30. At the Eglise Saint–Germain–des–Prés. Paris 6. InfoTel.: 01 42 64 83 16.
Grand Orchestre et Chorale Paul Kuentz, on Tuesday, 1. January at 15:00. At the Eglise de la Madeleine. Paris 8. InfoTel.: 01 42 64 83 16.
Trois Siècles de Chefs–d'Oeuvre, with Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Verdi and Fumet. On Monday, 31. December at 21:00, and Tuesday,1. January at 17:00. At the Eglise Saint–Roch. Paris 1. InfoTel.: 01 40 15 09 74.
Les Musicales de Décembre, features a wide selection of traditional and classical music concerts in the following churches –
On 25 and 26. December at 17:30, on 27, 30 and 31. December at 20:45. On 1. January at 15:30 and on 2. January at 17:30. At the Eglise Saint–Louis–en–l'Ile. Paris 4.
On 25. December at 15:00, at the Eglise Réformée des Batignolles. Paris 17.
On 26. December and 2. January, both at 15:00, at Notre–Dame des Blancs–Manteaux, Paris 4.
On 1. January, at 20:45, at Sainte–Marie des Batignolles, Paris 17.
On 31. December, at 20:30, at the Eglise Notre–Dame de Versailles, in Versailles.
For all of 'Les Musicales,' InfoTel.: 01 44 62 00 55.

There are three skating rinks this year. The new one is on the first floor of the Tour Eiffel. It's not big but it's high. There's only the walk–up entry charge of 3€, and the skate rental of 5€, which is the same at the Hôtel de Ville and the rink in front of the Gare de Montparnasse, both of which are otherwise free. Weekdays usually from 12:00, and weekends from 9:00. Night skating to midnight or to 22:00 on Sunday. The rinks continue until 13. March.

Laurel and Hardy, On a Cruise – see this classic, on one date only, at 16:00 on Christmas Day. Otherwise, screenings from Tuesday to Sunday from 12:00 to 21:00, andposter, frozen, thtr du marais until 22:00 on Tuesdays. At the Forum des Images, in the Forum des Halles, Porte Saint–Eustache, near the Place Carrée. Paris 1. Métro: Châtelet–Les Halles. InfoTel.: 01 44 76 62 00.

A Cat's Seven Lives – marionettes, by Estelle Rosenfeld. For kids of six years and up. From Sunday, 19. December until Wednesday, 22. December, at 15:00. At the Guinguette Pirate, moored at the Quai de la Gare below the BNF. Paris 13. Métro: Quai de la Gare. InfoTel.: 01 43 43 86 46.

Circus Alexis Gruss – brand new old–fashioned circus, with all the trimmings. Continuing until Sunday, 27. February. On Wednesday at 14:00, Saturday at 14:00 and 20:30, and Sunday at 14:00 and 17:15. Daily at 14:00 during school holidays. Every Friday in December at 20:30, including 24. December. At the Pelouse de Saint–Cloud, Porte de Auteuil, Bois de Boulogne, Paris 16. Métro: Porte d'Auteuil. InfoTel.:01 40 36 08 00.

Ola Kala – Les Arts Sauts – is a acrobatic show, supposedly surrealist and poetic, where you will shout 'Ola Kala!' when you see it. Shows until Sunday, 9. January. Excepting Monday and Tuesday, at 20:30, on Thursday at 19:30, and at 16:30 on Sunday. No shows on 25. December, 1 and 2. January. At the Parc de la Villette, 211. Avenue Jean–Jaurès, Paris 19. Métro: Porte de Pantin. InfoTel.: 01 40 03 75 75.

The Stars of the Moscow Circus – are on ice, mixing circus with skates and the trapeze, jugglers and maybe a waltzing bear. To keep on skating until Sunday, 9. January. Many times and days, including 24, 25 and 31. December; On the Pelouse de Reuilly, in the Bois de Vincennes, Paris 12. Métro: Porte de Charenton. InfoTel.: 08 25 03 90 40.

Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione – see the new show 'Bravo,' which celebrates the 70th anniversary of this traditional but modern, real circus. Has everything except Barnum. Shows are at 14:00 and 17:00 on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday and at 20:30 on Tuesday and Friday, and at 14:00 on all school holidays. At the Cirque d'Hiver Bouglione, 110. Rue Amelot, Paris 11. Métro: Filles du Calvaire. InfoTel.: 01 47 00 28 81.

Ca C'est du Cirque – is the name for the Cirque Diana Moreno Bormann, which performs allposter, paris illumine year long on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 15:00 with a second Saturday show at 20:30 twice a month. Other performances on all holidays. Most likely like real circus. Find it at Rue de la Haie – Coq, Paris 19. Métro: Porte de la Chapelle or bus 65. InfoTel.: 01 64 05 36 25.

Pinder – Jean Richard – it's the 150th anniversary for this traditional circus. Lots of animals, clowns, thrills, and more clowns. Until Sunday, 9. January. At the Pelouse de Reuilly, in the Bois de Vincennes, Paris 12. Métro: Porte Dorée or Porte de Charenton. InfoTel.: 01 43 44 09 09.

Romanès, Gypsy Circus – music, gypsies, trapeze, all new for this year. At the Place de la Bataille de Stalingrad. Paris 19. InfoTel.: 01 40 09 24 20.

Cirque du Grand Céleste – another circus outdoing itself with new acts and extraordinary performances. At the Porte des Lilas, Paris 20. InfoTel.: 01 53 19 99 13.

Arcimboldo et les Cinq Sens – kids will be able to distinguish their five senses after seeing some of this Italian painter's now–you–see–it, now–you–don't works. Also visit Il Etait une Fois Léonard. Arcimboldo continues until May. The park is open daily from 10:00 to 18:00, but on Saturdays from 14:00 to 18:00. At the Musée en Herbe, in the Jardin d'Acclimatation just inside the Bois de Boulogne. Paris 16. Métro: Sablons. InfoTel.: 01 40 67 97 66.

Merry–Go–Rounds – there's one in every Paris' arrondissements except the 1st, all free for kids. The merry–go–rounds – 'les manèges' – begin operation on Saturday, 18. December, from 10:00 to 19:00 daily, and they rotate until Sunday, 2. January.

La Grande–Duchesse de Gérolstein – is a classic operetta by Jacques Offenbach. Fancy costumes, big cast, lots of music. Dates in December are 9, 11, 14, 16, 19, 23, 28 and 31, all at 19:30. On 26. December at 15:00 and on 2. January at 16:00. At the Théâtre Musical de Paris, 1. PLace du Châtelet, Paris 1. Métro: Châtelet. InfoTel.: 01 40 28 28 00.

La Vie Parisienne – is another classic operetta by Jacques Offenbach, perhaps THE classic. Directed by Jérôme Savary. Fancy costumes, big cast, lots of music. Continuing until Sunday, 16. January. On stage from Tuesday to Saturday at 20:30, and on Sunday at 15:00. At the Opéra Comique, 5. Rus Favart, Paris 2. Métro: Richelieu–Drouot. InfoTel.: 08 25 00 00 58.

Dali Folies – by Salvador Dali, adapted by Jacques Darcy and directed by Dominique Boitel. This is supposed to musical– surrealism, with an extravagant moustache. Until Friday, 31. December. From Tuesday to Saturday at 20:30, on Sunday at 15:30. At the Espace Pierre Cardin, 1–3. Avenue Gabriel, Paris 8. Métro: Concorde. InfoTel.: 01 42 65 27 35.

Ice Skating – Indoors – is open to the public at the POPB, or 'Bercy' for short. The actual name is the Sonja–Henie Patinoire. Open Wednesday, Saturday andposter, marche noel nation Sunday from 15:00 to 18:00. On Saturday evening also open from 21:30 to 00:30, with a DJ for skaters who like music. Entry on north, garden side, at 8. Boulevard de Bercy, Paris 12. Métro: Bercy. InfoTel.: 01 40 02 60 60.

For Roller Folks – the free Friday night 'roller rando' around Paris goes on all year, starting at 22:00 on Fridays, from in front of the Gare Montparnasse. Each complete tour takes about three hours – and they are not for the wobbly or faint–hearted. Paris 15. Métro: Montparnasse. InfoTel.: 01 43 36 89 81.

More For Roller Folks – the free Sunday afternoon 'other roller rando' around Paris goes on all year too, but starts at 14:30 on Sundays from the Place de la Bastille. Complete tours take about three hours, but are not so taxing as the night tours. Paris 11. Métro: Bastille. InfoTel.: 01 44 54 07 44.

Paris Rando Vélo – is another Friday night bike rendez–vous that meets at the Hôtel de Ville at 21:30. This group also has a 10:30 session on the third Sunday of every month. Check the Web site for 'yet another rolling rando,' always in sunny weather of course. At the Hôtel de Ville, Paris 4. Métro: Hôtel de Ville InfoTel.: 06 10 87 05 87.

Roue Libre – this RATP partner has bike rentals, costing not much per hour or day. Both complete accessories and insurance are available. The year–round HQ is open from 9:00 to 19:00 daily, at 1. Passage Mondétour in Les Halles. Métro: Les Halles or Etienne–Marcel. InfoTel.: 08 00 44 15 34.

'Paris Respire' – is the Sunday and holidays' program allowing slower folks unpowered by motors to stroll and roll around without worrying about the automobilistas on the Seine–side speedways and other areas around Paris, which are closed to motor traffic until 18:00 on Sundays. This is now a year–round occasion.

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Ghosts of New Years Past

Anno 2003

Metropole Issue 8.50 – 6. December

Anno 2002

Metropole Issue 7.50 – 10. December

Anno 2001

Metropole Issue 6.51 – 23. December

Anno 2000

Metropole Issues 5.51and 5.52 – 20 and 23. December

Anno 1998

Metropole Issue 3.52 – 28. December 1998

Anno 1997

Metropole Issue 2.52 – 29. December 1997

Anno 1996

Metropole Issue 1.45 – 30. December 1996

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