Paris in December – what’s on?

MyFrenchLife™ - Paris in December - christmas treeIf you’re lucky enough to be in Paris in December, don’t we have a treat for you… If you’re not in Paris this month, we apologise in advance: this list will certainly pull at your heart-strings!

La ville-lumière literally lights up in every arrondissement with Christmas decorations, ice-skating rinks and late-night markets. Pull on your mittens, get the Christmas carols en français at the ready (think ‘douce nuit, sainte nuite’!) and bon décembre, joyeux noël et bonne année…

1. Deck (some of the majestic halls of the world) with holly – Carol concerting in Paris

We frequently draw your attention to the ongoing classical music concerts in Paris each month, but with the approaching holiday season, we feel that this is a month really not to miss out on. En decembre, some of our favourite locations in Paris host special festive concerts – comme toujours, there is lots on offer – but we’ve picked our very favourite just for you.

A special Christmas performance in celebration of the nativity will take place at the Oratoire du Louvre, with music by the Holland Baroque society and featuring soloists Celine Sheen and Claire Lefilliâtre.

When: Friday 12 December, 8pm
Where: Eglise de l’Oratoire du Louvre
Metro: Louvre-Rivoli

2. Catch a play

For us, this is the perfect wintry, Parisian activity. You can combine your cultural interests and skip out on the last-minute shopper filled streets of Rivoli… Once again, there is something for everyone, but once again, we’ve selected our top choices for you…

MyfrenchLife™ - paris in December - ballet in opera

La Source: Paris Opera Ballet

La Source draws together strands of “Wagnerian romanticism, orientalism and Shakespearean influences and contrasts the real world with the realms of elves, nymphs and ethereal beings.” It’s the perfect mixture of Christmas and culture, and offers a fabulous evening in your calendar.

When: There are several dates for this event – follow this link to view them
Where: Palais Garnier
Metro: Opéra

La Bohème

La Bohème is our opera of choice. Jonathon Miller reproduces Puccini’s masterpiece to tell the story of a young man and woman who fall in love in Paris. If Christmas and Paris haven’t already pulled at your heartstrings, this surely will…

When: Several dates
Where: Opéra Bastille
Metro: Bastille

3. Visit the Christmas markets

MyFrenchLife™ - paris in December - christmas marketWe are always, always fans of the markets in Paris, but during the festive season they really perform at an entirely different level. However, it goes without saying that this is a busy time of year, and some of them will be more overrun than others. We’ve found a new one that nous adorons – and we’re willing to share it with you!

The Noel Gourmand de Paris is only on its second year, but we have a feeling that it will be around for a while. It’s a culinary market, featuring some of the best artisans in France, and has over 100 producers.

The website features the following tantalising words: « venez faire vos courses de Noël parmi les meilleurs artisans et producteurs de France avec une belle sélection de Champagne, vins, foies gras, truffe, fruits de mer… »

When: 19-22 December
Where: Palais Brongniart, Place de la Bourse
Metro: Bourse

4. Le Festival du Merveillement 

This event comes slightly after Christmas, but allows you to maintain the sentiment that little bit longer… Le Festival du Merveillement is on its fifth edition, and reunites you with « le monde du rêve et du merveilleux ».

With shows every thirty minutes, theatrical Magic mirrors and huge spaces filled with « des milliers d’objets rares : pièces foraines anciennes, objets du spectacle (Théâtre, music-hall) et objets de curiosités . » This is certainly something a little different, but entirely intriguing.

MyFrenchLife™ - paris in December - musée

When: 26 December – 4 January
Where: Le musée des Arts Forains
Metro: Bercy

5. Le Salon des Beaux-Arts

Finally, this event isn’t quite as seasonal as some of the others, but it still makes our top five. There are over 600 artists represented, and each year, a certain country is selected and honoured.

When: 11-14 December
Where: Carrousel du Louvre
Metro: Tuileries

This list should certainly be enough to keep you busy, but remember that there’s always ice-skating and Christmas window displays to delight in… as always, let us know what you have planned in the comments below!

Image credits:
1. Coupole centenaire by Kunirosawa, via Flickr.
2. Opera Garnier by Guilhem Vellut, via Flickr.
3. Christmas market by ChristopherTitzer, via Flickr.
4. Musée des arts forains by Medelie Vendetta, via Flickr.

About the Contributor

Judy MacMahon

Experience FRANCE beyond the CLICHÉ with MyFrenchLife is for Curious Savvy Francophiles wherever you are. Meet Francophiles in France, online, and/or wherever you live. You’re very welcome to join us - Judy MacMahon -

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