With the approach of winter, Paris drifts into the off season – the perfect time to visit fairs, museums and exhibitions at your leisure and enjoy all the events held in November. But the highlight of this period is the festive season, which transforms the city. Christmas lights, markets and Big Wheel combine to provide a magical atmosphere you won’t want to miss!
Christmas in Paris
The French capital gets decked out in lights and hosts wonderful seasonal events to make the end of the year a very special time. No need to wait for December to experience the magic: Paris gets into the Christmas mood from mid-November. On the 21 November, the ‘most beautiful avenue in the world’ turns on its lights for the traditional Christmas illuminations on the Champs-Elysées. And beginning on the 17 November, the Big Wheel makes its return to the Place de la Concorde. With its highest point at 70 metres, it offers spectacular views over Paris.
Shopping fans should make sure to visit the Christmas markets that spring up throughout the capital over the festive season: Notre-Dame, Les Invalides, La Défense… Enjoy some Christmas good cheer while you sample local and regional produce and shop for presents from the wide selection of handcrafted items on display.
The enchanting Christmas window displays at the department stores are very popular with children and adults alike. They can be admired at the Galeries Lafayette, Printemps Haussmann, BHV on Rue de Rivoli and the Bon Marché in the 7th arrondissement.
And, to make New Year’s Eve an occasion to remember, head for the Champs-Elysées on 31 December to admire a fabulous light show
Discover the magic of Christmas in Paris
Paris is the place to find entertainment and glamour! The city has a vibrant nightlife scene with a varied range of lively night spots. And as the festive season approaches, every show in the capital takes on an air of magic… Paris’s cabaret venues enjoy cult status and continue to dazzle visitors from all over the world. From the Lido and the Moulin Rouge to the Crazy Horse and the Paradis Latin, all the Paris cabarets step up the tempo for the festive season for a magical experience you will never forget.
Treat your taste buds during the chilly months of autumn! Paris is a gastronomical destination for lovers of fine food, with several events taking place in the weeks prior to Christmas: from the 15 - 18 December, the Salon Noël Gourmand (Luxury Christmas Food Fair) is sure to titillate even the most discerning of taste buds, and from mid-November to mid-December, Parisians and visitors alike can sample some of the best of local and regional fare at the different Christmas markets taking place all over the capital.
This is also the time of year to taste vintage wines! On the third Thursday in the month of November, the arrival of the first release of BeaujolaisNouveauwine is celebrated in most bistros and Parisian cafes. A typical and popular moment not to be missed!
Would you like to explore France’s wine regions? Wine lovers won’t want to miss the Salon des vins des vignerons indépendants (Independent Wine Producers Fair), which takes place from 30 November to 4 December at the Paris Expo at the Porte de Versailles. Meanwhile on the 1 and 2 December, an event known as Grand Tasting, ‘the Festival of Great Wines’ is held at the Carrousel du Louvre.
Paris hosts numerous fairs in November that appeal to a wide range of interests. Photography fans in particular are well catered for. From the 9 - 13 November, the Salon de la photo (Paris Photography Fair) takes place at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles.
Gamers congregate en masse at the Paris Games Week that takes place during the first week of November. Considered as one of France’s biggest video games events, the last editiondrewmore than 300,000 visitors!
Then it's Paris Photo, the world’s biggest photography fair, the world’s biggest photography fair, the 21st edition of which takes place from 9 to 12 November under the glass-domed roof of the Grand Palais. As to sports, the Salon du Cheval de Paris is a must-see for equestrian fans, while sailing enthusiasts meet up every year at the Nautic event in December.
And if you’re keen to inspire your children to keep reading, the Salon du Livre et de la Presse Jeunesse at Montreuil is an ideal family outing, with a host of wonderful, artistic books to leaf through.
As the year draws to a close, a number of exhibitions are worth going out of your way to see. From November, Mad Minds, The Origins of Art Brut at the Maison de Victor Hugo explores the connections between art and madness. The Cité de l’Architecture & du Patrimoine presents Globes. Architecture & Science: Exploring the World from 9 November – an exhibition showing how architects, like scientists, were both involved as both witnesses and players in discovering the world.