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, shop window displays, ice rinks 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.
Shopping fans should make sure to visit the Christmas markets that spring up throughout the capital over the festive season: Notre-Dame, Les Halles, La Défense,Saint Germain des Prés … 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 MARAIS 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.
Paris is foodie paradise – all the more so as the festive season gets going. Indulge in some irresistible treats at Salon Noël Gourmand (dates to be confirmed), and Noël en Bio or enjoy a delicious meal in the snug comfort of one of the capital’s many restaurants.
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 Beaujolais Nouveau wine is celebrated in most bistros and Parisian cafes. A typical and popular moment not to be missed!
As the year draws to a close, a number of exhibitions are worth going out of your way to see. The Pompidou Centre will be revisiting the career of one of France’s greatest contemporary artists, Christian Boltanski (from 13 November 2019 to 16 March 2020). The museum’s first retrospective dates back to 1984, so there was a need to organize a new exhibition featuring the multi-faceted artist’s later work, spanning painting, photography, sculpture and film.
The Musée d’Orsay, on the other hand, will be devoting an exhibition to an art critic. Huysmans (1848-1907) will be the focus of a major exhibition titled Joris-Karl Huysmans critique d’art, de Degas à Grünewald (Joris-Karl Huysmans, Art Critic. From Degas to Grünewald) from 3 December 2019 to 2 March 2020). A key writer of his time, who had many painters in his circle of friends, Huysmans contributed in his own way to fashioning modernity in late 19th-century art.
Paris hosts numerous fairs in November that appeal to a wide range of interests. Photography fans in particular are well catered for. In the second week of November, the Salon de la photo (Paris Photography Fair) takes place at Paris Expo Porte de Versailles.
Then it's Paris Photo, the world’s biggest photography fair, the world’s biggest photography fair, the 23st edition of which takes place 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.
Nitro Circus returns to Paris, to the AccorHotels Arena, where you will be able to see the world’s top riders!