Say ‘oui’ to epic fireworks, beautiful cultural traditions and dancing till dawn in The City of Lights – Paris!
As winter settles into the French capital, the city puts its chic berets on and bedecks its streets with the bright and beautiful things the world associates with Christmas and New Year. Fairy lights and ferns, baubles and bells, there’s a certain magic in the air and the winter blues can’t get you, because you’re full of joie de vivre.
Christmas and New Year in Paris is a truly unique experience with decorations and diversions in abundance! The boulevards turn into fairy forests of twinkling trees, you can indulge yourself in specially curated menus at some of the city’s finest tables, forge new bonds with happy strangers or just sit back and marvel at beautiful Paris and call out ‘joyeuses fêtes!’ to all and sundry!
It’s a wonderful way to end one year and begin another and no matter what your personal preferences, the city will offer the perfect way and opportunity for you to celebrate.
1. Christmas Lights and Décor Display
The City of Lights dazzles at this time of year. The majestic avenues sparkle in unparalleled glory, the monuments and heritage structures are gloriously illuminated, carousels glow like enchanted circles of magic in the dusk, stores have fanciful window displays and the trees are festooned with fairy lights! From the Place de l’Etoile and the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde, you can take a walk that will fill your heart and delight your senses.
2. Christmas Markets
Come winter and Parisians welcome craftsmen and specialists from all over, bringing with them not only festive trinkets, crafts, sweets, and gifts but also custom holiday treats like mulled wine, gingerbread, sausages and specialties from various regions of France but a happy, joyous, festive warmth. Clusters of wooden chalets dot the cityscape, creating a magical Christmassy atmosphere. The markets can be found all over the French capital, from Les Halles, Notre-Dame to Champs de Mars, as well as the impressive Christmas Village at La Défense. Stop by and browse through one of these bazaars and you’ll soon feel the spirit of ‘joyeux Noel’.
3. Christmas Crèches and Masses
During this season, you may like to visit the churches in the vicinity where you could catch Christmas carols or a religious service. Choirs, big and small, line up in the cathedrals on Christmas Eve and as the evening commences, the religious and the curious are rewarded with beautiful singing and communal harmony. Look out for the exquisite nativity scenes the French set up with great passion. The Crèche de Noël is not only about the manger and stable. The Parisians create an entire village scene featuring bakers, farmers, washerwomen, a hunter and importantly, a happy little man with his hands in the air who they call Lou Ravi.
4. Disneyland Paris
As if the ‘Happiest Place On earth” could get any merrier! Christmas in Disneyland Paris is twice the magic! With a giant Xmas tree and spectacular shows and parades that bring the festive cheer to life, an army of Disney characters, Santa Claus, and an immersive nighttime extravaganza are sure to further the fabulous spirit and please your inner child! To top it off, the park puts up a special Christmas parade. All in all, this is an experience that you are sure to cherish forever.
Photo Courtesy- Kris Van de Sande
5. New Year’s Eve Show and Cabarets
Where else but in Paris can one be privy to classic cabaret and burlesque. The flashy, bright red façade of the Moulin Rouge seems to come into its own with festive brilliance on New Year’s Eve. The energy of the performances are electric and captivating and the evening features the famous cabaret show, a gourmet meal, a surprise gift and more. The same can be said for Lido de Paris on the Champs-Élysées which offers an exciting evening full of dancing and entertainment to its guests.
6. New Year’s Dining and Shows
If you prefer a musical to a cabaret, then I Love Piaf at the Théâtre Edgar is something that you must catch for some authentic French entertainment. This intimate show tells the life story of Edith Piaf, the legendary singer in French but translations are projected on the screen above the stage.
And while you’re at it, you’ll want an authentic French gastronomic delight to bring in the New year and since you are in the culinary capital of the world you will find a delicious réveillon feast in your budget and neighborhood. However, if you want to eat somewhere that not only serves great food but gives you a view of the city as the clock strikes midnight, you can do no better than booking a table at the 58 Tour Eiffel.
7. The Champs-Elysées Grande Parade
Welcome the Nouvel An like a true Parisian. On the first day of every year, January 1, the most beautiful avenue in the world witnesses a marvelous parade of carnival floats and brass bands with some of the planet’s most iconic landmarks as backdrop. The Avenue des Champs-Elysées is infectiously festive and the optimism you feel here will last you the whole year through.
8. Celebrate on the Champ de Mars
The whole world is celebrating and La Dame de Fer can hardly be left alone to party by herself! While the Eiffel Tower is lit up spectacularly all year, the spotlight also falls on the Champ de Mars that sprawls just by her side. Revellers gather together in the vast garden that serves as a rendezvous for people who want to spend the evening outside, making new friends, and waiting to shout “bonne année” to the world as the clock strikes 12.
Photo Courtesy- Anthony Woodhouse
9. The Sacré-Coeur street party
On New Years’ Eve, the streets of Paris are alive with parties. However, if you are not a fan of crowds and yet, want to experience the warmth of a gathering and the echo of a countdown, head to Sacré-Coeur Cathedral in beautiful Montmartre. Despite being a hotspot, it is a significantly calmer place to bid the year farewell. From here, you will also be afforded a spectacular view of the Paris skyline including the stunning light show at the Eiffel Tower.
10. Dancing and Clubbing
Want to dance your way into the New Year? Paris will treat you with scores of clubs celebrate the occasion in style. With Wanderlust, Batofar, Nouveau Casino, Le Point Ephemere, REX Club and more you will be spoilt for choice and all there will be left to do is put on your dancing shoes and dance the night away!
Photo Courtesy- Cite de la Mode et du Design Paris
For more information about Christmas and New Year in France, visit http://in.france.fr/.
What are you waiting for? Que la fête commence!