Top Holiday Activities in Paris for 2012

Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (, and also writes a popular insider's blog

Paris is one of the best cities to spend the holidays in and 2012 lives up to that reputation in spades. The city is awash in the joie de vivre of the Christmas season with sparkly lights, shop windows dressed to the nines, and festive events.

Les Grand Magasins/Big department stores have pulled out all the stops this year to promote glamour and more sophisticated windows than usual. Printemps has 74 handcrafted dolls/ poupettes dressed in retro haute couture coatdresses and suits recalling the New Look from 1947 that made Dior famous. French actress Marion Cotillard, the official spokesperson for the Dior brand, inaugurated the windows in November wearing a chic and stunning Dior black wool crepe suit with a cinched waist and black patent leather belt. Next door at Galeries Lafayette, the theme is The Ball of the Century, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the store’s iconic stained glass dome, with figures dressed in evening wear dancing the night away. Another set of windows is devoted to Louis Vuitton and has penguins, polar bears, and an Afghan dog all adorned in Louis Vuitton fashions and accessories. The rising French fashion designer Alexis Mabille has created some whimsical charm along with his fantasy ball gowns in the windows of the BHV department store.

Printemps, 64 Blvd. Haussmann, 75009

Galeries Lafayette, 40 Blvd. Haussmann, 75009
BHV, 52 rue de Rivoli, 75004

Ice skating aficionados have the luxury of cutting figure eights on France’s largest skating rink at the Grand Palais, measuring close to 20,000 square feet. To add to the fun, the rink offers night skating on Friday and Saturday nights from 8PM to 2AM with special light shows and a DJ spinning music.

December 13 to January 6
Ice Skating at Grand Palais/Grand Palais de Glaces
3 avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008
Metro: Champs Elysees- Clemenceau

Paris is rich with concerts, dance, and theater during the holiday season. An exciting. Broadway scale production of West Side Story in English is at the Theatre Chatelet. There’s no place better to listen to classical holiday music than the magnificent Saint Chapelle church. The program includes works by Schubert, Bach, Mozart, and Verdi. If you want to have the double opportunity to see the famed interior of the magnificent Paris Opera Garnier and to enjoy a favorite fairy tale performed live, Cinderella (La Cenerentola in Italian) by Rossini is your ticket.

West Side Story
Till January 1, 2013  
Theatre du Chatelet, Place du Chatelet

Saint Chapelle Christmas Concerts
December 8, 9, 15, 15, 21–31

Cinderella/La Cenerentola
December 7,10,13,23,26, 27
Opera Garnier

salvador daliTwo current blockbuster museum shows shouldn’t be missed. Dali at the Pompidou Centre boasts over 200 works of the master of Surrealism a long with a series of rare drawings, photos, objets, and excerpts from film and television shows. Iconic American artist Edward Hopper fell in love with Paris when he first visited in 1906 and his work is inspired by French artists such as Matisse. An extensive retrospective exhibits 128 works including paintings, watercolors, sketches, and illustrations along side 35 comparative paintings by French artists.

Centre Pompidou, Rue Beaubourg, 75004
Open 11AM till 9PM except Tuesday, Thursday till 11PM

Edward Hopper
Grand Palais , Ave. Winston Churchill, 75008



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