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 (www.eyepreferparistours.com), and also writes a popular insider's blog at www.eyepreferparis.com.
Paris is all aglow for the Christmas holidays as the department stores have done up their windows to delight kids from 8 to 80, the expansive boulevards are decorated in festive lights, and the Hotel de Ville has installed their annual skating rink. Here are some of our selected holiday events.
Galeries Lafayette is all about monsters this season -- not the scary kind, but the cuddly ones. Gustave, the main monster, is a furry hot pink creature. His female companion, Gaga, has big eyelashes and feminine white gloves.
A boy journeys from London to Paris with his teddy bear as Printemps devotes its windows to Burberry. This year for the first time Printemps' windows are interactive. Visitors can connect to Printemps' Wi-Fi to interact with individual scenes and can access additional content from their browsers. They can also control the weather as the boy crosses the Channel and can activate a storm – with accompanying sound – or sail a fleet of boats.
Colorful reindeer take over the windows at Le Bon Marche, helping Santa answer his stack of letters. Children who included their email in their letter to Santa will receive a special animated video in their mailbox.
64 Blvd. Haussmann, 75009
40 Blvd. Haussmann, 75009
Le Bon Marche
24 Rue de Sèvres, 75007
Snow White/Blanche Neige was an instant showstopper when it premiered six years ago and is now at Versailles. It has a limited run just for the holiday season with music composed by Gustav Mahler and costumes by Jean Paul Gaultier. The show is directed by Angelin Preljocaj.
Chateau de Versailles
December 17- 21 (Dec. 18 sold out)
Everyone’s favorite holiday ballet, Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker, gets a glorious production originally choreographed and staged by Rudolf Nureyev.
Enjoy the Christmas festivities at the magnificent Vaux le Comte, a 17th century palace themed on Versailles. Christmas carols, tables of holiday delicacies, sparkling lights and surprise gifts for children under the tree are all part of the fun.
December 6-, 13-14, and every day from December 20 to January 4, except Christmas & New Years Day
Our favorite Christmas markets are the Christmas Village on the Champs Elysees, with over 200 chalets selling holiday gifts and crafts, mulled hot wine, toys, jewelry, food and Christmas ornaments, and the Village du Père Noël, a more intimate market in front of the ancient St. Germain Church.