Christmas decor at Hermes in Paris
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 www.eyepreferparis.com.
From the fabled Champs Elysees to the Grand Magasins to the white neon Ferris wheel towering over the Place de la Concorde, Paris holds numerous holiday delights for all the senses.
The department and luxury stores have pulled out all the stops this year with glittering, gorgeous, and glorious window displays. Printemps transports us to Russia and its windows conjure up Russian fairy tales with a folkloric ball with dancers and musicians, a ride inspired by a carousel, and a game of hide-and-seek with giant matryoshka dolls that open and close. Fashion windows use giant Faberge eggs to reveal mannequins wearing evening gowns and crystal headdresses inspired by the crowns of tsarinas.
Next-door at Galeries Lafayette, happy and busy animated teddy bears, dolls, and rabbits in outfits by top labels and designers Jean Paul Gaultier, Kenzo, Marc by Marc, Maje, Manoush and Zadig & Voltaire are preparing for Christmas.
BHV department store has tapped avant-garde designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac to spice up their windows this year. He’s created a dramatic light show of fluorescent colored tubes changing colors second by second, along with the brightest neon sculptures.
Hermes never ceases to amaze us with its decadent, pure luxury. This season the windows are a tribute to Turkey with backgrounds of colorful ceramic tile walls from Isnik. The most sumptuous, print silk scarves, travel trunks made of ostrich, the famed Kelly bag in hot pink suede, and a tie made of crocodile are just some of the fabulous fashions adorning the voyage to Turkey.
An Eiffel Tower ice sculpture at Champs Elysees
The Champs Elysees tempts you with three special treats not to be missed. The largest outdoor Christmas market in Paris boasts over 150 festive stands with Christmas ornaments & decorations, gifts, ceramics, toys, jewelry, and hats, scarves, and gloves to keep you warm. You can indulge your appetite with hot mulled wine, home made donuts, cotton candy, and tartifllete, a most delicious French peasant dish of potatoes, cheese, and bacon. A very chilly exhibition Ice Magic has hand-carved ice sculptures of all the famous French monuments and icons including the Eiffel Tower, Rodin's Thinker, Notre Dame and its hunchback, Mona Lisa, the Hotel de Ville, Sacre Coeur, Django Reinhardt and of course, Santa Claus. Make sure you bundle up- it’s about 15 degrees inside.
Last but certainly not least is Le Grande Roue (the big wheel) covered in bright white lights, standing 197 feet above the Place de la Concorde. Climb on board for the ride of your life and see Paris from a whole new prospective.
The Le Grande Roue near Place de la Concorde
64 Blvd. Haussmann,9th arr.
Metro: Havre Caumartin
Tel: 01 42 82 57 87
40 Blvd. Haussmann, 9th arr.
Windows are lit from 9 a.m.-1 a.m. daily
24 rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, 8th arr.