31 Free Things to Do in Paris in December – The Christmas Edition

Christmas tree, France

The holiday season is upon us, and there are lots of free things to do in Paris this month!

We’re hitting the road today to visit the Christmas market in Strasbourg, which is famous. I’ve always wanted to go.

Check out all of the great activities available in December:

12/1 Paris Christmas Markets

There are 20 different Christmas markets throughout Paris, so take the opportunity to have some vin chaud and to see some handmade and unique crafts items, and to do some holiday shopping. Check out the complete list of Paris Christmas Markets and schedule on ParisInfo.

12/2 Practices of Rural Turkish Farmers – Photo Exhibition

Check out this free photo exhibition on rural Turkey at the Institut de Recherche et d’Etudes Méditerranée et Moyen-Orient (IReMMO). Daily from 10-12:30 and 1:30 – 7 from November 22 to January 2, 2013. Closed Sunday. Free entry. IReMMO, 5/7 rue Basse des Carmes, Paris 5th. Metro Maubert Mutualité, line 10. http://www.iremmo.org

12/3 Game Night at O’Paris

Play board games and win prizes at O’Paris on Monday nights through January 28th starting at 7:30. O’Paris, 1 rue des Envierges, Paris 20th. Metro Couronnes, line 2, or Pyrénées, line 11. http://www.le-o-paris.com

12/4 Student Workshops on Sustainable Development

Go to your local CROUS (university restaurant) to turn in your electronics for recycling and learn about sustainable development and going green. Daily during mealtimes through December 14. http://www.crous-paris.fr/

12/5 Dramatic Reading of Guy de Maupassant

Famous voice actor reads Guy de Maupassant’s work aloud. Also, check out readings of Babar on December 12. 8:00 – 9:30 PM. MPAA de Saint-Blaise, 37/39 rue de Saint-Blaise, Paris 20th. Metro Porte de Bagnolet, line 3. Check website for schedule of readings of classic French works. http://festivallivresentete.blogspot.com

12/6 Global Hip-Hop Show

See a performance by a hip-hop artist that’s recorded and played on 400 radio stations worldwide. Every 1st and 3rd Thursday of the month. This week, it’s Dee Nasty. From 8:00 PM. Au Vieux Saumur, 10 rue Bellevilla, Paris 20th. Metro Belleville, lines 2 and 11.

12/7 Jazz Concert at Apostrophe

From 8:30. Purchase of a beverage encouraged, but inexpensive. Apostrophe, 23 rue de la Grange aux Belles, Paris 10th. Metro Colonel Fabien, line 2, or Jacques Bonsergent, line 5.

12/8 Christmas Concert at the Hopital Saint-Louis

See a performance of Bach’s Magnificat and Hasse’s Miserere by the amateur choir Concentvs Paris. Chapelle de l’Hôpital Saint-Louis, 10, rue de la Grange aux Belles, Paris 10th. Metro Colonel Fabien, line 2, or Jacques Bonsergent, line 5. http://www.vocalises.org

12/9 Christmas Markets, All Over Paris

Take your pick of the Paris Christmas markets to see homemade items for sale.

Réinventez Noël

December 8-9 from 11 -8. Atelier Porte Soleil, 57 rue des Vinaigriers, Paris 10th. Metro Gare de l’Est, lines 4, 5, and 7. http://www.boutique-createurs.com

Agitation Créative

December 8 from 11 – 8 and December 9 from 11 – 7. La Cartonnerie, 12 rue Deguerry, Paris 11th. Metro Belleville, lines 2 and 11 or Parmentier, line 3. http://agitationcreative.blogspot.com

Le Marché de Noël de la Loge

December 8-9 from 11 AM. La Loge, 77 rue de Charonne, Paris 11th. Metro Charonne, line 9. http://www.lalogeparis.fr

12/10 200 Bagues 20 Créateurs Jewelry Exhibition

Explore jewelry made by more than 20 contemporary designers and pick up some Christmas presents along the way. Daily from December 6 through December 22. Galérie Goutte de Terre, 46 rue Godefroy Cavaignac, Paris 11th. Metro Voltaire, line 9. http://www.gouttedeterre.org/

12/11 C’est un Grand Mystère Artesanal Exhibition

Do even more Christmas shopping at the C’est un Grand Mystère gallery from December 10 – 16, and admire a selection of homemade items. From 11 – 8. Boutique C’est un Grand Mystère, 147 rue Ordonner, Paris 18th. Metro Guy Moquet, line 13, or Jules Joffrin, line 12. http://j-veux-du-soleil.blogspot.fr

Rendez-Vous by Columbia-Penn Programs in Paris

12/12 Rendez-Vous Contemporary Music Concert

Come see a concert of contemporary a cappella music in English and French by American study abroad students and French singers. Sponsored by Columbia-Penn Programs in Paris. Free entry, donations requested. Followed by an apéro. Grande Salle, Reid Hall, 4 rue de Chevreuse, Paris 6th. Metro Vavin, line 4, Notre-Dame-des-Champs, line 12, or Raspail, line 6.

12/13 Montmartre Artists Open House

The artists of Montmartre open their doors with a holiday bazaar. December 13 – 16, 2 – 6 PM. Friday until 8 PM. Montmartre Aux Artistes, 189 rue Ordonner, Paris 18th. Metro Guy Moquet, line 13, or Jules Joffrin, line 12. http://www.montmartre-aux-artistes.org

12/14 Blues, Jazz, and Coffee at Starbucks Alésia

Check out the work of J-Paul Pagnon and listen to live jazz from 2 – 7 PM. Wednesday, December 12 – Friday, December 14. Starbucks Alésia, 74 avenue du Général Leclerc, Paris 14th. Metro Alésia, line 4.

12/15 The Museum of Everything

Check out contemporary art and two moving exhibitions at the Museum of Everything through December 16. Wednesday – Sunday, 10 AM – 10 PM. 14 boulevard Raspail, Paris 14th. Metro Raspail, lines 4 and 6. http://musevery.fr

12/16 A Sufi Christmas

Conference discussing spiritualism and enlightenment in world religions. 4:45 PM. Email galerie-artes@wanadoo.fr to confirm your attendance and bring something Christmas-y to eat. Galerie Artes, 11 rue Frédéric Sauton, Paris 5th. Metro Maubert Mutualité, line 10.

12/17 Christmas Light Installations in Paris

Check out Christmas light displays all over Paris. The sun sets at about 4:30, so there’s plenty of time in the afternoon! Check out the complete list of lights displays here.

12/18 Indonesian Street Art Exhibit at the Goutte d’Or

See an art exhibition by Kévin Florentin and Sarah Gineau Delyon. Centre Musical Fleury Goutte d’Or, 1 rue Fleury, Paris 18th. Metro Barbes-Rochechouart, lines 2 and 4. http://street-indonesia.fr

12/19 Jazz and Swing Concert by Pierre-Yves Plat

Free entry with purchase of a drink (dinner isn’t cheap.) Concerts every Wednesday at 9 PM. Atelier Charonne, 21 rue de Charonne, Paris 11th. Metro Bastille, lines 1, 5, and 8.

12/20 Life in Motion Exhibition by Edna Wargon

Contemporary works of art. Monday – Saturday, 1:30 – 6:30 PM, December 10 – 22nd. Open house December 13. Galerie Monod, 16 rue Ouessant, Paris 15th. Metro Motte-Piquet Grenelle, lines 6, 8, and 10. http://ewd.wargon.net

12/21 Christmas Trash Party

Celebrate the end of the world at l’OPA Bastille. 11:30 PM – 6 AM. L’OPA Bastille, 9 rue Biscornet, Paris 12th. Metro Bastille, lines 1, 5, 8. http://www.opa-paris.com

12/22 Caroling at the American Church in Paris

Survive the end of the world? Join the American Church in Paris for some Christmas festivities. Christmas cookie decorating and Gingerbread house construction at 2 PM, then sandwiches, cookies, and cider from 5-6:30. After that, head out for caroling on the Champs Elysées from 6:30 – 8:30. American Church in Paris, 65 Quai D’Orsay, Paris 7th. Metro Invalides, lines 8 and 13. http://acparis.org/

12/23 Vite, Vite, C’est Noël Book Fair

Check out new works of literature and pick up something to read at the Editeurs Associés book fair. Grand Opening Thursday, December 13 at 6:30, then open daily from December 14 – January 5. Tuesday – Friday, 2-6:30, Saturday 10 – 6:30. Librarie des Editeurs Associés, 10 rue Tournefort, Paris 5th. Metro Cardinal Lemoine, line 10.http://www.lesediteursassocies.com/blog

12/24 Midnight Mass at Notre Dame

Even if you’re not religious, experience the decorations and listen to one of the most prestigious church choirs in Paris at midnight Mass. Notre Dame Cathedral, Ile de la Cité, Paris 4th. Metro Cité, line 4, or Saint-Michel, lines 4 and 10.

12/25 Merry Christmas!

Pretty much everything is closed, so no free stuff to do. Have some buche de Noël.

12/26 Happy Hour Cocktails at Blok Paris

Even if you’re on vacation this week, celebrate happy hour with a free drink and free entry with this pass. Blok Paris, 33 bis rue des Lombards, Paris 1st. Metro Chatelet les Halles, lines 1, 4, 7, and 11.

Galéries Lafayette Window, 2007

12/27 Galéries Lafayette Window Displays

Take a look at the amazing window displays at the Galéries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussmann. Metro Chausée d’Antin Lafayette, lines 7 and 9.

12/28 Erasmus Party

Join students from all over Europe at the Erasmus party. Free entry with this pass. Voutes Club, 23 rue Mouffetard, Paris 5th. Metro Place Monge, line 7.

12/29 Visit the Nickelodeon Christmas Tree

The Christmas tree in Place de la Concorde is the site of lots of fun activities and shows from December 6 until January 3. Spongebob Squarepants will make an appearance at the tree lighting on December 6th. Check on Nickelodeon’s websitefor a calendar of events.

12/30 Ice Skating in Paris

Photo Credit: Paris Etudiant

Check out one of Paris’s free ice skating rinks at Hôtel de Ville or Trocadero. Skate rental is €5. There are also rinks with paid admissions at Grand Palais and on the Champs Elysées. No rinks at Montparnasse or on the Eiffel Tower this year.

Patinoire Hôtel de Ville

December 21, 2012 – March 17, 2013. Monday – Friday 12 – 10 PM. Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, 9 AM – 10 PM.

Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, Paris 4th. Metro Hôtel de Ville, line 1.

Patinoire Trocadéro

December 13, 2012 – January 6, 2013. Hours not yet available. Other winter activities available for kids.

Esplanade des Droits de l’Homme, Paris 16th. Metro Trocadéro, line 6.

Grand Palais (not free)

Admission €12, includes skate rental. December 13, 2012 – January 6, 2013. Daily from 10 to 6. Open late on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.

3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower 75008 Paris, Metro Franklin-D.-Roosevelt, lines 1 and 9.

Champs-Elysées (not free)

Admission 7€, includes skate rental. November 16, 2012 – January 6, 2013. Monday – Friday 11 AM – 11 PM. Saturday and Sunday until 12 AM.

Avenue des Champs Elysées (almost Concorde). Metro Concorde, lines 1, 8, and 12, or Franklin Roosevelt, lines 1 and 9.

12/31 Memoire et Imaginaire, de Lahcen Fikri

Art exhibition. Tuesday through Saturday, 11:30 – 7:30, December 6 – 28. Rue des Consuls-Créateurs de Décoration Orientale, 24 rue au Maire, Paris 3rd. Metro Arts et Métiers, line 11. http://www.delphyart.fr

About the author: Allison Lounes is a Bureaucracy Ninja at Paris Unraveled, and has been helping students move to France and conquer French bureaucracy since 2010.


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    • Allison Lounes is a graduate of Columbia University (B.A., French and Romance Philology, 2009) and the Middlebury College French School (M.A., French, 2009). After studying abroad with Columbia University Programs in Paris during the 2007-2008 academic year, she returned to France in September 2009 to complete a Master 2 degree in Comparative Literature at the Université de Paris VII - Denis Diderot, where she studied Algerian libertine folktales.
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