Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Where to find the real Christmas spirit in Paris - part 2

Continued from yesterday, a few suggestions for a few places to soak up an authentic festive atmosphere in the city.

The Jardins du Palais Royal
After visiting the Galerie Vivienne, cross over the Rue des Petits Champs and take a stroll in the gardens of the Palais Royal, especially if night has already fallen. In the early evening darkness, the shops and cafes under the arcades become even more inviting.

The Bon Marché and the Grande Epicerie

I never normally go to the Bon Marché, and indeed start to get panic attacks when I leave the right-bank, but this grand magasin just seems to be the one that does Christmas best. It's most definitely haughty and snobbish, but that also means that it is more restrained and an altogether calmer experience than the other large department stores. Christmas to the French means food and drink above all else, so where better to get a French flavour of Christmas than in the food hall of the Bon Marché, the Grande Epicerie?

La Madeleine
Like most people who celebrate Christmas, I am not a religious person, and yet I am still a sucker for the atmosphere of a church, the candles and incense and the atmospheric music. This year, the best place to find that ambience will be at the Madeleine church. As it has been the year of Russia in France, the church will be presenting a Russian themed 'creche' this Christmas, and to continue the exotic theme, the Christmas concert on Saturday 11th December will be given by a young choir from Bratislavia in Slovakia.

Do you have any other suggestions? I'd love to hear them.

1 comment:

landscape lover said...

We were travelling home in the snow and the dark last night from Stalingrad, and glimpsed some pretty lights from the elevated part of the line 2 metro. Of course I now can't remember exactly where, but somewhere along bd de la Chapelle I guess. There was something magical (especially for the kids travelling with us) to see all that festive sparkliness right next to the noisy, elevated metro line. Worth keeping en eye out for, if you're on line 2 at night.