Paris during the holiday season is stunning. Some photographic evidence, after the jump.
Everything is covered in lights and surrounded by Christmas trees, including each of the twenty arrondissements’ mairies (town hall). The fifth is above, and the eighteenth is below.
Then there are the sparkly boulevards…
Above is Rue Royale looking south towards Place de la Concorde. Below, the Avenue des Champs-Élysées.
And another from the same street, looking towards the Arc de Triomphe.
I’ll get back to the streets in a second, but first, a look inside some of the grands magasins, which are exceptionally striking on a daily basis, even without all the added holiday bling.
Below is an average day at Le Bon Marché, the world’s first department store, founded in 1838. Pretty spectacular, right?
Here’s what they did for the holidays. Note the gold film they placed over the tiles on the escalators. An opulent touch.
Meanwhile, Galeries Lafayette does a different over-the-top Christmas tree every year, and the 2017 display was pretty impressive.
The covered galleries throughout the city also look even more beautiful than usual during the holidays. Below is one I walked by the other day in the 9th arrondissement.
Okay, now back to the streets. The fanciest ones are, of course, the ones with the fanciest stores. Hence, Avenue Montaigne was all decked out.
I once saw a Ferrari parked outside the hotel below so clearly it was not going to be outdone by Dior.
Then there’s Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, where this Hermès neon display was animated with a sort of stop-motion effect.
And Place de Vendôme, completely encircled by Christmas trees:
Not trying to be a party-pooper but I must say that while the lights and decoration are beautiful, I can’t help but think that the amount of energy spent on them is catastrophic for the environment, not to mention all the better uses the money could be put to.
But let’s forget I said that because I still haven’t showed you the Opera! It’s already the most over-the-top bedazzled place in town, and at Christmastime they add a humongous red tree just to bring the point home.
My favorite part of Christmas in Paris, however, is the least sparkly on the eyes and the most sparkly on the heart: the Christmas market. Alsatian-style markets have sprung up all over town, including the one below in Saint-Germain that had a raclette booth!(!!)
And there are people roasting chestnuts all over the place. One night I had nothing but hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts for dinner. (I still have a lot of growing up to do.)
Here’s the thing. I’m not even Christian, but I love and take full advantage of Christmas season in Paris, where there is a surplus of twinkly trees, sparkly lights, delicious food, the smell of hot mulled wine drifting everywhere… and somehow I have not heard a Christmas song once. It’s heavenly.
Also, it snowed in Montmartre at the very end of November, and it was just as gorgeous as you would think.
Wherever you live, I hope your month feels as magical as December in Paris. And if not… well, at least in two weeks this horrendous year will be behind us.