November 25, 2011

The City of Light

Photo by Cameron Greentree

Thanksgiving went well (we hope) ... with turkey to spare, but there’s no need to linger in the past. There are places to go and sparkles to see. They don’t call Paris the "City of Light" for nothing.

Photo by Elke Jaarsma-Blom
Yes, the American tradition of holiday decorations appearing before Thanksgiving is now becoming a French tradition. The elegant and multi-character productions gracing and animating the windows of Printemps (Dreamy Christmas Getaways, a journey to 11 countries) and Galeries Lafayette (Rock and Roll Christmas) have been up for weeks now, inaugurated by Vanessa Paradis and Karl Lagerfield with a gala celebration. And the newly designed holiday tree-ring lights on the Champs Elysées came alive this past Wednesday ("switched on" by Audrey Tatou), as they reflected and shimmered off hundreds of mirrors dotting the tree branches. Designer Christmas trees will be displayed at the Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild (from 2 December to 7 December), and are then auctioned to raise money for cancer research.  

La grande roue at the west end of the Tuileries is spinning magically, lighting up the night sky. The wooden chalets for the marché de noël are built and ready to go (patterned after the Alsatian markets such as Strasbourg and Colmar). The ice skating rinks at Hôtel de Ville and Trocadéro will open around December 16. There’s also a fun fair stuffed into the Grand Palais from 15 December to 2 January.

2010 WICE Holiday Sparkle Team
Get your cameras ready and join us for the Holiday Sparkle photo expedition on 5 December, where we hit the highlights (Christmas Tree at Galeries Lafayette, store windows, Place de la Concorde, and Champs Elysées. You'll also learn about night photography and the magic of slow shutter speeds while using vin chaud as fuel for the creative soul.

Or join the holiday wreath-making workshop or the holiday cooking class (coquilles Saint Jacques and Bûche de Noël).

Here’s to a happy holiday season!

Marché de Noël: Visit the Champs Elysées, Saint Germain des Prés, Saint Sulpice, Gare Montparnasse,  Place des Abbesses, Gare de l’Est, Place de Nation, La Défense, and Trocadero.

Other beautiful illuminations: Bercy Village, Avenue Montaigne, Place Vendôme

(Note: The photos in this post were taken during last year's Holiday Sparkle expedition.)