Once again, the French post office has a cute, animated home page for the holiday season. The site is full of games (jouer) and of course, you have the chance to write to Santa.
Click on the cartoon center of the page to enter and watch the animation. Click on the letter in the center to write to Santa (ecrire au Père Noël). Fill in the blanks. Your age, first name, last name, address, apartment number, street number and name, zip code (code postal), city, country, email address. In step 2, write out your message to Santa; 45 lines maximum and using the Latin alphabet (no cyrillic, for example). In step 3, verify your address and message. Click “Poste la lettre” to send.
Once inside the site, you have a choice of watching the animation again (revoire le debut de l’histoire) or watch the calendar countdown.
Click on the Santa to the left to watch an animation about Great Inventions. In the right hand corner play the video games during different French epochs.
The Tallest Christmas Tree in Europe
Near the entrance to the Orangerie museum in the Tuileries Garden and Place de la Concorde measures 35 meters tall. It is higher than the Luxor obelisk in the Place de la Concorde. A convoy took two days to bring in the pine from the heart of the Abreschviller forest in Moselle. Sponge Bob and Dora the Explorer flip the lights on December 6 until January 3.
Beginning December 22 to January 6, the free merry-go-rounds are back. Children ride for free, but do we every grow up? According to the City of Paris, apparently not. The merry-go-round is free to everyone.
Check the Paris Web site for exact dates by clicking the tack on the map.
Open: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in every arrondissement except the first and second.
3rd arrondissement : Square du Temple
4th arrondissement : Place de l’Hôtel de Ville (rue de Rivoli side) – Place de l’Hôtel de Ville (Seine side)
5th arrondissement : Bordure du square Saint-Médard
6th arrondissement : Place Saint Sulpice
7th arrondissement : Place Joffre
8th arrondissement : Place de la Concorde (same side as the Ferris wheel) – Place de la Madeleine
9th arrondissement : Place Lino Ventura
10th arrondissement : Square Bonsergent
11th arrondissement : Square du Père Chaillet
12th arrondissement : Place de la Mairie, 130 Avenue Daumesnil
13th arrondissement : Place d’Italie (at the corner of Place d’Italie and avenue d’Italie)
14th arrondissement : Angle of rues Didot et Jacquier
15th arrondissement : Place Raoul Dautry
16th arrondissement : Place du Trocadéro
17th arrondissement : Place du Docteur Félix Lobligeois
18th arrondissement : Square Louise Michel
19th arrondissement : Place Armand Carrel
20th arrondissement : Rue Belgrand
The Ferris Wheel at Place de la Concorde (La Grande Roue place de la Concorde) until February 17, 2013. Forty-one compartments with room for six people. Open every day 10:30 a.m. until midnight. Adults 10 euros/Children under ten five euros.
Ice Skating in the Open Air
Hôtel de Ville
In 2011, over 100,000 skaters took advantage of the open air skating rink in the Hôtel de Ville plaza. A separate track is available for small children. Want to play ice hockey? Drop by on the weekend.
Admission is free with your own skates, otherwise, rent a pair of single blade skates (sizes are European 25 to 49) for five euros. Double blade skates (size 27 and smaller) are available for children. You must leave a piece of ID and wear gloves. Because the rink is outdoors, weather conditions may cause the closure of the rink.
December 21, 2012 to March 17, 2013
Open Monday to Friday noon to 10 p.m.; Saturday, Sunday and holidays 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Free admission, skate rental is five euros
Metro: Hôtel de Ville (lines 1 & 11)
The Grand Palais
For the first in its history, the Grand Palais becomes a giant skating rink between December 13, 2012 and January 6, 2013.
Open every day 10 a.m. Check their schedule for Grand Palais rink closing times. Depending on the daily program, it could be 6, 7, 8, or 9 p.m.
Adults: 12 euros/Children 6 euros
It is possible to buy tickets in advance and avoid the lines
Metro: Lines 1, 9, 13 (Franklin D. Roosevelt and Champs-Elysées Clemenceau), RER C (Invalides), Bus lines: 28, 42, 52, 72, 73, 80, 83 and 93
A 100 square meter garden of ice, winds its way around a skating path. For those who don’t want to fight the skating crowd, admire the fauna exhibition of three hundred stuffed animals. Watch the video.
Open every day until January 6, 2013; Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to midnight.
Skate rental is available.
Metro: Concorde or Franklin Roosevelt
Origin of the Christmas Markets
The first traces of Christmas markets (marchés de Noël) or Saint Nicolas markets date back to the 14th century in German and Alsace. The first recorded document referring to the market is in Dresden, dated 1434, under the reign of Frederic II of Saxe.
Traditionally, the markets were held eight days before Christmas until Midnight Mass. The Dresden market celebrates 578 years this year, Strasbourg dates from 1570 and Nuremberg from 1628.
Locate the markets on Google Maps
- Marché de Noël des Champs-Elysées
- Avenue des Champs Elysées. – Nov 16 to Jan 6
- Noël’Fest – Le Noël des créateurs
- Boulevard de Ménilmontant – Dec 8 and 9
- Marché Saint-Germain -Dec 6 to Jan 2
- Marché de Noël du Trocadéro -Dec 13 to Jan 6
- Marché de Noël de Montparnasse -Dec 5 to 30
- Village de Noël Gare de Lyon- Dec 25 to 31
- Marché de Noël place d’Italie -Nov 24 to Dec 24
- Marché de Noël de Notre Dame – Dec 15 to 23 in thé area of Huchette (check the map)
- Parvis de la Défense – Nov 21 to Dec 29 (Closed Dec 25)
- Marché Place Johan Strauss et Boulevard Saint Martin – Dec 14 and 15
- Marché First arrondissement- rue Argenteuil and rue des Pyramides – Dec 10 to 14
- Marché Fifth arrondissement – Square Viviani, rue de la Bûcherie – Dec 14 to 23
- Marché Rue d’Alésia (between N° 62 and N°104 Nov 27 to Dec 30
- Marché 15th arrondissement (31, rue Péclet) – Dec 13 to 25
- Marché Place Raoul Dutry – Dec 10 to Jan 2
- Marché de Noël Gare de l’ Est – Nov 30 Nov Dec 15
The Village de Noël lines the Champs-Elysées
Close to 200 chalets line the Champs-Elysées
Open every day November 16 to January 6
Sunday to Thursday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to midnight