Christmas and New Year sees a packed programme of exciting spectacles descend on Paris, from big circus productions and shows on ice to theatre and musicals, one-man shows, classical concerts and ballets. There’s something quite special about rounding off the year with memorable entertainment – and perhaps welcoming in the New Year on a louder note, catching one of the many great end-of-year concerts featuring top artists.
Our favourite family-friendly shows for Christmas 2017 are The Nutcracker (‘Casse-Noisette’) ice ballet (29-31 December at the Palais des Sports), the Singin’ In The Rain musical (until 11 January 2018 at the Nef du Grand Palais) and the high-spirited ‘Les Franglaises’ musical (until 3 February 2018 at Théâtre Bobino), featuring songs from American and British pop culture translated into French with an amusing twist. For a big laugh, book in for the English-language stand-up comedy ‘How to Become a Parisian in One Hour’ by Olivier Giraud (until 9 June 2018 at the Théâtre des Nouveautés), a rapid introduction to understanding the attitudes and idiosyncrasies of Parisians, their mannerisms and the habits that have given them their reputation abroad.
To celebrate Christmas in a traditional, musical way, make for one of Paris’ many churches, where you can take part in vigils and masses or simply enjoy peaceful reflection while admiring the architecture. The Sacré-Cœur basilica, Notre-Dame cathedral and Madeleine church all organise prestigious celebrations on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, featuring performances by exceptional choirs. There are few more magical ways to celebrate the holiday season than with a classical concert at Sainte-Chapelle on Île de la Cité. This stunning 14th-century royal chapel has recently undergone extensive restoration on its famous stained-glass windows – enjoy works by Bach, Purcell and Corelli from 22 December through to New Year’s Day.
And of course, Paris isn’t Paris without a cabaret show – and the Moulin Rouge continues to offer spectacular extravaganzas for the Christmas period. Edith Piaf, Liza Minnelli, Frank Sinatra and Elton John have all been linked with this legendary cabaret, decorated in Belle-Époque style and red velvet. Dine on gourmet French food and sip champagne as you watch the ‘Féerie’ revue with its feathers and sequins, music, dancing and acrobatics.