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Christmas and New Year's Days in Paris: does the town shut down?

Christmas and New Year's Days in Paris: does the town shut down?

Old Oct 27th, 2012, 03:54 PM
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Christmas and New Year's Days in Paris: does the town shut down?

While I'm thinking of it: should we stock up on groceries on Christmas and New Year's Eves, and plan on eating in our Paris apartment, or will there be scattered food markets, bakeries and restaurants open on the 25th and 1st? We're staying in the 3rd arr.
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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 04:39 PM
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Do it early on Christmas Eve as all the Parisian's will shop early for their celebrations that night.

There are places open on Christmas Day...everything is quiet and things open up in the late afternoon, but there are places open on Christmas. Christmas Eve seemed more quiet than Christmas Day did. Consider scoping out areas that are traditionally not "Christian" areas....like areas where there are more Jewish or Middle Eastern businesses and neighborhoods, for example. You are more likely to find open places there.
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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 04:53 PM
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Many things are shut down but not impossibly so. You will find some restaurants open. Markets may be more difficult. The Jewish part of Le Marais will be going. If it's a cold-but-sunny day, people will be out and about. There is a festive atmosphere.

We spent that week there several years ago. My sister and I shopped at the marche d'Aligre before noon on the 24th. I had placed an order for a Bûche de Noël, so we went and picked that up too. Fun errands. We all went out to a nice dinner that evening. Next day we woke up late, had coffee and opened our little trinkets. My sister and I are runners, so we took a long run through the relatively empty streets of Paris--gorgeous. Walked to Place des Vosges and did a some light shopping in the Marais. Most places were closed but by no means everything. Our mom went to see the Jewish history museum. My sister and I went off to the Pompidou where we spent hours. Met back at the apartment and Leely--yes, I--cooked Christmas dinner. Later we walked over to Notre Dame.

Hmm, now I'm getting nostalgic.

I would take the 25th and the 1st as vacation-from-the-vacation days. Lighter on the sightseeing but a better opportunity to view architecture without mobs on the streets. And of course if you're church-goers, the choice is yours. Enjoy!
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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 05:17 PM
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More ideas here. Looks like, at least in past years, the Jacquemart-André Museum has been open.

http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/2...tmas-in-paris/
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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 06:05 PM
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Excellent, denisea. Thank you. We can follow our noses, I'll bet.

Your Christmas sounds so fun. I'll bet the four of us could demolish a Bûche de Noël in a couple of days, too. Maybe I can find a duck at Marche d'Aligre to stand in for a goose.

Good old NYTimes travel. We could do worse than follow some of that plan. She does seem to say that Midnight Mass is at the end of Christmas Day instead of Eve. I wonder whether that's ignorance, or if they do it differently there.
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Old Oct 27th, 2012, 11:14 PM
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In the very worst case how much food do you need for ONE day?
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 12:18 AM
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Food markets and bakeries will be open as usual on the 25th and the 1st. Shops will often close about an hour early on the 24th and the 31st -- but this year will be different, because those are Mondays, when a lot of the market streets are usually closed traditionally. This year they will be open, because they absolutely do not want to miss the biggest days of sales for the year.

The department stores, shopping malls and places like Monoprix will also be open every Sunday in December.

Plenty of restaurants will be open because the city will be overloaded with tourists -- we don't let them starve like in London.
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 01:49 AM
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We ere able to find places to eat in Paris on new years day without a proble. Lots of places are shut, but lots are also open...especially in the more touristy areas.
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 01:58 AM
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hi Stoke - Christmas in Paris - lucky you!

i was fairly certain, like you, that the info re the midnight service was incorrect, so i did a bit of googling, and found this:

http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/index...id_rubrique=69

you [and I] were right - it's on Christmas Eve, of course, though if you can't make it, there are plenty of other choices, [just play around with the website] including watching it on telly.

Where is your apartment? is it convenient for Notre Dame?
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 06:31 AM
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Absolutely, Dukey. I have my family too spoiled with our traditional Christmas dinner and breakfast, anyway; by now they feel entitled. Possibly my favorite ever was when the girls were little and I'd just gotten out of a week in the hospital, could only lie on the couch and soak in the joy of being alive and not having to cook or buy presents.

Thank you, Kerouac. I knew you'd know. I do respect London for giving almost everyone one day off together. As Dukey notes, we tourists won't really starve.

Good to hear, Jamie. Thanks!

Hi, Ann. It worked out that my husband and daughters both had vacation time then, so we could rendezvous with dtr who's in the Hautes-Alpes this school year. I'd also had a bit of hankering to see those holiday lights that Kerouac photographs so nicely.

Our apartment is just north of Place des Vosges, so in tourist-flood area but a nice stroll to Notre Dame. That looks like the place to be, doesn't it? I wonder whether arriving at 2200 would be early enough to get a seat.
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 06:52 AM
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I see that it's the 850 year Jubilee for Notre Dame, so possibly a bigger deal than usual, and televised.
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 08:22 AM
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stoke - i went back to the notre dame website and looked for info about when and how to arrive and found this: they advise arriving only 15-20 mins in advance of the service:

http://www.notredamedeparis.fr/spip.php?article1446

that's probably right as they have so many services that night, that there's barely time to get one lot of people out before the next lot arrives. In fact I'm rather confused by it, as the midnight mass seems to start before the carol service ends! perhaps kerouac can explain that one?
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 10:12 AM
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Since only 6% of French nominal Catholics attend church services, your main competition will be other tourists.
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 10:34 AM
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Since only 6% of French nominal Catholics attend church services, your main competition will be other tourists.>>

is that true even at Christmas, kerouac?

even this old atheist is to be seen in our local cathedral on Christmas Eve [purely for the music of course!] is there no tradition in France of non church-goers attending the midnight service, probably being the only time they set foot in a church the whole year long?
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 10:52 AM
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Perhaps a few more go to a service than usual, but since Christmas eve dinner is so important in France and lasts forever, even a lot of people who are planning to go to mass never actually make it there.

However, more than 6% of Catholic residents of France go to mass, because many residents are Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Eastern European and African. In my own neighborhood, which is perhaps about 20% black, I have walked into various local churches during Sunday mass, and the worshipers are about 90% black.

I know that during the World Youth Days that were held in Paris a couple of decades ago, my area hosted lots of young people from Poland, and they were extremely disconcerted to find that nearly all of their host families were black (either African or French West Indian). Of course, things turned out well in the end, but some people have extremely outdated information about what to expect when they come to France.
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 12:26 PM
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Thank you, annhig and kerouac!

I had skipped over the "15 min early" part, Ann. It would seem best to arrive early with a Plan B, anyway, in case it turns out to be a crowded TV lights kind of a production. Unless we do as the locals do and never actually get out as intended.
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 01:20 PM
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Even if you did want to go to Mass, if you were a local, why would you go to Notre Dame unless you happened to live in that neighborhood? If you were just being religious, you'd probalby go to your actual parish.
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Old Oct 28th, 2012, 01:21 PM
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Hey Stokebailey, lucky you! I wish i could have my Christmas in Paris. I love the city a lot.
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Old Oct 29th, 2012, 08:12 AM
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Even if you did want to go to Mass, if you were a local, why would you go to Notre Dame unless you happened to live in that neighborhood? If you were just being religious, you'd probalby go to your actual parish.>>


christina - presumably for the same reason that we go to our Cathedral on christmas night, rather than to a local church. i agree that those who habitually attend church all year round would probably go to their own local church, but those for whom church-going is an annual event may well head for Notre Dame.
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Old Oct 29th, 2012, 12:23 PM
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It is an above average cathedral.
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