With Halloween behind us and the holidays around the corner, November and December hold so many special things to do in Paris as we transition from fall to winter!
Paris is a city full of historical and cultural gems, here are some places for you to explore its rich offerings while staying warm during the colder months. Fill up your calendar with these must-do things in Paris at the end of 2023:
1) Armistice Day (November 11)
The armistice of November 11, 1918, signed at 5:15 a.m. in the “Armistice wagon” of Marshal Ferdinand Foch’s General Staff train, put an end to the “Great War”. This marked the end of the First World War (1914-1918), which claimed more than 18 million lives. A generation destroyed. Germany capitulates and calls a halt to the fighting. This armistice led to the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
To celebrate this important date in the calendar, various ceremonies are being organized across the country. The most impressive is the ceremony which will take place at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, in the presence of the French President at 11am.
2) Stay warm and dry in the Sumptuous Covered Passages of Paris
Step back in time to 19th-century Paris and embark on a journey through the city’s elegant boutiques and covered passageways, allowing you to stroll like a Belle Epoque Parisian. This experience offers a glimpse into the heart of refined Paris of yesteryear. Explore the world of covered passageways, which served as social lounges during the Restoration and evolved into both romantic refuges and bustling shopping corridors during Haussmann’s era.
These passageways, adorned with mosaics, neoclassical paintings, sculptures, and magnificent glass domes remain magical places of tranquility and vibrancy, inspiring writers and photographers alike. Some passageways are widely recognized, while others remain hidden gems, but all provide a window into the ambiance of 19th-century Paris.
Your private guide from La Compagnie des Guides will unveil the secrets and customs of this captivating period.
3) Beaujolais Nouveau Release (Third Thursday in November)
Celebrate the arrival of the new vintage of Beaujolais which is like New Year’s Eve for wine lovers. A tradition, a celebration, a worldwide event that captures the very essence of the Beaujolais terroir. It’s a time to celebrate, share, and, above all, taste Beaujolais nouveau. This year you can have a glass in restaurants and cafes all over Paris starting on Thursday, November 16.
And if you’d like to dive deeper into œnology La Compagnie des Guides offers a wine-tasting tour in the historic Latin Quarter.
Located on the left bank, around the University of la Sorbonne, the Latin quarter is one of the oldest, most lively, and picturesque neighborhoods in the capital. With its historic markets at Place Maubert and Place Monge, or its open-air stalls on rue Mouffetard, it’s the perfect place to have an unforgettable wine and gastronomic experience.
4) Christmas Markets
Explore the enchanting Christmas markets in cities like Strasbourg, Colmar, and Paris which open their chalets as early as November. Originating in Germany and Alsace, Christmas markets have spread throughout Europe since the 1990s. Little by little, they have become an essential part of the festive season in Paris.
Christmas decorations, festive items, local produce, and handicrafts are presented in small wooden chalets, in a warm and enchanting atmosphere. You’re sure to find everything you need to decorate your tree, original gift ideas, and delicious holiday treats. The most beautiful Christmas markets in Paris include:
- Les Abbesses Christmas Market in Montmartre
- La Défense Christmas market
- The Alsatian Christmas market at Gare de l’Est
- Féeries d’Auteuil
- Trocadéro Christmas village on the Champ de Mars, at the foot of the Eiffel Tower
- The Tuileries Christmas market, formerly on the Champs-Élysées
- The Hôtel de Ville market and its carrousel
- The Saint-Germain Christmas market
5) Van Gogh’s Exhibition – “The Final Days”
Musée d’Orsay – Until February 4, 2024
The last two months of Vincent Van Gogh’s life (May 20, 1890 – July 29, 1890) were spent in Auvers-sur-Oise. Although his state of mind was deteriorating, this was a period of artistic renewal, reflected in several major masterpieces. The Musée d’Orsay exhibition shows Van Gogh’s creative abundance during the two months preceding his suicide. He produced a total of 74 paintings and 33 drawings, including Portrait of Dr. Paul Gachet, The Church at Auvers, and Wheatfield with Crows. The exhibition features early views of the village, portraits, still lifes, and landscapes of the surrounding countryside, as well as a unique series of paintings in an elongated double-square format.
Experience this spectacular expo with a private visit from La Compagnie des Guides.
6) Christmas Illuminations
Every year at this time of year, tourists and Parisians alike look forward to the spectacle of the Christmas lights in Paris. Visitors come from all over the world to admire the enchanting colors given to the streets of Paris during this festive period. Illuminated arches, multicolored bulbs, glowing flames and sparkling projections lavishly dress the avenues of the capital.
More than ever, the “City of Light” lives up to its name! From November to early January, the Christmas illuminations on Avenue des Champs-Élysées, Avenue Montaigne, Place Vendôme, throughout the Montmartre district, at Bercy Village and many other sites, give Paris a charm more enchanting than ever!
7) Victory! The Factory of Heros
Musée de l’Armée at the Invalides – Until January 28, 2024
With the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon in 2024, the Musée de l’Armée is devoting an exhibition to the notion of Victory and the different ways in which men and women have experienced, celebrated, and materialized it throughout the world and history.
Experience this unique exhibition followed by a tour with your guide of the Invalides.
If Louis XIV built Versailles for his court, the Hôtel des Invalides was a veritable palace for his soldiers. This grandiose site is now home to the Musée de l’Armée. Your guide will recount the history of France through the uniforms and weapons on display. The tour ends with Napoleon’s tomb in the Dome church. Until the construction of the Eiffel Tower, the Dome was the highest monument in Paris, and its majesty still dominates the city.
8) Notre-Dame de Paris, from Builders to Restorers
Cité de Architecture & Patrimoine – Until June 2, 2024
An exceptional occasion to (re)discover the cathedral and its history, from its construction to today’s worksite after the devastating April 2019 fire. This exhibition is the result of a collaboration between the public organization tasked with preserving and restoring Notre-Dame Cathedral, the project manager of the construction site, and the Cité de l’Architecture & du Patrimoine. It offers a unique opportunity to connect with the cathedral, which is currently off-limits to the public. It allows visitors to explore the craftsmanship and expertise of the skilled artisans and craftsmen working diligently to reopen the cathedral for religious services and visitors in 2024. Additionally, it serves as a platform to showcase the preservation and evolution of heritage restoration techniques.
9) Amedeo Modigliani. A painter and his dealer
Musée de l’Orangerie – Until January 15th, 2024
Nearly a century after the two men met in 1914, this exhibition looks back at one of the most emblematic moments in Amedeo Modigliani’s life, when Paul Guillaume became his dealer. It will explore how the links between the two men can shed light on the artist’s career.
Through a selection of emblematic works, the exhibition will evoke the different characteristics of this body of work, exploring the links between the painter and his dealer in the Parisian artistic and literary context of the 1910s, as well as Paul Guillaume’s role in the dissemination of Modigliani’s work on the art market in both France and the United States in the 1920s;
10) And finally… Réveillon
On December 31, 2022, to celebrate the transition to 2024, the city of Paris welcomes locals and visitors alike to the Avenue des Champs-Élysées! As has become tradition, the public will be able to admire a projection show on the Arc de Triomphe starting at 10 p.m., followed by a 9-minute fireworks display, just after the countdown to the New Year, illuminating the Parisian sky with a thousand colors!
These events and traditions offer a taste of the rich cultural and festive atmosphere in France during November and December. Whatever your passions or style La Compagnie des Guides is here to make your time in Paris a celebration!