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Get in the Christmas spirit in Paris

The countdown to Christmas is upon us and there are less than 30 days until we’ll be opening presents under the tree and singing carols. If that still seems like a long way away, and you’re yet to feel the Christmas spirit, here are some things to do in Paris over the festive period to get you in the mood. From ice skating to window displays, there are plenty of things to see and do in Paris in December to get you excited for Christmas Day. Ice skating You can’t get more Christmassy than skating under the stars, wrapped up in your winter knits. Paris is a great city to indulge in this wintry past-time and we’ve picked out our favourite places to get some ice skating action. Hôtel de Ville – 21st December – 2nd March, Mon-Fri noon-10pm; Sat, Sun 9am-10pm As Paris’ most popular ice skating rink, Hôtel de Ville is a must-see to experience the true practice of patinage at Christmas. Set against the picturesque 19th century building, this backdrop of this ice rink is unbeatable as you skate under the stars. It’s a must-visit with a loved one and the perfect opportunity for a romantic moment. Pssst, if you’re a pro and have your own skates, you can skate for free for the first half an hour. Grand Palais des Glaces - 14th December – 4th January As one of the most impressive buildings in Paris, the Grand Palais is hosting its very own ice rink under its spectacular glass roof. At 1,800m2 it’s the largest rink to be created in France – ever! So it’s worth a visit for the novelty factor alone! It’s not just about day time skating, there are activities and events going on every night from 9pm – 2am if you fancy staying out late. Think DJs and light installations... And don’t worry, there are plenty of food and drink outlets to keep you topped up and warm throughout the night. Think vin chaud and Christmas nibbles. Christmas Lights Who doesn’t love it when the Christmas lights are turned on? Bathing the city and streets under gold lights, it brightens up those cold dark evenings. Paris does Christmas lights with taste and with style, and some of the best light displays can be found dotted around the city in some of the most iconic areas. The most famous lights are found at Champs- Elysées and will be on until the 8th January 2015. At Faubourg St-Honore you can also go to catch a glimpse of the Christmas lights and illuminated displays, as well as Place Vendome, Montmartre and the Abbesses. Christmas Displays Though the onset of the Christmas season is just as much about Christmas shopping now as it is about tradition, you can’t deny there’s an excitement that comes with walking down the high streets and seeing the creative window displays of festive stock tempting you... As Paris is considered the shopping capital by many, it’s not surprising that their windows are some of the best dressed of the season. If you want to see some real sights, our favourites are: Galleries Lafayette - 5th November - 5th January 2015 This year, the theme at Galleries Lafayette is definitely unique. Their “Monster Christmas” includes bizarre windows featuring Gustave the monster and the theme is carried throughout the store in a series of strange puppets and gangs. Head down avenue Haussmann to see for yourself. And don’t forget to go inside either as this year they’ve gone one up again with their Christmas tree, turning the 25m tree upside down and running musical light shows every hour. Once again, Galleries Lafayette do not disappoint! Printemps Haussmann – 3rd November 6th – 3rd January 2015 This year Burberry have designed the windows for Printemps and 2014 tells the tale of a boy and his teddy bear in the Burberry flagship store in London, coming over to Paris. Interlinking the two fashion capitals this Christmas, the window displays are even interactive and visitors can get a true sense of the brand and festive message through this emotive “Magical journey by Burberry”. From November 6th, 2014 till January 3rd, 2015, 64 boulevard Haussmann, 9th Paris - Subway Chaussée d'Antin Other shops worth visiting are Le Bon Marché, Paris’ oldest department store, who have themed their windows with mobile cardboard reindeers which can’t help but amuse. BVH is also a great one for the kids, as their display is video-game themed. Think of your favourite pixelated heroes and you’ll find them across the store, as well as joysticks and arcade games decorating this modern take on Christmas. Merry go-rounds Whether you’re in Paris with the kids, or you’re a big kid yourself, one of the best things about Paris in the winter are the merry go-rounds that are erected across the city. From 20th December – 4th January 2015, 10am – 7pm, there are a long list of (free!) merry go-rounds for you to enjoy around every corner: Square du Temple, 64 rue de Bretagne - Métro Hôtel de Ville Place de l’Hôtel de Ville side Rivoli -Métro Hôtel de Ville Bordure du square St Médard - Métro Censier - Daubenton Place Sainte Sulpice - Métro Mabillon Place Joffre - Métro Ecole Militaire Place de la Madeleine - Métro Madeleine Place Lino Ventura - Métro Pigalle or Anvers Place du Père Chaillet - Métro Voltaire Place du Trocadéro - Métro Trocadéro Square Louise Michel, 6 place Saint-Pierre - Métro Anvers

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