Right now, you can see a slight change in the streets of the city of lights. Obviously, as Christmas gets closer, shops begin to change. But in Paris, whole areas are getting ready for this celebration with something very special: the Christmas lights.
The most well-known place to see Christmas lights in Paris are the Champs-Elysées. This year, after the success of the ‘snowfall’ lights, they will be ‘tree rings’, positioned in the 200 trees of the most famous Paris avenue. More than a hundred mirrors will help those lights creating a unique show. Audrey Tautou, the actress of Amélie, was chosen this year to inaugurate the Champs-Elysées Christmas lights.
Nearby, on avenue Montaigne, light balls will be up in the trees with branches of mistletoe. And as the tradition says, in France and in northern Europe, you are supposed to kiss the person you love under the mistletoe. That could be an occasion to kiss a random person in the street if you click… or to kiss your lover.
A bit further, in the posh area around Place Vendôme (Rue de la Paix, Rue Saint-Honoré), the Christmas lights will have the shape of snowfalls, as if it was raining stars. This part of Paris is full of shops with designer clothes and well-known fashion brands.
In the same area, there is the Forum des Halles, one of Paris biggest malls, which is located above the metro and train station of Châtelet-Les Halles, the busiest underground station in the world. The Forum des Halles might not be as sexy as the Champs-Elysées or Place Vendôme, but if you have to take the metro at Châtelet, which you will certainely have to do, you can take a stroll in the mall to see the Christmas lights there. The Forum des Halles is currently being rebuilt, which is one of the most important architectural and urban change of the French capital. The new Forum des Halles will be ready by 2014.
This year, the Forum des Halles chose to have digital Christmas lights, which are designed by the contemporary artist Miguel Chevalier. Digital snowflakes will be swirling all around the mall. This is a very modern interpretation of this tradition which could be worth seeing. The Forum des Halles is very close to the Centre Pompidou and the Marais, that is it say, very close to gay Paris.
Many other parts of Paris will have their own Christmas lights, such as the Grands Boulevards area, with the big shops of Galeries Lafayette and Printemps, and the area of Bercy with the lights of Bercy Village, which will also be digital, as the ones of the Forum des Halles.
So basically, the intersting thing about Christmas lights is that they need to be in line with what people expect of them, the tradition, and also that they have to change every year and to be modern. It’s an interesting mix which is worth a visit to the French capital!