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What’s on in Paris this December

1 December 2015

Enjoy Outstanding Shopping Experiences & Unique Days Out During a Stay at Amarante Champs-Élysées

With some of the world’s most prestigious stores and leading attractions mere minutes away, it’ll be easy to make the countdown to Christmas extra special during a four-star stay at Amarante Champs-Élysées this December. We’ve been finding out more about two particular destinations that are truly unique to the city and will deliver an unforgettable day out, whether you’re in search of the perfect gift or enchanting experience for the whole family.

Shopping at Printemps

With its gilded turrets, mesmerising animated Christmas windows and a sought-after gift selection, Printemps Haussmann is the perfect destination for gift shopping this December. Situated a 30 minute stroll from Amarante Champs-Élysées on the tree-lined Boulevard Haussmann, the famous department store has become synonymous with luxury goods and an outstanding level of customer service… and is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year!

Founder Jules Jaluzot encapsulated his aim for the store with the statement “everything will be new, fresh and lovely there, worthy of the name Au Printemps (‘spring’ in French)“… and this sentiment has been continued since its launch in 1865. Since 1870, every customer entering the Haussmann store on the first day of spring has received a beautiful bouquet of violets, while a focus on innovation led to the installation of elevators as early as 1874. Celebrations for its 150th birthday were therefore never going to be an understated affair!

Fittingly based on the theme of spring, festivities began on the 20th March with window displays filled with thousands of flowers and an exclusive 1,000 piece product range created by over 400 renowned designers. Alongside pink Christian Louboutin Mary Jane pumps adorned with an applique rose and floral print Fendi Peekaboo handbags designed especially for the occasion, the anniversary also boasted its very own flower adorned cartoon mascot created by Japanese artist Hiroshi Yoshii.

However celebrations haven’t ended just yet as theres an outstanding array of festive attractions on offer this December, as well as a 250 gold-themed gift selection that can’t be found anywhere else; offering shoppers the chance to browse the likes of a metallic flecked tie by Lanvin, a square gold topped table by Diamantini et Domeniconi, and a shimmering gold leather handbag by Jerome Dreyfuss amongst its already luxurious product range. After buying the perfect stocking fillers, visitors to the store can also enjoy food and decoration workshops, parades and Christmas carols…however its most famed festive attraction is its windows.

This year, Printemps Haussmann’s 11 animated windows have been designed in partnership with director and choreographer Philippe Découflé, who has created ceremonies for the Olympics and Cannes Film Festival. Each display was devised in collaboration with brands including the likes of Christian Louboutin and Sonia Rykiel, and inspired by a 1911 fairytale that was created exclusively for the store that tells the story of a fairy who awakens nature from a cold winter to blossom into spring. Burberry’s window showcases a range of articulated dolls dressed in classic beige Burberry trench coats and scarves exploring a pile of ribbon tied golden gift boxes, while the Evian window shows the golden fairy arriving into an icicle covered cave in which figures are elegantly ice skating. With stunning spectacles, exciting events and outstanding choice, Printemps Haussmann is the ideal destination for gift-buying during a four-star stay in Paris this December.

Guided tours at Musée des Arts Forains

Those in search of the perfect family day out this December, or alternatively one of the most unique and little-known experiences Paris has to offer, should look no further than the Musée des Arts Forains; the Museum of Fairground Art. Its 8,500m² are entirely dedicated to fairground rides, games, shows, art and curiosities to provide an entertaining insight into the past as well as fun-filled hours in the present. Add into the mix that it’ll also be hosting its annual ‘Wonderful Festival’ between 26th December and 3rd January, and it quickly becomes an unmissable attraction to visit this festive season.

Located in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, just a half hour Metro journey from our four-star hotel, this extensive museum boasts one of the most important collections in the world in its field. Having spent decades building and exhibiting his collection, antiques dealer Jean-Paul Favand launched the Musée des Arts Forains in Bercy in 1996; housing thousands of rare objects and artefacts within the Pavillons de Bercy. This renovated 19th century wine cellar is split into four intriguing sections to explore; the museum itself, the Théâtre du Merveilleux, the gardens and the Venetian Rooms; each of which offer a hands-on experience of games, rides and curios. However, in order to be able to showcase historic objects in this way, there is also a dedicated team of 20 professional craftsmen who can spend up to three months renovating a single wooden carousel horse; a commitment that has led to the museum receiving the ‘Living Heritage’ award from the French Ministry for the Economy, Industry and Employment.

The museum section itself focuses on funfair rides and attractions of the Belle Epoque; what is referred to as the ‘fine period’ before the First World War; and offers the chance to ride over 100 year old carousels. Meanwhile, the Théâtre du Merveilleux, the ‘Wonderful Theatre’ provides an opportunity to admire a ‘cabinet of curiosities’ that combine objects such as pianos with those from fairytales and myths such as unicorns...while live entertainers and cutting-edge lighting effects add to the already enchanting atmosphere. The surreal experience continues in the gardens with an open air theatre that's surrounded by greenery adorned with hanging crystal chandeliers, while the Venetian Rooms allow visitors the chance to enter a baroque palace, and take in the sights and sounds of a reimagined Venice Carnival.

With such an eclectic and awe-inspiring mix of both traditional and modern attractions, it’s no wonder that the Musée des Arts Forains attracts in the vicinity of 250,000 visitors per year. Add into this that between the 26th December and 3rd January, there’ll also be Festival du Merveilleux; an annual event that sees all of the above enhanced with street performers and magic shows, and it’ll be on the top of any must-see list. Due to the nature of the exhibitions, those wishing to pay the museum a visit must book a guided tour. Find out more about availability and the museum’s many quirks here.

With a dreamlike day out that will capture the imagination of the whole family, and an outstanding shopping experience in one of the world’s oldest department stores, Paris can boast everything needed for an exceptional break on the countdown to Christmas.


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