Christmas Concerts in Paris Churches

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Christmas Concerts in Paris Churches
Did you know that a surprising number of Paris churches serve as venues for musical concerts? And when better than the season of Advent to pause the bustle of your preparations and try one out? At dusk or after dark, you can leave the sparkle of a thronging street and enter a hushed, candlelit space to find people taking a moment to gaze around at the ancient architecture or to study their program in expectant silence.   Here then, are details of nine Paris churches where there will be concerts this month. We’ve given sample concerts from each one, along with suggestions for things to do in the immediate vicinity of each church. You can see the full list and check dates, times, prices and availability for everything mentioned below at this website. Tickets are selling well, so if you like the idea, do it sooner rather than later!    The upper chapel to the west, with the later flamboyant rose window (C) Guilhem Vellut/ Wikimedia Commons/ CC BY 2.0 La Sainte Chapelle  The glorious Sainte Chapelle, resplendent on the Île de la Cité, will be offering a program of selected opera arias by various composers including Mozart, Strauss and Puccini. Of all the venues listed here, this is the most likely to sell out, so if you’d like to go you should check availability straight away.    The Sainte Chapelle dates from the 13th century, built by Louis IX to house the precious relics he’d brought back from a crusade to the Holy Land. The building itself is like a beautiful jewel box, with over a thousand panels of stained glass held in place by the slenderest of towering stone arches. Before the concert, why not do a little shopping at La Samaritaine, then take a short riverside walk across the Pont Neuf and down the Quai de l’Horloge past the Conciergerie to La Sainte Chapelle?  Sainte Chapelle – Upper Chapel, Paris, France, Photo: Didier B/Wikimedia Commons Saint-Germain-des-Prés  The highlight here will be a performance of Bach’s “Christmas Oratorio” on December 2nd at 8:30 pm. Bach wrote it to retell the Christmas story, from the birth of Christ to the journey of the magi and it was sung as part of church services on the religious feast days between Christmas Day and Epiphany.    St-Germain-des-Prés is the city’s oldest Romanesque church. The reds, creams, greens and gold of its interior seem almost to have been designed for the Christmas period. It is just across the street from the city’s two best-known literary cafés, Les Deux Magots and the Café de Flore, either of which would make an excellent place for dinner before the concert. Or of course you could simply stroll the Boulevard St-Germain in either direction from the church (and next-door metro station) and find plenty of other bars and restaurants.                                                                                                                                                                                                           
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Lead photo credit : The Madeleine Church (Église de la Madeleine), as seen from the Madeleine plazza, in Paris (France), Photo: Jebulon/Wikimedia Commons

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Recently retired from teaching Modern Languages (French and German), Marian now has time to develop her interests in travel and European culture and history. She will be in Paris as often as she can, visiting places old and new, finding out their stories and writing it all up as soon as she gets home. Marian also runs the weekly podcast series, City Breaks, offering in-depth coverage of popular city break destinations, with lots of background history and cultural information. She has covered Paris in 22 episodes but looks forward to updating the series every now and then with some Paris Extra episodes.