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Christmas in a Parisian School

This is specially a fun time for children who impatiently await their Père Noël (French version of Santa Claus which, literally translated, means Father Christmas!)


Christmas in Parisian School


Schools close for Christmas holidays for two weeks starting from the weekend preceding Christmas. Most of the French children from middle-class household attend municipal schools. In Paris, and suburban areas, today was the last day of school before Christmas holidays.


In the morning, I was witness to the school Christmas fête. It has been two weeks that the school was decorated with festoons and light garlands in warm red colour. A few Christmas trees were installed- one at the entrance, other at the courtyard and yet another in the 'Grand Hall'. Decorated with shining ball ornaments in bright colours and shiny garlands, they are sure a pleasant sight for little eyes.There were quite a few 'Joyeux Noël' posters pasted on the glass windows here and there. For the uninitiated, 'Joyeux Noël' is the French greeting for Merry Christmas.

Parents had been informed ten days in advance of the Christmas festivities at the school. They could bring their cameras and video cameras to film their child, the classroom, the school and of course, Père Noël!



This morning, apart from the usual humdrum, there was a commotion at the school. Anticipating it to be the Christmas euphoria, I could see Santa Claus submerged in a crowd of his little admirers. Le voilà the reason for the din, albeit pleasant! Parents were as excited as their wards, happily capturing their magic moments for posterity's sake. Santa Claus was obliging to all the kids who finally managed to break through the crowd to reach him- giving them chocolates and oranges. A teacher remarked that there was no need for others to despair since the Santa will personally visit each classroom in a short while.

 Christmas Tree in a Paris School


Heading to the classroom that held around 26 children and some parents, it was really festival time. A snacks table had been set up in the middle laden with fruit juices, cakes, fruits, biscuits etc. Some children preferred to sit around and partake in the festive offering and others preferred to return to their favourite places in their familiar classroom- painting tables or reading corners. Parents chatted with each other and some others engaged the teacher and the attendant in small conversation. They were invited to partake the snacks and beverages.


Santa Claus in a Paris School
  The headmistress came shortly afterwards announcing the arrival of Santa Claus. All the 'students' sat on the benches installed around Santa's 'seat'. His arrival was strongly applauded by the children and their indulging parents alike. Even if one could not really see the reindeer and his sledge, the Santa had his 'assistants' bringing gifts for the children which were religiously distributed calling each one out by name. The Santa was thanked for his generosity by little voices singing a well rehearsed song. Of course, as one would expect, the children did not wait for Santa to leave to open their presents. Children happily rummaged through the gift wrap to uncover small books. In return for his presents, the Santa was given gift wrapping papers, freshly removed, by little hands! A funny sight indeed. I had not seen Santa Claus get some presents in return so far!


The Santa left the classroom beaming his generous and good naturedly smile. The children resumed their activity and bonhomie amongst themselves and with their parents. Soon it was time to leave. The heart warming innocence of those children has stayed much after.


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Christmas in Paris

Christmas Market

Places in Paris to visit with Children this Christmas Season:

  • Free Carousel Rides in various parts of Paris get details
  • Winter Circus Bourglione get details
  • Free Skating rink in Hotel de Ville 75004 get details
  • Free Skating Rink in Montparnasse 75015 get details
  • Free Skating Rink at Bibliothèque National François Mitterand get details
  • Christmas Market & Ferrero Rocher Christmas tree at La Défense get details
  • Christmas Market in Boulogne till Dec 31st Santa Claus & animations among other attractions get details
  • Circus Binet in Feb get details