Tick-Tock ... It's time for Christmas! Léa Seydoux and André Dussollier unveil animated Christmas windows at Galeries Lafayette

  Stars of the French remake of Beauty and the Beast Léa Seydoux (Midnight in Paris) and André Dussollier (Amélie Poulain) in front of the interactive window. Swipe away the roses and a castle magically appears.

I don't know what it is about living in Paris but time seems to pass at a much faster rate than it does anywhere else. No sooner did I finish my post with ideas for where to celebrate Thanksgiving in Paris than I found myself writing about the unveiling of the Christmas windows at Galeries Lafayette. And to think that it was Halloween only a week ago!

Catch a falling star...

But time must have also passed at warp speed for the team of carpenters, decorators sculptors, painters, puppeteers, artists and lighting experts who started working on Galeries Lafayette's magical window displays ten months ago. With the theme, "Once upon a Christmas...Before the Clock Strikes Twelve", the displays depict the travels of Lilly the Doll and Martin the Teddy Bear. Along the way, Lilly and Martin encounter hundreds of animated characters, including adorable mice dressed in gossamer tutus using a net to catch a falling star and monkeys in top hats swinging back and forth from dangling pocket watches. The whimsical displays invite your imagination to run wild and remember what it was like to be a child at Christmastime.

Animated Christmas tree at Galeries Lafayette

Equally magical is the first animated Christmas tree suspended from the glass dome of Galeries Lafayette. Created in collaboration with Swatch, the 60 foot (18 meter) tree is decorated with approximately 1.9 miles (3 km) of twinkling lights. Even though it only took about five days for the fairytale like tree to be installed in the middle of the store, it's the culmination of nine months of intense labor. Like Swiss clockwork, sixty animated characters dance and twirl around the village nestled at the base of the tree every hour. Be sure to take the escalator to the second and third floors for better views of all the animated mice, rabbits, monkeys and sheep.

Beauty and the Beast interactive window.

In addition to the twelve storefront windows on Boulevard Hausmann, the five windows on Rue de la Chaussée-d'Antin are decorated for Christmas with scenes from Beauty and the Beast. The most popular is an interactive window covered with hundreds of virtual red roses. Working in tandem with little children, I noticed the faces of several formerly aloof Parisians break into broad grins when they succeeded in sweeping away the flowers to reveal a gothic castle perched atop a craggy mountain. Now that's magical! The new French remake of Beauty and the Beast (La Belle et la Bête) with Léa Seydoux, André Dussollier and Vincent Cassel will be released in cinemas on February 12, 2014.

If you're in the mood for something sweet after marveling at all the holiday displays, Jean-Paul Hévin has opened a pop-up hot chocolate bar on the 8th floor terrace of Galeries Lafayette. He's the chocolatier who won my award for "best hot chocolate" in 2012.

Photos of the animated Christmas tree, window displays and unveiling ceremony.
Closeup photos of the animated Christmas tree taken before it was illuminated.

Animated Christmas tree at Galeries Lafayette


  1. it really is beautiful, and we can say that the magic of xmas is back in the Galeries Lafayette ! To bad we did not meet during the event

  2. Love Paris and Galeries Lafayette - hope to be back soon!

  3. You know I think it's too early for Christmas... but it looks magical!

  4. I'm with Gwan....Christmas gets earlier and earlier each year, today I got free parking "for the Christmas season"!!! .... so I'll not complain, but the displays are lovely.

    Love Denise

  5. It's beautiful, but i agree with Gwan: Too early for Christmas in my opinion.
    Kindest regards - S

  6. The tree this year is so pretty! I really should go and try to see it this year.

    And too early for Christmas? I think France is right on time, if not late! Didn't Christmas start on Labor Day in the States?! I'd say mid-November is about the right time when signs of the season start peppering the city, especially the department $tore$. ; )

    I love Léa Seydoux ever since I saw her in her brunette days in Christophe Honoré's La Belle Personne. I'm so glad that she has really taken off! It's fun to follow the career of a young actress.


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