Chinese New Year 2020 in Paris has become one of the city’s most popular annual events. The French capital has a large and thriving French-Chinese community whose cultural influence grows stronger with every passing year. In the cosmopolitan Belleville district, southern Paris near Gobelins, and the district near the Centre Georges Pompidou, different festivities are on offer during the new year period, which generally falls between January and February.
Parisians of all stripes eagerly throng on the streets of the capital to take in a cheerful procession of dancers and musicians, vibrantly-hued dragons and fish, and elegant flags embossed with traditional Chinese characters. Boisterous restaurants selling authentic dumplings, noodles and other fare are packed to the brim with locals and tourists. Meanwhile, after-hours festivities include special theatrical and musical performances or even film festivals. This can be a truly memorable experience one you might well want to incorporate into your wintertime trip to the city. How to celebrate Chinese New Year 2020 in Paris?
Chinese New Year 2020 in France
In February, the Chinese New Year comes to Paris. The capital celebrates this traditional festival with colourful parades and lion and dragon dances in different districts of Paris and the suburbs. The capital is the setting each year for the organisation of major cultural, sport and festive events… So Parisians, French and tourists meet on the quays of Paris for Paris Plages, Nuit Blanche, the Paris Marathon, the Roland Garros Grand Slam tournament, the Tour de France , the fireworks of July 14th at the Trocadero, the LGBT Pride March, the Techno Parade … A varied program throughout the year!
2020 Marks The Year of the Earth Rat
In China, the New Year is the singularly most important annual celebration. Unlike its Western counterpart, which always falls on the same day, Chinese New Year changes every year, following a special rotating calendar. Each year corresponds to a Chinese animal sign and is believed to take on the flavor and “character” of that animal. Astrology is a major part of Chinese culture and is rarely regarded as mere cocktail party chatter as it often is in the West.
2020 is the year of the Earth Rat. In the Chinese zodiac, the Rat is associated with the virtues of generosity, kindness, optimism and innovativeness, and foibles including gluttony and an inflated sense of ego.
2020 Celebrations: Street Parades Around Paris
Chinese New Year procession in Paris near the Marais. In 2020, Chinese New Year officially begins on Tuesday, 25 Januaryth, with major celebrations to take place in the weeks that follow in various areas of the city. Precise dates will be announced soon: check back here later for more details.
Marais District Parade (Date and Times TBD)
Marking the beginning of the year of the Earth Rat, a first parade in the Marais neighborhood will likely leave from Place de la République (Metro: République) at around 2:00 pm on the first weekend of the New Year 2020 following the ceremonial “opening of the dragon’s eye”. The cheerful procession of dancers, drummers, dragons and lions will wind through major streets of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements (districts) of Paris, including Rue de Temple, Rue de Bretagne, Rue de Turbigo, and Rue Beaubourg, just a block or two away from the Centre Georges Pompidou, housing one of the city’s most important museums of modern art and cultural centers.
Main Chinatown Parade (Date and Times to be announced))
The biggest and most popular of the annual parades, held in Paris’s 13th arrondissement near Metro Gobelins, will kick off at approximately 1:30 pm sometime in February. The parade is scheduled to leave, per tradition, from 44 avenue d’Ivry (Metro Gobelins), winding through Avenue de Choisy, Place d’Italie, Avenue d’Italie, Rue de Tolbiac, and boulevard Massena, ending at Avenue d’Ivry in south-central Paris. Get there early to get a good spot for picture-taking!
In the northeast Belleville neighborhood, which also includes a large Franco-Chinese community, a parade will leave from Metro Belleville in the late morning (precise date TBD). This one kicks off with the traditional “opening of the dragon’s eye” ceremony which should be forgive my pun eye opening!
From around 3pm on the same day, and back near the Belleville Metro station, more traditional dances, martial arts demonstrations, and other events will animate the area. Make sure to grab some delicious and warming soup from one of the many Chinese restaurants in the area or even consider enjoying some traditional Vietnamese Ph’o (noodle and beef soup) at one the many always-crowded eateries nearby.
Participating streets/parade route: Boulevard de la Villette, rue Rebeval, rue Jules Romains, rue de Belleville, rue Louis Bonnet, rue de la Présentation, rue du Faubourg du Temple.
Chinese New Year parades in the French capital are famed for their elaborate decorations (red lanterns, grinning dragons, lions, and tigers, bright orange fish) and for their somewhat boisterous cheer, which usually involves small firecrackers that leave a faint scent of smoke in the air.
Chinese New Year 2020 in Paris events
- Chinese New Year parade, exhibitions, shows … in the 13th arrondissement*
- Dragon parade, shows, concerts … in the Marais*
- Dragon parade, dance and martial arts performances in the Belleville district*
- Special events (traditional songs, shows …) at Courbevoie (92)*
- Dragon dance and parade at Aubervilliers (93)*
- Parade and cultural events at Noisy-le-Grand (93)*
* Subject to modification by the organizers
The planned route:
- Metro Belleville
- Boulevard de la Villette
- Rue Rebeval
- Rue Jules Romains
- Rue de Belleville
- Rue Louis Bonnet
- Rue de la Présentation
- Rue du Faubourg du Temple
- Metro Belleville
There will be entertainment in front of the Town Hall.
PARIS CHINESE CULTURAL CENTRE
‘Les Temps du Corps’, Paris Chinese cultural centre in the 10th arrondissement, is organizing a festival from 6 to 10 February.
- Workshop ‘Knowledge and tasting of tea’, Meditation session with tea and incense.
- Workshop ‘Introduction to the philosophy and practice of the Qi Gong’.
- Workshop ‘Introduction to the practice of Tai Ji Juan’ and musical and artistic evening
- Workshop ‘Knowledge and tasting of tea’, screening of a film on Taoist monks, activities on calligraphy and dance in traditional outfits.
- Talks on the philosophy of tea, on chopsticks, screening of a film on Taoist monks, meditation session.
IN A PARISIAN MUSEUM
With the Chinese Embassy in France, the Centre Pompidou programmes numerous activities on 25 January: workshops for children, visits and other festivities throughout the afternoon. From 3pm to 6.30pm, a big concert by famous Chinese jazzman Luo Ning.
There are activities galore at the Musée Guimet from 8 to 10 February 2020. The programme of events includes workshops ‘Animals of the Zodiac’ in the company of the ceramicist Magali Satgé, a trail with storytelling about the legends of the Lunar New Year …