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How to Fill the Holiday Break: The Culture Guide

How to Fill the Holiday Break: The Culture Guide

Hunting down the best annual performances of The Nutcracker has become a bit of a holiday tradition at #goophq—one that inevitably leads to an unearthing of the other cultural events on the calendar this time of year. Most performance venues take a break between Christmas and the New Year, so this is actually a great time to be looking, as you’re just in time to catch both the end of this year’s long-running shows and the beginning of next year’s new offerings. Below, our favorite picks—a full range that includes everything from family-friendly ballets and concerts to R-rated art exhibitions.

Dark Circus

Dark Circus

106 Rue Brancion, 15th | +33.01.56.08.33.88

Anything but dark, this production which artfully combines sound, drawing, shadow play and acoustic music, is the work of two man show, Stereoptik. They've taken classic French illustrator Pef's humorous story of a 'dark circus'—where everything that can go wrong does—and added their own magical touch. Through December 17th.

Soulevenements at Jeu de Pomme

Soulevenements at Jeu de Pomme

1 Place de la Concorde, 8th | +33.01.47.03.12.50

Curated by art historian Georges Didi-Huberman, this show maps the history of the art of unrest. With Francisco Goya as his starting point and with many contemporary voices mixed in, Didi-Huberman explores the arc of political and social movements, from when a group of people awakens to the fact that things are not ok, to when they rise up. The exhibition ends in a section called 'Desire'—a romantic notion and a perfect way to resolve an incredibly relevant show for today. Through January 17th.

Joann Sfar: Salvador Dalí, One Second Before Awakening

Joann Sfar: Salvador Dalí, One Second Before Awakening

11 rue Poulbot, 18th

French illustrator and comic artist Joann Sfar takes us deep into the mind of the great Surrealist. And, this being at the Espace Dalí, the curators have cleverly woven in over 200 works by Dalí himself, including sculptures, drawings, paintings, furniture, and even the Schiaparelli that inspired him most. Through March 31st.

The Great Animal Orchestra at the Fondation Cartier

The Great Animal Orchestra at the Fondation Cartier

261 Boulevard Raspail, 14th | +33.01.42.18.56.50

These are the last few weeks to visit this unique, whimsical exhibition of animal sounds from throughout the planet. Musician and anthropologist Bernie Krause has spent his career recording animals across the world, and this show is a chance to experience his life's work first hand in an immersive display created by Mexican duo Mauricio Rocha and Gabriela Carrillo. In addition, the work of an international array of contemporary artists and institutions like Cai Guo-Qiang, Agnés Varda, and Hiroshi Sugimoto is woven through beautifully at this powerful exhibition at Fondation Cartier. Through January 8th.

Picasso – Giacommetti at Picasso Museum

Picasso – Giacommetti at Picasso Museum

5 rue de Thorigny, 3rd | +33.01.85.56.00.36

The premise is so simple and yet the exhibition so powerful: Two 20th-century masters who also happened to be contemporaries exhibited together for the first time at the Picasso Museum. Enough said, this is one worth traveling for as these two collections are unlikely to come together in this way again.

Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection

Icons of Modern Art: The Shchukin Collection

8 Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, 16th | +33.01.40.69.96.00

One worth buying a ticket to Paris for: For the first time outside of Russia, the LVMH brings the collection of one of the greatest collectors of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and Modern works to Paris. Not only that, but it's the first time Shchukin's own collection of 130 works—split between The Hermitage and the Puskhin museums in Russia—comes together. Gauguin, Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso are all in the show, and not their lesser-known works, but the masterpieces. The exhibition spans the entire Fondation Louis Vuitton and is on until February 20th. Photo: © Paul Gauguin, Aha oé feii (Eh quoi, tu es jalouse ?), été 1892. Courtesy Musée d'Etat des Beaux-Arts Pouchkine, Moscou

L’Esprit du Bauhaus at Museé des Arts Decoratifs

L’Esprit du Bauhaus at Museé des Arts Decoratifs

107 rue de Rivoli, 1st | +33.01.44.55.57.50

This exhibition takes us back to the school that undoubtedly shaped the course of design in the 20th-century and even today. From Walter Gropius' Bauhaus came the likes of Josef Albers, Vassily Kandinsky, Marianne Brandt, and more. This exhibition of thousands of objects and artworks at the Museé des Arts Decoratifs links the work of the original Bauhaus artists and designers to the voices of today, Muller Van Severen, et al included. Through February 26th.

The Spectacular Second Empire at Musée d’Orsay

The Spectacular Second Empire at Musée d’Orsay

1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 7th | +33.01.40.49.48.14

The rule of Napoleon III in France yielded a fascinating mix of artwork and design that straddled the line between decadence and rebellion. There was the classicism of the state-sponsored propaganda made by artists like Cabanel, Gerome, and Winterhalter and later on, its rebuke in the work of artists like Renoir, Manet, and Monet. This show at Musée d'Orsay, which includes both art and design of the period deftly illustrates an artistic revolution. Through January 15th. Photo: Jean-Léon Gérôme, Reception for the Siamese Ambassadors given by the Emperor at the Palace of Fontainebleau. © RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Droits réservés

Festivities and Entertainment at Court at Versailles

Festivities and Entertainment at Court at Versailles

Place d'Armes, Versailles | +33.01.30.83.78.00

In time for party season, Versailles has put on a show about the many ways in which the Dauphin entertained and was entertained during his rule, from dances to concerts, gambling, and more. With immersive rooms and installations, this is a pretty exhaustive, not to mention, festive show. Plus, it's low season at Versailles, meaning shorter lines. Through March 26th.

Vivre! The Collection of Agnès B. at the Musée du Histoire de l’Immigration

Vivre! The Collection of Agnès B. at the Musée du Histoire de l’Immigration

293, avenue Daumesnil, 12th | +33.01.53.59.58.60

Aside from being one of France's greatest fashion designers, Agnès B has for years put on some of the best photography shows in town at her Galerie du Jour. So it makes sense that her art collection would be one worth seeing. The title "Vivre" is a fitting one for an energizing show filled with works by the likes of Malick Sidibe, Nan Goldin, Ryan McGinley and more. Through January 8th. Photo: Ryan McGinley, Whirlrwind, 2004. Photographie couleur - Courtesy Collection agnès b.