It’s the biggest and longest-running bazaar in Paris, organized by the city’s American community. The 43rd annual Winter Festival is a mind-blowing one-day Second-Hand Boutique and Holiday Fair spread out over three floors of the American Church, which is located along the Seine River in the 7th arrondissement.
If you have never attended this community AAWE event organized by American women, you’re in for a surprise. Not only can you pick up early Christmas presents at a bargain, you’ll also be contributing to the circular economy and supporting women’s and children’s charities. It’s impossible to walk out empty-handed!
This year, the extravaganza is scheduled for Saturday, December 7, 2019, from 10 am to 6 pm. The day before the big event, an army of 100 plus volunteers will receive a truckload filled with bags and boxes stuffed with generous donations collected at a storage depot at the edge of Paris. The call to clean-out-your-closets-and-give dates back to a time when the concept of braderies did not exist in Paris.
Bargains books, clothes, toys and Santa!
There are rows of racks and tables filled with gently-used designer clothing and accessories. Enjoy perusing second-hand English books while you linger with a cup of tea or mulled wine. Bookworms can take home several classics or bestsellers for the price of one new book.
Again this year there will be a special room dedicated to holiday crafts, holiday cookies and… a special visit and photos with Santa Claus (be sure to reserve Goûter with Santa in advance!) Across the hall, parents or kids can fill up a bag full of toys and games, great stocking stuffers and vintage toys which other kids have loved but now outgrown. Lend a hand for zero waste and the circular economy—it’s so affordable!
Handicrafts and Home Baked Goodies
It’s hard to resist the original handicrafts on display, especially when you learn who’s made them. There’s a dedicated group of women who meet almost every week throughout the year to lovingly hand make the Christmas cards, decorations, shoe bags, tea cozies, placemats, hand-painted stemware and more.
Throughout lunchtime, an American Café will also be serving up chili, hot dogs, salads while the Baked Goods Stand will serve all day a scrumptious selection of home-baked American treats—all lovingly made in AAWE volunteers’ kitchens. So, if you’re craving carrot cake, brownies, pecan pies or peanut butter cookies, this is the place to be!
A Community Affair
This is a community gathering open to the public. People come from every neighborhood in Paris and from all economic groups. The event has earned the backing of solid sponsors who provide attractive prizes for the tombola.
Proceeds from the Tombola help fund the Charitable Donations coffer which is used to make donations to local, national and international charities with specific emphasis on women’s and children’s causes. Over the years, AAWE has raised more than 100 000 euros for French and global charities supporting women and children. And, when the Winter Festival is over, all of the remaining clothing, products and food are redistributed to local and overseas charitable associations and refugees.
So, when you buy something at the bazaar you’re not only contributing to the circular economy, but also to a greater good. Now isn’t that a wonderful way to start getting into the holiday spirit?
When: December 7, 2019, 10 am to 6 pm
Where: 65 quai d’Orsay, 75007 Paris