Paris Metro gift-wrapped for Christmas

Christmas came early for commuters in the French capital over the weekend, as an entire carriage of a Paris Métro was transformed into a festive gift. But who was behind this act of guerrilla cheerfulness?

Paris Metro gift-wrapped for Christmas
"The idea was to make people happy. Most of the time people don't smile." Paris Metro carriage transformed into a Christmas present. Photo: Sisaprod/Gabriel Defrocourt/Clea Polar

Anyone travelling on Line 8 of the Paris Métro one morning over the weekend may have thought they were hallucinating when they stepped on to the train and found their carriage covered, from floor to ceiling, in deep red Christmas wrapping paper.

Operation “Christmas Commando”, inspired joy in at least one traveller, whose photo went viral on Twitter on Friday morning.

“Haha! It’s Christmas on Line 8” said commuter Manon Guignard.

The sudden transformation was later revealed to be the work of Parisian art and video collective Sisaprod, founded by Gabriel Defrocourt and Clea Polar, seen in this photo of the work in progress.

Photo: Sisaprod/Clea Polar/Gabriel Defrocourt

“The idea was to brighten up the morning for Metro-users,” Polar told Le Parisien on Friday. “Most of the time people don’t smile, so above all our goal was to make people happy,” she added.

While the spontaneous creative gesture inspired warm, festive feelings in several surprised commuters, Paris rail authorities were less impressed, withdrawing the train in question from circulation until the Christmas wrapping was removed.

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Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source:

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year.