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Paris Christmas season lights

The countdown to Christmas is underway in European capitals Brussels and Paris.

Brussels decorated its 18-metre high Christmas tree on Sunday in the middle of the Grand Place, the city's main square.

It took nine hours to be decorated with the equivalent of one kilometre (0.62 miles) of Christmas tinsel and 250 flower-shaped lights.

The Christmas tree and all the Brussels Christmas illuminations will be switched on on Tuesday.

In Paris, the trees lining the Avenue des Champs-Elysees had their red garlands lit up, kicking off the Christmas season.