Whilst it doesn’t always wear too well here in Britain, the winter weather has a magical effect on places elsewhere. Amongst them is Paris, where the cold winds sweep away the tourist masses and leave behind an opportunity to see the City of Lights from a new perspective.
Here are our five of our favourite reasons why a winter weekend in Paris is always a good idea.
Paris and food go together like warm baguettes and salted butter. Throw in hot wine in velvet-clad brasseries and you’ve got a recipe made in heaven.
Seek out the pistachio green and soft gold façade of the notorious Ladurée if you’re keen for a taste of their signature macarons. The restaurant and tea room is located at 75 Avenue Champs-Elysées and you’ll enjoy your sweet treats in surroundings fit for royalty.
When it comes to keeping warm, you can’t go wrong with French cuisine; bœuf bourguignon, coq au vin, fondue and soufflés hit the spot even better when you’re snuggled up warm inside and the weather is icy cold outside. La Coupole in Montparnasse is something of a legend round these parts, with its Art Deco interiors having been frequented by everyone from Pablo Picasso to Mick Jagger over the years.
Paris has plenty to keep you busy when you want to avoid the cold, including some of the world’s leading art galleries and museums, a maze of covered shopping galleries, cookery classes, wine tastings and much more.
If you’re keen to embrace the wintery weather and indulge in some seasonal activities, you’ll find some of most scenic ice rinks in the world here. That found at Hotel de Ville sits in front of the magnificent Renaissance City Hall, whilst the arrival of an ice rink on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower caused much excitement last year. Skate hire is free of charge and you’ll practice your pirouettes 57m above the streets of Paris. Stay toasty with hot chocolate, mulled wine and pumpkin soup from the bar.
From French pharmacies crammed with beauty products to sprawling flea markets and chic boutiques; the Parisians sure know how to shop. You can easily lose hours on end in department stores housed in the most opulent of buildings and you’ll find flagship stores from some of the world’s biggest designers here. The Chanel flagship at Rue Cambon isn’t just your average boutique; Coco Chanel used to work and entertain within its grand walls and designer Karl Lagerfeld still plies his craft there each season; a must visit for fashion fans!
The City of Lights becomes the City of Fairy Lights in wintertime, with the whole city illuminating even more than usual. The Eiffel Tower light shows somehow seems even more magical on a crisp, cold evening and the city’s chic take on Christmas is on display from late November. A thousand freshly cut fir trees are scattered across the city, including the 300 which decorate the bustling Rond-Point at the end of the Champs-Elysées. Visit the Christmas tree outside the Notre Dame and indulge in the French habit of window shopping with a tour of the city’s extravagant Christmas window displays.
They don’t call Paris the City of Love for nothing! Whilst steamy summers are all well and good, there’s nothing better than wrapping up warm, clutching a sweet hot chocolate and making the most of the lack of crowds with a stroll around the city. Snow-covered streets, scenic boat trips along the Seine and snug restaurants where your plate is piled high and your glass kept full; Paris has it all.
Have you ever planned a winter mini break in Paris?