Warm your soul in more ways than one with these unmissable travel tips for Paris in winter.
The French capital is a showstopper year-round thanks to its architectural marvels, romantic enclaves, culinary treasures and mosaic of arrondissements – but it's the cooler months where you really see the City of Lights live up to its name.
We asked Luxury Escapes’ Europe-based Account Manager, Amanda Zirgulis – who frequently visits this enthralling city – for her insider tips of how best to enjoy one of the world’s most romantic cities. Here’s everything you need to know.
Dreaming of France? Take a look at these escapes.
Feel the festive glow at the iconic department stores
As a city synonymous with fashion, style and haute couture, the luxe department stores in Paris are a must-visit at Christmas time, and in Amanda’s eyes, window shopping while soaking up the festive atmosphere is a must-do.
Every year, the iconic façades of Printemps Haussmann and Galeries Lafayette transform into glittering masterpieces illuminated with festive decorations. At the Galeries Lafayette, a spectacular Christmas tree takes over the Dome – a tradition dating back to 1976 – and stretches from floor-to-ceiling while providing a visual feast for those who visit. The Haussmann boulevard is just as stunning, and over at Printemps, you can catch a glimpse of up to 180 Christmas trees within the expansive, high-end department store.
Warm up with a belly full of French delights
With a longstanding history as a gourmet haven, there are extraordinary bites and epicurean delights in every arrondissement. After hours of weaving through the winding streets of Paris, there is nothing better than taking a moment to stop, refuel and embark on a gastronomic adventure. From enticing boulangeries and fromageries to Michelin-starred haunts, your inner-foodie will not be disappointed.
Amanda's top spots for heart-warming fare: Angelina, a tea house established in 1903 on Rue de Rivoli, to savour a bite of the delectable Mont Blanc dessert, or sip one of its famous hot chocolates; Au Pied de Cochon for a traditional brasserie experience with a focus on authentic French cuisine, and Le Bon Georges to work your way through the extensive wine list all within 30 minutes' walk from each other.
Get lost on wintery walks
Get your steps up as you meander through historic parks, alleyways, ivy-clad dwellings and boutique-lined streets for a snapshot of Parisian life. Start in Montmartre for lofty views of this spectacular city, where you can watch skilled painters in action at Place du Tertre in Paris or gaze at the pearly-white domes of Sacré-Cœur Basilica. Then, make your way to the 2nd arrondissement and take shelter from the elements beneath the 19th-century ‘passages couverts’ (covered passages). Here, you can also find plenty of fashionable boutiques, lively cafes, bistros, antique stores and cocktail bars within these historic shopping passages. Just don’t forget to marvel at the masterpieces above…
If you are looking for a splash of greenery to offset the moody skies the winter months are known for, go where the locals go and stroll through the immaculate, lush landscapes of Tuileries Gardens.
Find something for your special someone at the Christmas markets
Searching for the perfect gift? The city's stash of charming Marchés de Noël (Christmas markets) is sure to have the answer – and in typically chic style. Get into the festive spirit and stroll past rows of Swiss-style wooden chalets to shop for festive decorations or locally made arts and crafts while sipping on a steaming cup of vin chaud (mulled wine) or tasting regional treats including raclette or escargot.
Amanda’s tips? Don’t miss La Magie de Noël, Tuileries Garden conveniently located by the Lourve; Abbesses Christmas Market in Montmartre and the Trocadéro Christmas Market hiding beneath the shadows of the Eiffel Tower.