Autumn in France … Winter in Paris …
“In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible . . . Paris.”
“A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life. “
– Thomas Jefferson
Ahhh, Paris in the Autunm. I could smell the fresh baked baguettes and cheese perfume the air, little snow flakes cascade from balconies, the snow returns to bathe the city in a white gleaming glow, as I can remember . . .
During the winter months, expect chilly temperatures in Paris. In December, January and February the temperatures remain fairly steady, hovering around 6 degrees Celsius, or 42 degrees Fahrenheit. So let’s pack our boots, a warm winter coat, scarf and gloves and we should still be able to comfortably enjoy winter days walking around the city and sightseeing, though we may need a few more breaks in cafes to warm up with a café l’expresso.
In winter Paris transforms from City of Lights to City of Fairylights. Even the Champs-Elysées comes into its own with Christmas illuminations in the trees.
The one fabulous thing about Paris is the City doesn’t close down at Christmas. On Christmas Day, public transport works and many fabulous restaurants stay open and you can still go to cafés, the cinema and even some museums.
One of Paris’s greatest treats is strolling down the glowing Champs-Elysées in winter. From late November through mid-January, holiday lights adorn city streets, buildings, and monuments, and the Champs-Elysées beams with a dazzling display of golden lights on the trees that line the long boulevard.
The very first thing you’ll notice if you come to Paris in January, all the SOLDES signs. There are HUGE month long sales in the months of January and July each year. so Ladies, if you want to shop, this is the time to come to Paris!
- Parisians live to window shop (faire du lèche vitrines). Do some browsing of your own along the boulevards and view the wild window displays at the grand department stores such as Printemps and Galeries Lafayette.
- It’s really fun to browse through one of Paris’ many English-language bookstores, where you can pick up fiction and nonfiction books to read. My favourite is the friendly Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore in the Marais neighborhood at 22 Rue St. Paul.
- When the weather gets colder, step into cafés to warm up and enjoy a break from sightseeing or shopping. One of Paris’ great wintertime pleasures is watching the city bustle by while you linger at an outdoor table with a café crème, a vin chaud (hot wine), or best, a hot chocolate. Most cafés fire up the braziers to keep things toasty outside. Stay warm with fresh hot roasted chestnuts sold in the street and prepare to feast on fresh oysters, foie gras and parfait bûches de Noël (yule logs).
- Shop the Christmas markets If you are lucky enough to be visiting in the month leading up to the holiday, you’ll get to take advantage of the Christmas markets. The markets at Place St.-Sulpice, Place St.-Germain-des-Prés and La Défense are reliable options. Ahhh, and don’t forget to enjoy a cup of vin chaud (hot mulled wine of the season).
- “Marrons! Chauds, chauds les mar-r-rons! J’adore les marrons ! I admit it, I’m addicted to them! Every October brings chestnut season and all the chestnut festivals in France, it is the sign that the holiday season has arrived! in Paris where vendors sell fresh hot roasted chestnuts from the streets and the smell alone is enough to convince you that fall has definitely arrived.
- Winter ice rinks. The city of Paris installs rinks every winter for Parisians’ leisure. Several ice rinks pop up around Paris in the winter months in festive locations around the city. There are rinks in front of the Hotel de Ville, at the base of the Montparnasse tower and, perhaps most glamorous of all, one 200 feet above the ground on the first level of the Tour Eiffel.
And … while you’re in St-Germain des Prés, take the opportunity to grab some dinner and a few drinks, then stroll over the lamplit bridges. If you’re in love, strolling over the bridges at dusk as the wrought-iron lamps cast a sepia glow over the darkened water, sipping champagne in olde-worlde hotel bars, and dining à deux (for two) in candlelit bistros make you feel as if you’ve stepped into a fairytale film set . . . And if you’re alone, fall in love with Paris as the curtains fall towards the day’s end. 🙂
Bonjour Monday! 🙂 Wishing everyone a fabulous week ahead! 🙂