Although you might think that spring or summer is the best time to enjoy the City of Light, winter can be a magical time to visit Paris. Tons of fun, cold-weather activities are offered around the city and there are always beautiful Christmas lights and illuminations to be seen.
Paris is lovely in all seasons, but winter adds a little something special. Be it sparkling lights, winter activities, or just that festive buzz – Paris does it so well.
In winter, ice rinks pop up in the most scenic parts of Paris. You can even skate on top of the Eiffel Tower, well not exactly the top, but on the first floor. Glide around under the gigantic metal structure and look down without getting vertigo. Or go skating under the great glass roof of the Grand Palais in the daytime or at night for a one-of-a-kind nightclub experience. Or right in front of the Hôtel de Ville. Each of the venues rents out skates, so no need to bring your own!
Reservations are required for skating at the Grand Palais – www.legrandpalaisdesglaces.com
Printemps and Galeries Lafayette deck out their windows each year for Christmas, and every year it seems to get better and better. Magical displays inspired by children’s stories or styled around specific sponsors make it fun to stand and watch while the crowds push past. This year, 2018, Printemps lets you try and solve a mystery about Santa Clause – can you figure it out?
Reminding us what Christmas is actually about, the nativity scenes in Notre Dame Cathedral are always stunning. On display throughout December until February, they are worth seeing a few times. The three kings, for example, aren’t added until Epiphany, in January.
Yes, the lights on the Champ-Élysées are famous, but the ones leading up to Place Vendôme are, in my opinion, much more stylish and beautiful. Maybe it’s the setting but walking around the column really does make it feel like Christmas.
When it snowed in Paris in early 2018, people skied down the slopes in front of Sacré-Coeur. But even if you didn’t bring your skis, it’s magical to see the hill covered in snow with the white basilica standing behind it.
A Christmas must-see is the Nutcracker ballet. This year it is being performed in the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, and even if tickets seem sold out, it is always worth trying outlets such as the ticket kiosk on Place des Ternes or other venues to snatch up last minute cancellations or kept-aside tickets.
If the weather isn’t cooperating but you’d still like to walk around and enjoy the seasonal atmosphere, head straight to Galerie Vivienne. Always dressed up to the nines with twinkle lights galore, the shops inside make for ideal present shopping, while the cafés and restaurants at either end will keep up your energy levels. You’ll stay warm and dry while wandering this beautiful glass-roofed passage.
If you love books, then you're in for a treat in Paris! Narrowing the best shops for book lovers down to just five is a difficult task, but to help my fellow traveling bookworms, I'm sure going to give it a try, probably cheating a little as I go.