it’s no secret that paris is my favourite place and even more so during the winter months. it’s a task narrowing my favourite things to do in paris during the winter but I’ve given it a fair try. continue reading for a guide to seeing, shopping and eating in paris this winter.a wander around montmartre
you could easily spend an entire weekend getting lost in the foothills of montmartre and devouring the city from a height, so I recommend dedicating a portion of your trip to discover its charm. situated on the periphery of the city, montmartre boasts a charming, village-like feel, as compared to the first to fourth arrondissements. there’s a medieval charm about it — from artists painting caricatures to the winding, cobbled streets and historical landmarks. I spent a month living there yet there’s still so much to discover. a pit stop for chocolat chaud
call it a cliché but the best accompaniment to a chilly winter's day is hot cocoa — the parisian way. thick, decadent and glossy. french-style hot chocolate is renowned worldwide for being notoriously decadent. it’s a far cry from the powdered versions we may have reached for in times past. their liquid chocolate often comes with a sweet side or generous helping of cream, if you so wish. scoop, stir and sip. three establishments are competing for the title of paris’ best hot chocolate, though it depends on your taste and preferred environment. head to angelina for a cozy experience and sugary-laden tread, though be warned of the snaking queues. to enjoy the comfort of a creamy beverage whilst taking in st germain des pres, head to café flore where I recommend sipping- al-fresco in the typically parisian establishment. it’s well-situated if you intend on shopping luxury brands on boulevard st germain thereafter. last but not least is carette and its french classics are equally as delicious.
dinner by the canal
early june – 19 rue jean poulmarch, 75010
early june offers a romantic dining experience, though you needn’t attend with company. something is enriching and intentional about the solo dining experience and early june’s set-up encourages all diners. the restaurant sets a relaxed tone with dim lighting an intimate seating plan and an open kitchen. the restaurant's unique concept sees a range of traveling chefs headline the kitchen — each with menus pertaining to their heritage or expertise with the use of seasonal produce. located a stone's throw away you’ll find the canal — a desirable and lively area in paris, so dessert isn’t too far away.
I encourage eating your way through the city and weaving in and out of bakeries is a must-do when visiting paris. below is a list of tried and tested bakeries:
- land & monkeys
- bo & mie
- pain pain
- the french bastards
- babka zanna
- du pain et des idées
marche enfants rouge
39 rue de bretagne, 75003
le marais is one of paris’ hot spots for food of the world and marche enfants rouge makes for a food-fuelled afternoon activity with friends. you’ll witness food vendors making everything from crepes to authentic italian cuisine, amidst trails of fresh fruit and vegetables. marche enfants rouge dates back to 1615, having gained its name from a 16th-century orphanage and it’s also one of the city's oldest produce venues. my favourite pastime is visiting markets and returning to the warmth of the indoors with my market goods in tow and a hot water bottle and blanket awaiting.
37 rue de la bûcherie, 75005
the fifth arrondissement has many notable landmarks. it’s worth visiting to view the reconstruction of notre dame alone. tucked in st-michel is shakespeare & company — one of the city's oldest bookstores. it’s one of the few english-language bookstores in paris known and loved by book lovers worldwide. you can locate it by following the orderly queue that forms and whispers of conversations in many dialects. though it may be packed with grand philosophies from lands far and wide, it’s also a spectacular piece of real estate overlooking the seine. in short, it’s both a francophile and a book lover’s dream. a christmas market
the strasbourg christmas market is considered to be one of the best christmas markets in europe and whilst it’s worth a visit, I’d also recommend one of the many festive markets dotted around the city. situated in jardin des tuileries is la magie de noël, where you’ll find something of an amusement ground. prepare for the sweetness of nostalgia to kick in as you’ll be met with candy floss stalls, bratwurst stalls and typical fairground rides. my advice? head to angelina for a hot cocoa to go beforehand and take a gradual stroll through the parks’ grounds before heading to the market, by which time you’ll be hands-free and ready for an evening of food and thrill. it gets exceptionally busy at the weekend, so post-christmas is a great time to visit.
avalon is a london-born editor and creative writer based in paris. since graduating with an english degree in 2013, she’s written for some of the uk’s most esteemed fashion and lifestyle publications, including who what wear, refinery29, eliza and stylist.
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