During Christmas time, all European capitals have a unique atmosphere, an added value to their natural charm. Among these cities, Paris was the perfect choice. In December, the city looks alike a little elf dressing up for Xmas, having a glass of champagne and singing La vie en rose.
Discover here my 8 reasons why Paris is always a good idea for Christmas time (and at anytime):
- THE ICONS OF FRANCE ??
The Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Moulin Rouge and much more, all in one city. Paris holds the most representative icons of France. I would say Paris is France.
If, like my friend and I, you like Impressionism, the Orsay Museum is a must be seen (VII arr. – closed on Mondays). The building was originally a train station, and conserves in someway that environment full of expectations, typical of places which have seen many departures and arrivals. Each room of this gallery is better than the one you just came from: hopping from Manet to Cezanne, Monet and Van Gogh, I felt like walking in wonderland.
- THE PARISIANS
Coco Chanel, Brigitte Bardot, Claude Monet, Baudelaire, Voltaire, Cyrano de Bergerac.
The Parisians are just no-ordinary people. They got style in every single thing they do: it could be a simple gesture like serving coffee, playing harp on the street, enveloping the painting you just bought. But they do it with such an natural elegance, that for all the time I had the feeling to be surrounded by the background actors of the “Chocolate” movie.
I simply adored remaining seated at a café watching busy people around me, trying to guess if were they Parisians or tourists.
- CHAMPES ELYSEES XMAS MARKET
Guys really, you have to go to this Christmas market once in your lifetime! It’s just amazing!
Food, toys, vintage clothes, handmade jewellery, champagne tasting, candies and sweets: hundred colourful stands, bright flashing lights and tempting smells embellish one of the most beautiful street in Europe. Paradise for both children and adults.
Merry jolly music complete the frame of this gorgeous huge Christmas market, which offers its best during happy hour time. Advice: stay hungry!
- SACRE COEUR & MONTMARTRE: THE QUINTESSENCE OF PARIS
Nothing express the spirit of Paris better than the Montmartre district and the Sacre Coeur.
To visit this church is an touching experience. Located on top of an hill, the church also offers one of the best viewpoint of the city. Street musicians interchange art galleries, cafés and tavernas, on this district all made by descending roads and staircases. The area is always very crowded in the daytime, and it was beautiful to walk back there by night and walking in silent narrow streets.
- BISTROS AND TAVERNAS
From novelle cousine experiences to take aways, Paris represents a hungry invitation for any taste and budget. Personally, I liked the warm and familiar atmosphere of the bistros and tavernas, especially the wooden forniture, the professional bust yet friendly service and (essential!) the great selection of French wines.
My favourite place in town was La Taverne de Montmartre, a casual and quiet tavern perfectly spotted, only few steps away from the church of Sacre Coeur.
Absolutely to be tried are the famous escargots de Bourgogne (cooked land snail), the boeuf bourguignon (beef stewed in red wine), and -of course- the delicious dishes with local cheese, as the salade Aveyronaise (lettuce, tomato, roquefort cheese, walnuts).
- ÎLE DE LA CITÉ & NOTRE-DAME: THE TIME MACHINE
Walking around in the Île de la cité (literally, the island of the city) is like going back in time to the 17th century. In fact, almost nothing was modified or built in this area in the last 400 years.
The tiny island is connected by the Pont Nouef: although its name means “new bridge”, it was built in 1607 and is nowadays the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine. Adorned with silver and blue decorations, a gorgeous Christmas tree stands right in front of the Notre-Dame cathedral and the distorted silhouettes of bizarre gargoyles looking out on church’s façade remind me of the Grinch outline. I instinctively had a irremediable liking for this district, which is also a good spot for shopping with its many little boutiques and local patisseries.
- FIND THE PERFETC XMAS GIFT AT ST-OUEN DE CLIGNANCOURT FLEA MARKET
To understand Paris, go shopping. If like me, you are passionate about old stuff and vintage accessories, this flea market will be never never land: get lost in this labyrinth of 2500 and more shops, selling anything from classic restored furniture to old buttons and vintage fashion jewellery and luxury bags. If looking for the perfect Christmas gift, here you will be spoiled for choices.
- THE SWEETEST THING: THE MACARONS (’cause you can always get what you want for Xmas, right?!)
The macarons are sweet meringue-based confection made with egg white, icing sugar, granulated sugar, almond powder or ground almond, and food colouring, usually filled with ganache, buttercream or jam filling sandwiched between two cookies.
Originally produced in a Venetian monastery and later imported in France in the 16th century, the macaron is an irresistible temptation. They are in every window of Parisian cafés and pastry shops, so it is impossible to leave the city without having tasted at least one. The real trouble with them is that, due to the little size, they look quite inoffensive and one leads to another.
Aspiring pastry chefs can find the recipe of French macaron here.
? Have you ever been to Paris? Which are your favourite things to do there? I can’t wait to be inspired by your secret addresses and tips for my future trips to the French capital!
Comment below ? or share using #GOWITHDICE?
This post is dedicated to my unbiological sister Monia,
who walked with me in Paris, danced with me in Ibiza and
whose extraordinary strength taught me to never give up in life