“Paris is always a good idea” – said Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina. This, we know. However, it's magnificent in winter. There are trees draped in fairy lights, pretty festive markets, and a Christmas ambiance like no other city. Even better, many things are actually open on Christmas Day.
Starting in early December the main shopping streets – and pretty much all of the stores – start putting up their Christmas decorations, giving Paris a glitzy makeover. Holiday events such as the Christmas chalets, the grand city decorations and the department store sales, actually continue well into January. So, if you want an extended vacation, then Paris is the place to be.
Year after year, our Paris Perfect team have all fallen under Paris's spell, but especially so during winter. Read some of our favorite things to do and see during the holiday season…
Natasha loves the Christmas markets
Natasha, our Marketing Manager, adores visiting the beautiful Christmas markets all over the city. One of the most charming markets is set along Quai Branly. It's right at the foot of the Eiffel Tower, offering glimpses of La Grande Dame. There's delicious French food and a myriad of Christmas stalls, selling cute gifts and bespoke decorations.
While there are dozens of other places to visit, one of Natasha's favorites is the charming little Christmas market in Montmartre, right next to the Sacré Coeur church. Montmartre's village-like atmosphere makes it even more alluring and children don't miss out either – there's even a small petting zoo.
John loves mulled wine
John, our Chief Technology Officer, enjoys making merry when in Paris. He likes sampling some delicious vin chaud, or, mulled wine. It can be found everywhere, at Paris's Christmas markets and a host of cafes throughout the city.
There are various versions of mulled wine; some being more of a brandy-laced wine. Sipping on a cup while wandering around a bustling Christmas market feels incredibly festive. It certainly gets you into the spirit of things!
Laura loves Christmas shopping at Galeries Lafayette
Laura, our Senior Writer, aims for the inspired Christmas decorations at Galeries Lafayette. They are truly spectacular and bring in the joyful season. Every year, the store picks one designer brand to feature in their sensational Christmas window display. It's always exciting to see what they create and an eagerly awaited event.
Past designs have featured a Burberry bears frolicking in London and Dior ballerinas dancing through stylized Parisian views. The other big department stores like Printemps and Le Bon Marche also create colorful Christmas displays, but they can't compete. Galeries Lafayette is always the winner.
Wander towards the heart of the store, to see the iconic Christmas tree under the ornate stained-glass ceiling. Every year, a new tree is designed and proudly displayed in the store. Past creations include an inverted, gravity-defying tree, a beautiful Swatch themed tree and an enchanting white paper one: home to some crafty polar bears. A highlight being a majestic modern pyramid that shimmered with hundreds of oversized baubles.
Madelyn loves Christmas shopping and the New Year sales
Paris Perfect's Founder, Madelyn, loves Christmas shopping in Paris because she can find unique gifts for friends and family at home. If her travel plans allow, she books an extended stay after the New Year – to enjoy the outstanding January sales. Some of her favorite items include the beautiful gift boxes of macarons from Ladurée.
Madelyn's tip? Along with seriously discounted prices, you can also get a tax refund if you spend over €175 in one day. So, if Santa didn't bring you everything you wanted, pamper yourself with a guilt-free shopping spree after Christmas.
Ingrid loves Christmas lights and decorations
Ingrid, our Reservations Manager, spends the whole year managing our chic apartments. When the twinkling Christmas lights and trees are positioned, she loves the conviviality of the holiday. The buzzing atmosphere is all part of the festivities.
A special place to experience a perfect Christmas scene is the charming Place Dauphine in the 1st arrondissement. A cluster of large pine trees are set in the triangular park and adorned with classic glittery baubles and ribbons. Paired with the golden light from the iron lampposts: it's utterly magical.
Michelle loves seasonal cakes and treats
Personally, I look forward to the mouthwatering Christmas cakes, chocolates and sweet delights that the French pastry chefs create.
Delicate golden macaron trees, tiny marzipan fruits and decadent Mignardise chocolates are some of my favorites. These petite treats also make gorgeous (and well-received) gifts. Get some for stocking fillers and make everyone merry and bright.
A French Christmas celebration wouldn't be complete without a traditional Buche de Noël (chocolate log cake) and there are literally hundreds of them to choose from around the city. For something more traditional, you can't top your local boulangerie or for something a little fancier seek the modern masterpieces available from celebrity chefs like Cyril Lignac, Michalak and Pierre Hermé.
Paris is incredible year-round as there are so many wonderful things to see and do. We agree, it's always a good idea to come to Paris, but during the festive season it's pure magic. See you there!
If you need assistance planning your festive getaway to Paris, our friendly reservations team are on hand to help you select one of our family vacation rentals. We can also help with shopping, itineraries, tours, dining reservations, and customized private experiences. Contact us today for more information.