Oh, bonjour City of Lights. Salut City for Lovers! Okay, forget the latter. Paris in December is magical with or without a boo. I do not know of too many cities that wear overcast weather well. Paris does it effortlessly. Typical December weather in the city is somewhat dreary and cold- like most Northern European cities. I do not think Paris got the memo that it was December, not March this year. No complaining from me, though!
One of my besties and I were traveling from cold champion city, Berlin, to visit a close friend for the weekend. I packed as I usually do for this time of year in Paris. Tons of layers! Heavy sweaters, gloves, Uniqlo HeatTech (look it up. It’ll change your life!), hats, and boots. I arrived to early spring weather! This was great as I enjoy walking in the city for hours. The city comes alive with winter festivals and Christmas markets scattered strategically across the arrondissments (Parisian neighborhoods). I would spell out the pronunciation of that, but I’m enjoying imagining everyone’s mispronunciation. I was staying in the trendy 3rd arrondissment in an area called Le Marais. Picture side streets in New York City’s fashionable SoHo district; bakeries, bistros, and boutiques line the streets surrounding the famous landmark of Bastille.
I walk along the Seine enjoying the sun and smell of fresh bread early in the morning. Paris has 37 bridges over the Seine connecting the Right and Left banks. I crossed over into the 5th arrondissment (Panthéon) to Notre Dame and back over into the 1st (Louvre) to walk through the Jardin du Tuileries (Tuileries Garden). Once you exit the garden, you are at the Concorde. This is where the famous Christmas Market on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées begins. This is the largest Christmas market within Paris. The first place I get in line is the vin chaud booth. That’s hot wine. It is also called Glühwein (German). It is great to keep you warm while walking amongst the thousands shuffling back and forth from one side of the street to the other. Be warned, it’ll sneak up on you. I’m somewhat of a lightweight when it comes to drinking, so one or two cups completely do me in.
It is unheard of to visit Paris, let alone a festival, without having a crêpe or two. Or three. This is a thin pancake like pastry filled with everything from lemon and sugar to Nutella and banana. Booths offer different sweets and savories to keep you sated while visiting others who wish to lure you in to buying their merchandise. Once you exit the market, full of vin chaud and whatever sweets you could manage to enjoy amongst the crowds, continue on Champs-Élysées to enjoy one of the greatest promenades in the world. The Arc Du Triômphe greets you at the end. Hop on the metro to head to the 7th arrondissment (Palais-Bourbon) to catch the sunset atop the Eiffel Tower. You can stand in line with all the others waiting for the elevator to the top and you’ll shell out 14.50 Euros (about 20$USD). Or you can take the “stairs less traveled” up to the second level and get a better deal. If you take the stairs it’s only 5 Euro for the trek and you can pay 6 Euros once you’ve caught your breath, to the top!
I have visited Paris more than any other city and it never gets old for me. There’s energy in the city I identify with. The shopping, the people, the history, the food… in December, in Paris, this is what the Holiday Season should feel like.
Where will you be for the new year? Wishing you a wonderful season, wherever you may be!