The weather outside may be frightful, but Paris is delightful in any season. It’s the perfect time to linger in one of the city’s excellent museums, or wile away an afternoon in a cosy bistro. Winter brings the added joy of hearty, heartwarming cuisine (raclette anyone?) and the city’s chocolatiers serve up divine melted chocolate in a cup. After the Christmas decorations have been stashed away for next year, the boutiques and department stores slash their prices during the semi-annual sales. Here are some of our top picks for the season.
Winter Warmers. Jean-Paul Hévin, one of the city’s top chocolatiers, has opened a new boutique next to the Marché des Enfants Rouge in the trendy third arrondissement. The Chocolate Bar(re) concept means you can choose from a number of different hot chocolates, made with cacao beans selected from diverse spots around the world.
Art Nouveau. If you haven’t yet seen the Fondation Louis Vuitton, the new museum designed by architect Frank Gehry, now’s the time to go. The first temporary exhibition—“Contact” by Danish artist Olafur Eliasson—is a sensory journey, with lots of light installations, through the museum’s cavernous basement spaces.
Eat. Martin is a new wine bar that opened in December not far from République. It’s been getting a lot of press love because of the management team (the same folks behind Au Passage.) The two-course 15 euro lunch menu is a real value. A recent meal included a lentil salad with beets and goat cheese, followed by cod in a beurre blanc sauce served with perfect purple potatoes on a bed of sautéed kale. The fresh-pressed juice—carrot, pear, apple, and ginger—provided a great boost.
So Spaah. The cold weather may leave you in need of a spa pick-me-up. We highly recommend a half-day at the Clarins Spa at the Molitor, which we featured in our Spa Guide last year. Newly opened in summer 2014, the hotel has been making waves (literally) in Paris, and the spa is one of the best in town.
Paris on Ice. Every year, a free ice skating rink is opened in front of the Hotel de Ville. Access to the patinoire is free; you just need to pay for the skate rentals (6 euros each). Gloves and ID card are required. Until March 5. There is also an ice skating rink on the first floor of the Eiffel Tower, free for those who have paid tickets to the Eiffel Tower.
Grande Roue. Get a birds-eye view of Paris with a spin on the Grande Roue. Set up on the Place de la Concorde until February 15, the giant ferris wheel costs 10 euros per adult and five euros per child (under 10).
Shop Til You Drop. Get great bargains during the semi-annual sales! The soldes will continue until February 17, with savings up to 70% off. For shopping tips in Paris, see our guide to the city’s boutiques.