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Visiting Paris in December and January

A number of years ago I spent New Year’s Eve with my friend Laurie in Paris. While some would prefer visiting in the Spring (aka “April in Paris”), winter in Paris can be wonderful. Here are some things to consider:

Visiting Paris In December and January

Sit At An Outdoor cafe

They have heaters, so you can still “people watch” and won’t get cold, especially if you order a Vin Chaud, which is hot, spiced wine.

Visiting Paris in December and January
Paris in winter France

The Decorations

Everywhere. The French know how to decorate, after all.

Blvd Saint Germain, Paris France
Blvd Saint Germain, Paris
Place Vendome, Paris France. Photo: J. Chung
Place Vendome, Paris France. Photo: J. Chung

Ice Skating Rink

Outside the Hotel de Ville

Paris France Winter Decorations
Paris Winter Decorations

Shimmering LIghts

On the Champs Elysee and in the Place Vendome. Beautiful.

Paris France Winter Champs Elysee Lights
Paris Winter Champs Elysee Lights

Christmas Markets

There are a number of winter markets scattered throughout Paris where they sell vin chaud, cheese and many other foods, gifts, and toys. The one on the Champs Elysee is particularly large.

Christmas market, Paris (J. Chung)
Christmas market, Paris (J. Chung)

Angelina’s Hot Chocolate

Great excuse to have one of the renowned “African” hot chocolate drinks.  It is rich. It is dark. It will be the best hot chocolate you have ever had.

Angelina's Hot Chocolate, Paris.
Angelina’s Hot Chocolate, Paris.

Ride The Ferris Wheel: 

At Place de la Concorde at night: the view of the city lights are spectacular. Be sure to get a seat by a window, otherwise, you won’t really get a great view of the Champs Elysee, in particular.

Ferris Wheel in Paris (J. Chung)
Ferris Wheel in Paris (J. Chung)

New Year’s Eve: Oysters and Steak For Dinner

New Year’s Eve coincidentally takes place on ‘Saint-Sylvester’s Eve and is celebrated with a feast and we did with oysters, steak, and wine.

Oysters, steak and wine on New Year's Eve.
Oysters, steak and wine on New Year’s Eve. Photo: J. Chung

New Year’s Eve Looking At The Eiffel Tower

There aren’t any fireworks but there was a light show. The entire area underneath the Eiffel Tower is closed off. We had started at Trocadero; however it was too crowded and therefore the views weren’t great. So, we headed to Pont de Bir-Hakeim and stood on the bridge.  It is a covered bridge which was perfect as it was drizzlying that night. Fireworks did take place in other areas of the city.

Eiffel Tower-New Year's Eve in Paris (J .Chung)
Eiffel Tower-New Year’s Eve in Paris (J .Chung)

Other Considerations

1.Weather: Pack gloves, sweaters, and an umbrella. Paris can be cold and damp and the temperature will range from 3-7 degrees C. It doesn’t get bitterly cold but it has been known to rain in December/January. However, the days can also be sunny and crisp and wonderful for sitting out at a cafe.

2. Packing: Pack lightly so you have room for purchases: if you are visiting in mid to late January there are some very good sales.

3. Lights: It will get dark early, but it is also beautiful with all the lights.

4. Entertainment:

  • Be on the look-out for Christmas concerts located at any one of Paris’ many churches.
  • Check out the Christmas windows at the Grand Magasins (Galeries Lafayette and Printemps)

5. Seine River Cruise: Don’t rule out taking a night-time dinner cruise. Hopefully, Laurie can share her experience doing that.

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  • Reply
    Sue Reddel
    November 27, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    We celebrated New Years Eve in Paris in 1999. So much fun. We went with friends and had a fabulous dinner at a small bistro. They opened just for our group of 10. I’ll never forget that glorious dinner and wines the owner paired for us. We couldn’t find a place to eat and a friend of a friend called the owner and she said come. She loved Americans and told us so many amazing stories of the soldiers she met. Unforgettable evening!

    • Reply
      November 27, 2016 at 7:13 pm

      That would have been fabulous!

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