25 Ways to Enjoy Paris in Winter

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25 Ways to Enjoy Paris in Winter
“Winter was come indeed bringing with it those pleasures of which the summer dreamer knows nothing…” Proust Paris in January, February, March… the chilled and quiet months that make it possible to slip back easily into the 19th century: Proust’s world of cozy interiors, the Garnier Opera House, and delectable hearty meals. In addition to some of the obvious pleasures of less-trammeled museum corridors, we can warm up with cognac in the plush corners of the grand hotel bars. There are teatimes, cooking classes, les soldes, and the music halls and restaurants of rue de la Gaîté. Why go to Paris in the coldest months? Because it’s affordable, romantic, uncrowded, and full of extraordinary surprises both indoors and outside. Rooftop view of the back of the Palais Garnier from Galeries Lafayette. Photo credit: Ellen A Here are 25 ways to make the most of a winter trip. 1) Catch the lowest airfares January through early March post some of the lowest airfares from North American cities and elsewhere. French Bee has fares hovering around $800 roundtrip from Los Angeles, San Francisco or Newark to Paris Orly airport. Statue of Jeanne d’Arc. Photo credit: Ellen A 2) Choose from a greater range of hotels and apartments To be fair, staying in Paris is never cheap, but many hotels and Airbnbs will be available at a reasonable rate, particularly for longer stays. With an apartment, you can bring pastries, cheeses, paté, and even whole meals from a traiteur back to your place to enjoy. And it’s a rule that if you make the coffee, your partner goes out to get croissants in the morning! Choose a hotel instead if you’d like assistance with reservations, transport, and directions around town. Even two-star hotels can be quite nice, but they may not have an elevator, room service, or strong wifi. Most three- and four-star hotels will have many amenities and staff who speak English. Mid-range prices per night in winter will be about $250 to $400/night for a double. Galettes des Rois displayed at bakeries in January. Photo credit: Ellen A

Lead photo credit : Notre Dame. Photo credit: Ellen A

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Following a long and fulfilling career as a government attorney in California, Ellen retired to France several years ago with her husband, a novelist. They are enjoying a second life here in Paris with their unruly Cairn terrier, and make frequent visits to Normandy, where they are restoring a small village house.


  • Jay McCormick
    2023-02-09 07:29:54
    Jay McCormick
    Re music, don't forget the album Place Vendome with the Swingle Singers and the Modern Jazz Quartet...


  • Ed Cobleigh
    2023-01-06 12:28:08
    Ed Cobleigh
    I have some comments. Don't drink Cognac, it will instantly label you as a tourist if you're trying to fit in. 97% of all Cognac is exported. The French drink Bas Armagnac. L'Hotel de la Marine is closed due to a fire. I recommend two books to prepare for a visit, The Pilot: Fighter Planes and Paris, a novel, and The First Fighter Pilot-Roland Garros, a bio. But I would say that as I wrote them. Take a day trip by RER to Le Bourget airfield to visit L'Musée de la Air et Le Espace. It is the largest and oldest air museum in Europe. You can see exhibits from the dawn of flight to Concorde to space craft. Don't pass up Berthillon ice cream, even in winter. Go straight to the mother church of glacé itself on L'ile Saint Louis and score a coronet.