Paris in December
Paris in December. My favorite season to visit Paris is certainly this: between the end of November and the beginning of December the whole city lights up with Christmas decorations and the atmosphere become even more magical. Also this year, like the last one, I planned a trip in this period: read on to find out more!
Paris in December and the magic of Christmas
We arrived at Gare De Lyon in the late afternoon and immediately took a taxi to reach the first hotel of this trip. On the boulevards along the Seine we started seeing the lights of the Louvre, the Christmas pines of Place Vendome and the imposing installations on the Champs-Elysées shining in the darkness. Here, on the corner with Avenue George V, in a historic building also elegantly decorated for Christmas, is the hotel where we spent the first two of our four nights in Paris.
The Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet’s, a 5 star hotel part of The Leading Hotels of the World collection, is in a truly exclusive position: from each of its rooms you can enjoy an incomparable view of the Champs and the Arc de Thriompe, the elegant Avenue George V or the wonderful courtyard.
Right in the courtyard there is a delightful bar and restaurant called Le Joy which, on the occasion of Christmas, has been set up like a Chalet, with snow-covered pines surrounding small tables, wooden benches and soft blankets to keep you warm!
Christmas decorations adorn every corner of the hotel, creating a unique atmosphere: I counted at least three Christmas trees, all in the same salon!
The suites of the Hotel Barrière Le Fouquet’s are very beautiful, in shades of cream, and also very spacious. They consist of a walk-in closet, a king-size bed and a large bathroom with double sinks, a spa bath, a shower and separate toilets.
The location of this hotel is very special and was created as an extension of the legendary Brasserie Le Fouquet’s, which boasts an important history behind it. This is one of the historic brasseries in Paris, open since the late 1800s and has become over the years a meeting point of the world of entertainment and cinema: as proof, many galleries of vintage photographs that are located along the corridors of the hall. There could not be better place for our first dinner in Paris!
Even in the Brasserie was filled with the magic of Christmas: giant toy soldiers welcomed the customers right at the entrance and a beautiful tree is positioned in the center of the hall. We had the table booked right next to it!
The menu created by chef Pierre Gagnaire offers traditional French dishes, but revisited with creativity. I was pleasantly surprised by the wide selection of homemade desserts and at the end I opted for a blackberry and fig tartlet, which are two of my favorite fruits: together they are exceptional!
The majestic Arc de Triomphe can be reached in a five minutes walk from the Hotel Barriére Le Fouquet’s!
Walking along the Champs, even in the rain, is even better at this time of year: the windows set up for the holidays catch the eye and make you really dream! Below is a detail of the tree in the Louis Vuitton boutique: isn’t it incredible?
We then headed to Avenue Montaigne and the Dior boutique, whose Christmas window last year had so enchanted me (there was a huge balloon, remember? You can find HERE the photos), and I discovered a huge snow-covered pine: this year no exception!
We loved also the row of (real) trees that runs along the Avenue: they too all lit!
On the way back we noticed right in front of our hotel a very unusual sushi bar, so we decide to come back for dinner (without booking). Once entered, we found out that waiting for a table is very long, over half an hour! But we do not desist and we start studying the furniture and the long menu: in addition to sushi, there was also a wide selection of fusion dishes. This place is called Miss Ko!
The next morning we decided to go to visit the Notre Dame Cathedral. We reached our destination just in time to see the beginning of the work of setting up the over 20 meters tall Christmas tree that they are used to place just in front of the western facade. Can you see it?
As it was a beautiful day we decided to walk toward Alexandre III bridge: after the rain of the previous days, the temperatures had risen and even a pale sun has came out!
Our trip continued at Saint James Paris, a hotel that for some time I wanted to visit because of the internal spiral staircase decorated with a wallpaper with hot air balloons. From the photos it seemed to be in a fairytale and seeing it live did not betray my expectations: I was speechless!
The theme of the balloons is also taken up in the chandeliers, the painted metal furniture and the courtyard gazebos. Are you wondering why? Because obviously there is a reason why: the Saint James Paris is housed in a building that was built on the terrain of the airfield used by the Montgolfier brothers for their first flight experiments!
We find out that they reserved us a special suite called the Love Pavilion. It’s a 3-storey villa that offers on the ground floor a lounge with sofa, armchairs and fireplace as well as a small kitchen, upstairs the bedroom with the bathroom and downstairs a private spa with jacuzzi and turkish bath! All just for us!
The next morning, as we went to have breakfast, we stopped at the sight of a cute black cat that was sleeping on the carpet. We discover that his name is Pilou and the is the mascot of the hotel: below you can see him while he accompanies us to the table! Everybody here loves him: even the WiFi password takes its name!
The Saint James is located in the 16th arrondissement: with a walk of just 10 minutes you reach Place du Trocadéro, one of the most famous and privileged spots to admire the Eiffel Tower. From there in a moment you go down until you reach its base.
The walk continued in the area up to Rue de l’Université, which offers one of my favorite views. I am always amazed to notice how the tower is visible from so many points of view around the city!
We had lunch in a very nice Brasserie called Le Recrutement, where we order Croque Madame and Crepe Nutella: a super delicious match!
In the meantime it gets dark and the Tour, at the stroke of every hour from sunset to 1 am, lights up intermittently for five -very bright – minutes.
We have almost reached the end of our trip to Paris. We spent the very last night at InterContinental Paris Le Grand, one of the oldest hotels in the city, commissioned by Emperor Napoleon III. In the inner courtyard, which was once the main entrance, they entered with the horses and carriages and the roof was completely uncovered. In a second moment they decided to cover it with a dome and Gustave Eiffel was chosen to design it! Today the courtyard houses a bar that is accessible to everyone, even those who are not guests of the hotel: I recommend you go for a coffee because it is absolutely worth seeing!
We stayed in one of the Opéra suites located on the top floor, really large and equipped with every comfort: but the most amazing thing was the view!
I look out on the balcony and discover I have the Opéra right in front of my eyes! On the other side the balcony continues and after turning the corner, I discovered an even more amazing view: even from here you can see the Tour!
Waking up here is just amazing!
On our way to breakfast we discovered that, during the night, a huge Christmas tree was set up just below the Eiffel dome.
At the checkout a little surprise awaits us: two advent calendars full of delicious chocolates!
Being just a few steps from the Opéra House, I took the opportunity to go and visit its interior. It is accessible, on your own or by booking a guide, every day of the week from 10 am to 5 pm (last entrance before 4.30 pm): I suggest you to get in line early in the morning or very late to get to enjoy its wonderful staircase and the Salon du Glacier all by yourselves.
Time for a last Cappuccino before going to the railway station to take the TGV train back home: I sitted outside, in an outdoor table, despite the cold. Like a real Parisian.
As always, I hope that these tips and addresses can be useful in case you decide to visit Paris during the Christmas holidays or at any other time of the year!
I sincerely wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
See you here on the blog in 2019!