Pre Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year to get away on a mini break in Europe. I love wrapping up all cosy, wandering through a foreign city, warming up in coffee shops and seeing the Christmas lights. So when I was offered a short break to a European city of my choice as part of my Travel Blogger Christmas Shopping Challenge with World Duty Free, my destination of choice was a no brainer. Paris!
I’ve been to Paris before, but only ever in the summer. I have always wanted to return to the ‘city of love’ in winter, and this was my chance! To me there is something so romantic about the wintertime. And whilst I didn’t have a hunky piece of man candy to accompany me on my adventure, I was still so excited to do the trip. (Girl Power eh ladies?). This is the story of my perfect December day in Paris….
After a night at Hotel Reims (a very basic yet perfectly good hotel very close to the Stalingrad metro station in central Paris), I made sure I got up bright and early to make the most of my only full day in Paris. I bought a 24hr metro ticket for 6.60 euros and hopped on a train to Chaussee d’Antin La Fayette. It was one of those perfect winter mornings that was sunny, blue skies and a crisp chill in the air.
I stopped for a typically Parisian breakfast at Le Manoir Café, consisting of a Jus d’orange, chocolat chaud, croissant and confiture for 8.50 Euros (my A-Level French was beginning to come back to me). After petit dejeuner, I went to meet an old friend of mine called Emeline at the Galeries Lafayette. Emeline was my pen pal who I did a French exchange with way back when I was 13. We’ve kept in touch ever since but this was our first face-to-face reunion after 10 years!
We had arranged to spend the day together and she told me she would show me around Paris, starting with a browse through the Galeries Lafayette. Now, I’ve been in my fair share of luxury department stores, but this was something else. Emeline lead me into the central beauty hall of the store which lay under a huge glass dome with ornate decoration. In the centre stood a stunning Christmas tree which is well worth seeing even if don’t intend on spending a cent.
Next we caught the metro to the top of the Champs Elysees and began our long walk through central Paris. We started at the Champs Elysees and I stopped at La Duree to pick up some of their famous macaroons for my friend Lauren’s Christmas present.
We walked along the Christmas market stalls that ended at the Place de la Concorde. The combination of festive food stalls smelled divine and the long row of white huts looked amazing.
From here we walked right through the Jardin des Tuilerries and down to the famous Louvre museum. Here we got a photo together and walked towards the Pont des Arts bridge.
Seeing the Pont des Arts was definitely a highlight of the day. The story goes that if a pair of lovers attach a padlock with their initials to the bridge and throw the keys into the seine, their love will be everlasting (swoon). There are thousands of padlocks on this bridge and visually it is absolutely stunning. With the Seine at either side, the sun on my face and a crisp chill in the air, it was a moment I really had to snapshot in my mind. Where was that hunky piece of man candy when I needed him?
We crossed the Seine and walked along the other side of the river bank towards Notre Dame and the Latin Quarter. Emeline told me there was a great choice of restaurants here for our lunch stop and she insisted that I chose where we ate. I went for a typically French restaurant in a winding cobbled street in the Latin Quarter. I was quite stuffed from my heavy breakfast, so went for a Salade au Chevre Chaud (goats cheese salad). Oh my god – it was to die for! The warm creamy cheese and the ceasar dressing was light but indulgent.
For desert, Emeline went for a trio of deserts and an espresso and I rounded off lunch with a Crème Brule. Quelle Surprise?
After a long and leisurely lunch and a much needed catch up on each others love lives, we caught the metro to the Eiffel Tower. As a Parisian, Emeline wouldn’t dream of visiting the Eiffel Tower ‘for fun’, but she was kind enough to play tourists with me and come along. She joked she was probably the only French person for miles around, and she was probably right! But as ridiculously touristy as it is, nobody can deny it is an incredible sight.
By this point, I was absolutely freezing, my nose was bright red and my cold had deteriorated into a snot-based disaster. But that didn’t matter! I had spent a perfect Christmassy day in Paris with a very old friend and I can safely say that Paris in the winter time is absolutely stunning. Although I didn’t have long there, Paris remains one of my favourite European cities and a place of style, artistry and timeless romance. Maybe next time I return I will be adding a padlock of my own!
What did you think of my Perfect December day in Paris? Are you thinking of visiting Paris this winter? If you enjoyed this post, leave me a comment and let me know! x