Im winter to Paris? Why not – why not? The metropolis really turns up in the run-up to Christmas. The capitals almost overdo it with the Christmas decorations – a kind of competition for the fiercest bling-bling seems to have broken out.
In general, the timing is good, because there is also a new star in the cultural sky. And fashion and culinary delights are traditionally popular in Paris anyway. Seven tips for a trip to the city on the Seine.
The largest Christmas market in Paris
The city’s largest Christmas market can be found in the Jardin des Tuileries. Until 2016 it took place on the boulevard Champs-Élysées. Since November 20th, more than 100 huts have been built again in the former baroque palace park, which adjoins the Louvre.
French artisans such as glassblowers and carpenters as well as food stands with French products from 20 different regions attract the public in the 1st arrondissement. Everything is dominated by a 30 meter high Ferris wheel. From above it offers a great view of the Eiffel Tower and glittering Paris. The 1,200 square meter ice rink is also popular for ice skating.
Info: Le Marché de Noël du Jardin des Tuileries, open daily until 2nd of January
Santa Claus in Galeries Lafayette
An old friend dangles down from the Art Deco glass dome in the main store of the Les Galeries Lafayette department store chain on Boulevard Haussmann not far from the Paris Opera: Santa Claus, larger than life, the outfit typically in red and white.
But it is an astronaut suit that he is wearing; Santa Claus exchanged the hat for a spaceman helmet. The brightly decorated Christmas tree on his left turns out to be a rocket. One comes a little closer to the Christmas installation of man and aircraft over a seemingly floating catwalk with a glass floor at a height of 16 meters.
There is a real competition for the most exciting decoration ideas, it seems. In any case, all of the five large department stores in the capital regularly outdo each other from mid-November with their new jewelry orgies every time. Passers-by and the public appreciate this and share their photos millions of times on social media.
Info: Les Galeries Lafayette, Boulevard Haussmann (haussmann.galerieslafayette.com)
Shop and dine in style at La Samaritaine
Once the largest department store in Paris, founded in 1869 by the merchant Ernest Cognacq, La Samaritaine was last closed for 16 years for restoration work. All the more brilliant his Christmas appearance this year: The high-end department store is not only presented in exuberant, but also expected light decorations. Since it reopened in June, old Art Deco tiles can be admired again, which had disappeared behind ceiling tiles during modernization work in the 1960s and 1970s.
In 2001, the global leader in the luxury goods industry LVMH (Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany etc.) bought the department store – it would be a Christmas miracle if shopping queens and kings didn’t find a particularly stylish present for the festivities here.
By the way: the sales floors, which are decorated with fir green and glitter, are crowned by a restored glass roof, under which the star chef Naoëlle d’Hainaut pampers tired shopping in the “Ernest” with tapas and à la carte creations. You can also stay overnight appropriately. The luxury hotel is part of the Art Deco complex on the Pont Neuf “The White Horse”.
Info: La Samaritaine, www.dfs.com/en/samaritaine
The art collection in the old stock exchange
The man collected diligently. Around 10,000 works by around 400 artists from all over the world. The entrepreneur François Pinault is now exhibiting his extensive collection, which has been created over the past 50 years, in the old Paris Stock Exchange: paintings, photos, videos, installations and sculptures.
The Japanese star architect Tadao Ando literally gave the “Pinault Collection” the right framework – a concrete frame that he placed in the listed rotunda of the former trading exchange, which he converted into a museum. The temple of modern art within sight of the parish church of Saint-Eustache opened in summer. The contemporary art collection of one of the richest men in France has since been open to the public.
Info: Pinault Collection, pinaultcollection.com/fr/boursedecommerce
Shopping in the Quartier des Halles
Until 1969, the eponymous cast iron halls of Paris stood in the Quartier des Halles. The entire food requirement of the Parisians was handled there, the market women came and went. People traded, ate, drank and prayed. The quarter was known as the “belly of Paris” and the nickname is still used today.
The ten pavilions made of iron and glass were built between 1852 and 1870, under Napoleon III. At the beginning of the 1970s, they were torn down and replaced by a concrete, steel and glass monster in the typical style of the time. Since then, instead of food, over 50 million people have been smuggled through the world’s largest underground train station, Châtelet – Les Halles, according to the city administration.
Even though the Westfield Forum des Halles shopping center forms a kind of antithesis, Les Halles has retained the flair of the small-scale pleasure district. The restaurants and shops are very busy. In Épicerien, the French corner shops, delicacies are sold – including the coveted foie gras – the Parisians apparently continue to enjoy animal welfare.
Fromagerien, bistros and the oldest pastry shop in Paris, the Patisserie Stohrer, founded in 1730, have turned Rue Montorgueil into a single mile of pleasure. And quite a few capital city dwellers stock up on ingredients for the Christmas feast in the “belly of Paris”.
Info: Halles district: de.parisinfo.com/transportmittel/118359/Quartier-des-Halles); Westfield Forum des Halles Shopping Center: fr.westfield.com/forumdeshalles; Patisserie Stohrer: stohrer.fr
Extravagant gifts for everything to do with the Palais Royal
The colonnades of the Palais Royal, built at the beginning of the 17th century by order of Cardinal Richelieu, minister under Louis XIII, exude morbid charm. Here and there the paint peeled off the ceilings, nobody has brought the ensemble to a high gloss.
If you are looking for something special and unusual for the festival of love, you will find it here. The gardens of the palace are lined with galleries and designer shops. High-priced second-hand haute couture can be found at The Vintedge by Didier Ludot. More vintage fashion can be found at the German Gabrielle Geppert’s boutique of the same name.
Paris has a long tradition as a fashion city, and in the posh shops on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré it is more evident than anywhere else. The two-kilometer-long street is lined with the names of the most famous fashion houses: Chanel, Hermès, Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Pierre Cardin, Chopard and many more. The fashion mile is also world famous because the French President resides there in the Élysée Palace.
Enjoyment in Parisian institutions
A typical picture: It’s seven degrees outside, but you’re sitting on the terrace that borders Place Colette. The “Le Nemours” café is a real Parisian institution. And even in mousy weather it is lively.
But it is by no means the only institution. The “Angelina” café on Rue de Rivoli or the “Antonia” café in the “Le Bristol” hotel, where afternoon tea is celebrated in a very French way, are also among them. There are 8,000 cafés with terraces in Paris alone. For many of them, a place should definitely be reserved in advance.
The cult brasserie “Au Pied de Couchon” – it has been open around the clock, 365 days a year since the 1940s – or “Le Grand Colbert”, an Art Nouveau brasserie in the time seems to stand still.
Five-course menus, created according to the wines preferred by the guest, are served in the restaurant “L’Ecrin” in the splendid “Hôtel de Crillon”. But be careful: if you dine there before Christmas, you will experience an early feast.
Info: Café “Le Nemours”: https://www.lenemours.paris; Café “Angelina”: angelina-paris.fr/en/home; Coffee „Antonia“: oetkercollection.com/fr/hotels/le-bristol-paris/restaurants-et-bar/cafe-antonia/; Kult-Brasserie “Au Pied de Couchon”: www.pieddecochon.com; Brasserie “Le Grand Colbert”: legrandcolbert.fr; Restaurant “L’Ecrin”: rosewoodhotels.com/fr/hotel-de-crillon/dining/l-ecrin)
Participation in the trip was supported by Atout France. You can find our standards of transparency and journalistic independence at axelspringer.com/de/werte/downloads.