Although New Year festivities are over, there are plenty of things to do and see in Paris this January and February before the winter season ends. Our favorite places to visit and things to do after the New Year this winter season in Paris include the following:
Ice Skating: Hotel de Ville is the Mayor of Paris’s residence. It is one of the most beautiful structures in the city, made all the more stunning with a skating rink for the winter season. Ice skates can be rented at a nominal amount, and little ones can also play on the ice by being pushed on a small ice-truck platform. Other skate rinks include Le Grand Palais, Trocadero and Place de la Concorde. The skate rinks at these venues are open until mid-February or even March.
Le Marais: Always festive, Le Marais is a perfect venue to cozy up during the winter. Rue des Rosiers is the best to stroll, as its cobble-stoned street is now just a walkway for pedestrians (but don’t be surprised when, true to Parisian form, a car drives down this narrow alley anyway).
Galette des Rois. Another festivity begins after the New Year, with bakeries throughout Paris making tasty almong flaky treats. A hidden “feve” (enamel or plastic ornament) is baked inside and the winner gets to be king for a day. Don’t forget to also take the crown that comes with the cake when you buy it at the boulangerie.
Sacré-Coeur: This grand church, which is “new” by Paris standards, sits on top of Montmartre for an expansive view of Paris. The cafes and restaurants nearby, along with the artists’ quartier, is a great venue during the winter season to experience all that is festive in Paris.
Notre-Dame. Need we say more about this historic church, with a giant Christmas tree in front? Visit during Mass and hear the beautiful songs in French or Latin. The Christmas tree remains out in front until February.
Place Vendome: This grand square near the Louvre has beautiful chandeliers suspended high in the air that radiate a snow-white glow. This gilded plaza surrounded by the Ritz Hotel, Cartier and Chanel boutiques remains a popular venue for the richest of the rich. Fortunately, visiting the splendor of their holiday trimmings won’t even cost you one centime- so come visit and relish in the luxury!
Premier Shopping: Paris Winter Sale. The Paris winter sale ends on February 21st.
My favorite street to visit is Avenue Montaigne, with the finest fashion shops in Paris and the world, including headquarters for Christian Dior. Other great shopping venues include Rue Saint Dominique, in the Seventh Arrondissement, where Christmas lights suspended above the entire street give it a unique festive flair. Rue Cler, of course, which sits perpendicular to Rue Saint Dominique, is perfect if you are shopping for gourmet food items (Julia Child frequently shopped here, too!). And Rue Saint Faubourg-Honore , which is appropriately next to the Elysée Palace and close to Place to Madeleine, is considered one of the finest addresses for haute couture in all of Paris. Hermès, among others, has its flagship store and world headquarters along this super-chic street. Au Nain Bleu, the best toy store in all of Paris, is also located nearby here.
For more “standard” shopping, try Rue de Passy, in the 16th Arrondissement, as the Frank et Fils department store is still a terrific Parisian hotspot that has anything and everything. If you look hard enough, you’re sure to uncover the occasional true bargain for under 40 euros (think scarves, fancy candles, etc.). Finally, Don’t forget the famous Le Bon Marche, off of Rue du Bac in the Seventh Arrondissement, which is a great place to people watch while shopping, as the most beautiful people in all of Paris shop here.