Paris is memorable at any time of year, but during the month of December it seems to sparkle especially bright. December is an ideal month to take in the city’s many sights and attractions in a more relaxed setting. The streets are dotted with boutiques decorated for the holidays and the grand department stores go all out with stunning displays. We recommend experiencing some of these truly special Christmas celebrations in Paris.
- Paris Holiday Walk: Culinary Traditions - A special 2.5 hour walking tour of various chocolate and pastry shops in Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Learn about traditional delicacies such as foie gras, oysters, champagne, clementines, and the Bûche de Noël cake.
- Christmas Concert at La Sainte Chapelle - Classical music in the setting of a small Gothic chapel.
- Ice Skating – The open-air rink in front of the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville (Paris City Hall) is the most popular seasonal ice skating venue in town.
- Notre Dame - Attend Christmas Eve Mass
- Paris Christmas Market - These markets are set up throughout the city offering special holiday treats.
Joyeux Noel from CobbleStayread more
Fashion Week is one of the busiest times in Paris all year. It is a hugely important time for fashion designers, buyers, shoppers, and pretty much anyone who loves fashion.
Important dates for the 2015 season include January 21-25th for Men’s Fashion, January 25-30th for Haute Couture, and March 3-11th for Ready to Wear.
Whether you plan to visit Paris for fashion week or just follow the shows online, visit Mode à Paris for all the details and show times.
If fashion is your first love, then you should book your luxury Paris apartment as soon as possible. Otherwise we recommend avoiding Paris during these extraordinarily busy times, saving you not only time but money as well. Let our experienced reservation agents help you plan your travel dates in Winter 2015.read more
Paris in the fall is an amazing experience. The changing color of the leaves and the quality of light make for some spectacular photographs. It is so comforting to spend a blustery afternoon in a little Parisian café and chatting over a cup of hot chocolate.
It is important to note that Daylight Savings Time ends in France on October 26th. The time change in the U.S. does not occur until November 2nd.
Even though it gets dark early in the fall season, there are still plenty of interesting events around the city.
The Festival d’Automne à Paris (Paris Autumn Festival) is a festival of contemporary arts, embracing and combining different art forms. The arts festival puts on avant-garde theatre, dance and contemporary music from international companies at venues all around Paris. Every year, from September to December, the Festival features over forty events attracting an audience of more than 100,000.
Stay up all night on Saturday, October 4th for the annual La Nuit Blanche. Experimental art installations, video projections and art events take place all around the city. The venues range from museums to train stations and industrial buildings.read more
There is a distinctly French way of greeting the beginning of the fall season. À la rentrée! A literal translation is “at the return” but it can mean so much more. About.com defines À la rentrée ! as a valediction, similar to bonnes vacances ! (have a nice vacation), a way of saying good-bye and an acknowledgement that you’ll see the other person when you both re-enter the real world after your prolonged vacation.
It is an exciting time of year when schools start up, and everyone goes back to their busy lives after vacationing.
La rentrée can take place in entertainment (new movies, TV shows and books released), education, and even politics.
Learn more about la rentrée from FrenchEntree.com.
A special transformation happens in Paris during the summer. Beaches appear along the river Seine for four weeks in July and August. More and more Parisians are staying in town for the summer thanks to this annual event.
The Georges Pompidou Expressway along Paris’s Right Bank is transformed into a pedestrian friendly walkway replete with a sandy beach.
The Paris-Plages (“Paris Beaches”) have become an annual oasis for residents remaining in the city during the summer months. In addition to the sandy beaches, deckchairs, and ice cream sellers, the Paris-Plages offer a variety of activities including outdoor concerts.
The Bassin de la Villette (the largest artificial lake in Paris) also offers summer activities including, beach volleyball, aquagym classes, and kayaking.
But for those of you who demand a dip in central Paris, you can swim on the river. The Piscine Josephine Baker is a glass-walled swimming pool built on a barge that is permanently moored just below the Bastille. The pool has a retractable glass roof opens to the sky in summer months, but also affords protection from the weather during the rest of the year. The pool is a bit small (25 meters), but there is plenty of space on the deck to claim a spot in the sun.
Learn more: http://www.paris.fr/english/visit/highlights/paris-plages/rub_8208_stand_34146_port_18969read more
Visiting Paris is not just about sightseeing during the day. Paris has a vibrant and exciting nightlife for you to explore as well.
Rue Oberkampf, on the Ménilmontant hill in the 11th arrondissement, is a great place to discover hip new bars. Our
CobbleStay #11 – Amelot Terrace Ground Floor and CobbleStay #12 – Private Terrace Amelot are within 5 minutes walk of all the attractions on Rue Oberkampf but still housed within a serene courtyard away from any street noise
The Purple Passport makes an unusual suggestion that visitors can just as easily find great Parisian nightlife in some of the finest hotel bars in the city.
Hotel bars are not just for hotel guests. The finest hotels offer local crowds elegant and dramatic surroundings with a sophisticated atmosphere.
For example, Le Meurice’s Bar 228 offers nightly live jazz in a classic French setting accented by dark wood, leather furniture, vintage crystal decanters, and a range of whiskeys.
Of course, no visit to the city of lights would be complete without a night at the Moulin Rouge. Built in 1889, the stage is steeped in history. The 60 Doriss Girls, the famous Moulin Rouge dancers, all have years of formal ballet training before they make it into their costumes of a thousand feathers.read more
When visiting France in the summer, instead of ordering wine, try a pastis.
Pastis is an anise-flavored liqueur that is very popular for drinking slowly on a lazy summer afternoon.
Pastis can be enjoyed any time of day, however the French rarely drink it with their meal. The sweet licorice-like flavor does not pair well with many foods.
France Today has a nice article that gives the history behind the Pastis.
The drink is traditionally served using three vessels: a glass with a shot of pastis, a glassful of ice and a pitcher of water.
The color of pastis can range from yellow to yellow-brown (or even green). The star anise essence that gives pastis its flavor is not water-soluble, so when you add water, the drink quickly turns cloudy and milky looking.
The pastis must be diluted because it is 45 percent alcohol, similar to gin. Typically there is a 5-to-1 ratio of water to pastis, with ice being optional. But pastis mixing is a considered a personal preference and best left to the individual.
Learn some commonly used French idioms to help avoid confusion!
For example, if someone says to you “Ce ne sont pas tes/vos oignons“, they are not telling you “those are not your onions.” They are saying “it is none of your business!”
FluentU goes even further by giving you sample conversations and contextual advice.
Je dis ça, je dis rien.
Je dis ça, je dis rien literally means “I say that, I say nothing.” Its English counterpart is “just saying.” You would use this expression when giving your opinion but wanting to soften the blow a bit, or not assume total responsibility for it. It also has its own Twitter hashtag: #JDCJDR! Use with caution, since it’s rather passive-aggressive. Here’s an example:
Si on ne part pas maintenant, on n’arrivera pas au spectacle à l’heure. Enfin, je dis ça, je dis rien.
If we don’t leave now, we won’t get to the show on time. Just saying…
Use these in a conversation and you just might sound like a native speaker!read more
The month of August is considered “low season” and can be more affordable for your visit. August may be quiet as far as the locals are concerned, but kids are only out of school for two months and families love to come to Paris during the summer. Off season travel is usually much more fun, as crowds are smaller, lines are shorter and prices often lower. When you visit France in the off-season, you also feel more like a local and less like a tourist.
During the low season it’s easier to get reservations at your favorite Parisian restaurant. Many airlines offer off-peak travel rewards for greater savings.
Paris is beautiful any time of the year so why not make your travel plans more affordable and less crowded?read more
Or choose from dozens of locations across the city of love to help make that special moment even more memorable. Every time you return to Paris you’ll remember it as one of the happiest experiences of your life.
If you’re considering proposing, here are a few great locations to choose from:
- The fountain at Jardins du Trocadero
- The viewing deck of Pont de Bir-Hakeim
- Third floor of the Eiffel Tower
- The Pont Des Arts – Passerelle des Arts bridge
- The steps below the Basilique du Sacre Coeur de Montmartre
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