When the chilly November winds begin howling down the boulevards of Paris, the locals simply do as they always have: Turn up their collars, go about their business and complain archly that such weather is simply un-Parisian. For visitors however, winter in Paris can reveal a trove of treasures from cosy Paris boutique hotels to glistening markets that the summer tourist will never experience. Be sure to invest in a very warm coat with all the trimmings (boots, gloves and hats are highly recommended) and stay outside – there is much to see and do in the City of Love, even in winter.
Winter is by far the best time to visit the Louvre. Although any visit to the lovely little Mona Lisa is shared with other gallery-goers, winter is a time when you may find yourself alone with Michelangelo’s David (the copy and early statuette models, NOT the original!) or even communing with the Venus de Milo. The fact that the Louvre has a Metro station right underneath it doesn’t hurt either, for quick transport when the cold is simply too much.
Strolling down the Champs Elysees is always worth braving the elements, but especially in winter. The French government treat the city to a thousand freshly-cut fir trees (purely for decoration and beauty), and three hundred of these ring the traffic roundabout at the end of the Champs Elysees.
You have never had a croissant until you have had a Parisian croissant. Although the coffee in France is not quite on par with its Italian cousins, the pastries are absolutely without equal. Forego the coffee in favour of hot chocolate and a pastry, and cuddle up to your beloved for a little people-watching before heading back to one of the elegantly appointed boutique hotels Paris has to offer. A point to note about Parisian hot chocolate: This is not the powdered variety found in the US and UK – instead it is pure melted chocolate, often stirred with rich cream. Not for the dieter, this is bliss in a mug.