It's really hard to beat Christmas in Paris. The City of Lights has so many wonderful things to offer during the winter holidays. And it's a real kid-friendly city too. Following are highlights and tips for things to do from our recent trip:
1. Ride the beautiful carousels and ice skate at the Parisian City Hall. Entrance is free for both however, ice skates cost 5 euros to rent. The backdrops for public ice skating in Paris (Eiffel Tower and Hotel de Ville) are hard to beat. If you've had a hankering for merry-go-rounds, ride your heart out!
2. If Notre Dame Cathedral wasn't already spectacular enough, check out the Christmas Tree. The giant tree is up from November 27, 2010 to February 2, 2011.
3. For a city famous for its decorative lights, Christmas is the knock-em-sock-em event of the year. Visit obvious spots such as the Eiffel Tower, various Parisian department stores, and the Champs Elysees or get lost in one of the special quarters such as Rue Moufettard where the city is alive with a glow that's part natural, part artificial, and all awesome!
4. Shop the open air markets. I failed to take a photo of one of these outdoor shopping chalets, but here's a photo of Lulu wearing a Peruvian sweater I bought for 20 euros from one of the booths at Place de la Nation.
5. Enjoy the holiday food and beverages! There are so many wonderful things to eat and drink in France but during holiday season they bump it up a notch. Champagne, oysters, foie gras, mini quiche and other amuse bouches, bûche de Noël and galette des rois appear everywhere (at least for a short while).
Because Christmas is strictly a family affair in France, get yourself invited to a Christmas eve dinner and know you're "in"!
6. Visit museums. Much of the city slows down due to the holiday season so it's a great time to visit museums. There are less tourists in the winter than summer and although there can be long lines everywhere, it's still a less chaotic time to view masterpieces.
It's not common to have snow in Paris however this year, we were hit with a blizzard. The heavy snow made the city sparkle, if not a little inconvenient! That said, I mean it more than ever... I'm happy Silvio's from Paris, France and not Paris, Texas! I highly recommend visiting Paris during the winter holidays. The glowing city is one giant present specially wrapped for you and your family to uncover! Happy travels!