Celebrate The Winter Holidays In Fun And Different Ways

The holidays are full of rich traditions that come from Earth’s beautiful diversity of cultures. These cultures, many of them, are celebrated here in Paris, from family festivities, to gourmet treats to holy observances of sacred days. One of the most magical of Parisian experiences you can have, whether you are Christian or not, is attending the midnight mass at the Cathédrale de Notre Dame de Paris on Christmas Eve. Hearing Holy Mass in a church over 800 years old fills you with a sense of the majesty of our saints throughout the ages and peering at the Baby Jesus manger, called a crèche in French, is something that the whole family is sure to enjoy. 

Two musts during the holidays are indulging in gourmet treats with friends and loved ones, at, say the Marche des Enfants Rouges, and also looking your best while doing so. Perfect Pairings food+wine is a short 2-hour workshop where you'll not only get to taste a minimum of three fine French wines, you'l also learn how to pair them with food and how to order the right French wine with your restaurant or bistro meal. At the Christophe Robin salon in Montorgeuil you'll find an over sized Venus clam shell that doubles as a hair washbasin that anyone is welcome to use when you wander in looking to try out some of his all-natural  hair care products. It works like this: Walk in, tell the staff that you’d like to shampoo your hair using their products and they will welcome you and hand you a hair dryer and a bespoke boar-bristle hair brush (that is DYI) once your hair is shampooed. The Venus basin can accommodate two people at once so a couple of friends or a few family members can make this an outing.

Once you’ve gotten yourselves all pretty and prepped it’s time to go off and meet the rest of the party for that elegant afternoon tea, hot chocolate and pastries. One of the most festive holiday-makers in Paris is Experience Paris. Larry Davis has a gorgeous vintage 1955 Rolls Royce that he'll pick you up in and drop you off at your elegant destination. 

And though it’s not an outing reserved just for the boys, while the girls are having their beauty time, the boys could take that as their cue to take in a sporting event at the all-new U Arena which has seating for up to 40K spectators and is located just past La Defense. 


6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche

First they teach you the ABC's of French wine and how to do a proper wine tasting. They focus on 3 of the major French wine regions at a time. The wines selected come from any of these famous French wine regions: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace, Loire, Provence, Languedoc or Champagne. Next, they teach you how to read a French wine label - how to sound like a pro when ordering French wine at a restaurant here in Paris, France or anywhere in the world. Then, they take you out to a favorite wine and small plates bar. Here you get to try out your new wine pairing skills straight away. Order a small plate of something delicious and then choose the wine you'd like to pair with it. Groups up to 10 people are welcome!

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Food and Wine is not just France's specialty, it's its cultural heritage. In this food+wine experience, you'll discover the best of both.

Paige's expert tip: Join in on a 2+ hour wine + food pairing seminar-workshop experience and tasting trek in St. Germain des Pres, Paris. This is a perfect way to learn how to effortlessly order that bottle of French wine at your favorite restaurant - and what to pair it with perfectly!

Read more about Perfect Pairings food+wine →

Musee des Arts Decoratifs de Paris
Photo courtesy of Musee des Arts & Decoratifs Paris

One of Paris' main draws is its timeless devotion to fashion. The city certainly has carved out a place for itself on the throne of world fashion centers. And it has done so largely thanks to its designers and its reverence for the decorative arts. This museum, dedicated to all things decorative, whether that be interior design, textiles, furniture or fashion, puts the spotlight on outstanding creative talent and collections. For example, during the summer of 2017 the exhibiton was devoted to Christian Dior's collections mainly from the 50s and early 60s. The museum is located just next to the Louvre at the beginning of the Tulieries. It covers over 6OOO square meters of exhibition space and houses more than 6000 objects of historical and decorative value. The most popular time to visit is in the afternoon after lunch, so if you don't want to wait in line or be rubbing shoulders with big crowds, it's probably best to go at off hours. The exhibits change every few months so check the website to see what you will be able to take in while there.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Literally in the shadows of the Louvre, this museum has a special charm in that it focuses exclusively on all things decorative arts.

Paige's expert tip: The museum stays open until 6pm Tuesday through Sunday. During school holidays it keeps its doors open until 10pm. School holidays are frequent in France so check to see what the hours are during your stay in the city. And every Thursday evening the temporary exhibit stays open until 10pm.

Read more about Musee des Arts Decoratifs de Paris →

Christophe Robin
Photo courtesy of Christophe Robin Salon

For women who seek a luxury hair care experience, renowned colorist Christophe Robin offers his expertise at his bespoke salon in the ultra-trendy Montorgueil district. His motto is "free your hair," and the likes of Catherine Deneuve, Tilda Swinton, Kylie Minogue and Kristin Scott Thomas have all decided to do so, with him. Christophe Robin = pampering. Dedicated to the use of natural products, his complete and creative product line is silicone free, paraben free and use no colorants either. For example, his Regenerating Hair Finish Lotion with Hibiscus Vinegar, when applied to the scalp, helps dissolve sebum and chemical residues, which allows the scalp to breathe, making hair light and airy. Says superstar haircare expert and colorist, Christophe Robin, "In a personal drive towards better health and well-being, I created this line of hair and body care." The full range is available in his boutique and shop online, too!

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: The holidays are filled with social occasions where everyone wants to look their best. Give yourself that with an appointment at the Christophe Robin Salon.

Paige's expert tip: At Robin's new salon in central Paris he has created a beautiful space, replete with an oversized Venus clam shell that serves as a place where you can come, play with his products, and have your hair washed. All for free! Then you get to dry your own hair using his boar-bristle bespoke hair brushes. This is an absolute must-outing for the girls.

Read more about Christophe Robin →

3rd Arondissement - Marais

If your kids love seeing life-sized polar bears, horned rams and white tigers, then this is going to be the outing highlight of their Parisian days. Housed in a beautiful Marais building, the 17th c. Hotel Guenegaud by Mansart, just at the start of the very chic and charming Upper Marais, this museum of hunting and nature is three floors full of spectacular taxidermied zoological specimens. A collection of centuries' old oil paintings and other precious art objects all depicting the hunting culture of France over the last centuries as well as depicting the relationship between humans and animals since antiquity. This is a private museum that gives visitors a glimpse of wild animals in their natural habitat. It also features rotating temporary exhibits alongside its permanent collections and these can be enjoyed Tuesday through Sunday with late nights on Wednesdays.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: One of kids' favorite shops in Paris is Deyrolles on the Left Bank which has all kinds of taxidermied animals. Here, there's even more.

Paige's expert tip: If you've always wondered whether unicorns are for real or imaginary, this museum will settle that question of a lifetime for once and all. Hint...(now, you didn't think I'd give that away, did you?!)

Read more about Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature →

9éme Arrondissement

Let's face it, as much as we all love to indulge, there are times when too much pumpkin pie and ginger-spiced hot lattes can catch up with you and contribute to that feeling of rundown holiday haze. So this holiday season you can come to your own (and your family's/ loved ones') rescue by placing a simple order for Pure Delight daily delivery at their Printemps department store restaurant. Because I'm here to tell you, detoxing delightfully is where it's at this holiday season. Anywhere you are in the city, they'll deliver your freshly prepared super healthy and balanced meals and cold pressed juices to your door. Just type in your address on your order form, hotel or apartment, and Voila, the next day just as you're coming in from your morning jog, there it is, your days' fresh provisions waiting for you. This Pure Delight team recently joined up with the celebrated French chef, Thierry Marx (2 Michelin stars) to prepare the light menu fare. And now they even have an eat-in/take-away restaurant in the basement level of Printemps Department Store's Beauty boutique. So spin yourself around a bit this season and avoid the holiday feelings of stress and overstrain. These healthy juices and fresh foods, all delightfully tasty, will detox your mind and spirit and make you ready for the new year.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: Who doesn't love French food? And now there's a French food that is all about healthy living and eating. And it's prepared by a 2* Michelin French chef even!

Paige's expert tip: If you want to taste some of the juices, prepared breakfasts and light lunches/ dinners before placing a day's or week's order, just visit the cafe-restaurant at Printemps de la Beute, in the famous department store. This will give you a chance, too, to know more what you'd like to order and have delivered daily to you throughout your stay in Paris.

Read more about Pure Delight →

6th Arrondissement - Rive Gauche

One of the best routines to keep when you're traveling is your exercise and fitness regime. Why? Because it is just the antidote to the stress of traveling. However, that is often easier said than done! These days, Paris has a flourishing yoga community and one of the newest yoga studios is now right in the heart of St. Germain des Pres, less than a minute walk from the metro station and the church, Eglise St. Germain. The entrance is that to a normal-looking apartment building on this stately street, and once you enter the courtyard, there is little more than a small sign at the far end of the courtyard to indicate that here is a yoga studio. But continue and go through the doors and you will find 3 large yoga studios, heated and well-lit. There are even towels for rent on site and changing rooms with lockers.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: This shrine to all things yoga houses multiple disciplines under one gorgeous glass roof. So, practtioners of Iyengar, Jivamukti, Ashtanga, Yin, Vinyasa...all are welcome here.

Paige's expert tip: It's easy to reserve your spot, just go to the website and choose your day(s) and time(s). The yoga sessions last between 60 and 90 minutes. The practice rooms are spacious and are all naturally lit.

Read more about Bandha Yoga →

La Defense

This is Paris' spanking new, bright and shiny mega auditorium, sports arena and concert hall. So glorious is it that THE Rolling Stones played the inaugural concert on opening day in late October 2017. Located just past La Defense it's accessible via the Metro line 1, RER A and soon there will even be a TGV (fast train) stop there. The arena cost 353 million Euros to build and holds up to 40K spectators. It will be used as much for sporting events as it will be for musical concerts. It will be a nice draw for the upcoming 2024 Olympic Games that were just awarded to Paris. Starting December 2017 it will be the home of the Rugby club, Racing 92, a Top 14 ranked rugby team from Ile de France.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: All the bells and whistles are featured at this new Parisian mega-auditorium. Hey, even the Stones wanted to be the first ones to play here!

Paige's expert tip: It's not as far as you think it is nor is it very difficult to get to. And the nice thing about going in this direction, is that La Defense houses a great shopping center, too.

Read more about U Arena →

3rd Arondissement - Marais

This marketplace located in the 3rd arrondissement of Paris in pretty Marais is a great place to wander around and expand your Parisian palate. Boasting stands that offer everything from cheese to meats to pastries to chocolate, you'll find French delicacies on every corner. This marketplace also has international cuisine, so be sure to try the popular Moroccan food available. In addition to the food, you can find impressive selections of wine and bright and fragrant flowers. Some tables are available where you can sit and enjoy your food while taking in the hustle and bustle of Paris' oldest food market - it originated in 1615. But it was first an orphanage founded by Marguerite de Navarre in 1534. Since 1912 it has been the property of the City of Paris and since 1982 it has been classified as an historic monument.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: This is Paris' oldest covered food market, still around after a long 400 years making history in the neighborhood.

Paige's expert tip: If you want a full-on sit-down meal or just a glass of wine while visiting Marche des Enfants Rouges, you're in luck. The cafes and restaurants in the market offer plenty of space where you can sit to dine on an outdoor terrace.

Read more about Marche des Enfants Rouges →

18th Arrondissement - Montmartre
Experience Paris
Photo courtesy of Larry Davis

Looking to see the City of Lights in a new light? Let Larry Davis be your go-to guide for experiencing Paris in luxurious new ways. Like how, you ask? Ride in a vintage limo as you take in the sites along the Seine, from the Eiffel Tower, up through Trocadero and down along the Champs-Elysees. What about a horse and carriage or a private yacht hire? These are just some of the things that Larry's company, Experience Paris, specializes in. It caters to those who have good taste and who want to create lasting good memories while they are in Paris. It's the perfect service to call when you want to pop the question or celebrate a special occasion. His company can also arrange day excursions that can take you to nearby destinations and get you back to your hotel by supper time.

Recommended for Things to Do in December because: A good while before 'experiences' became all the rage in the sharing economy's travel industry, Larry Davis was offering these Parisian personal touch excurstions.

Paige's expert tip: A good while before 'experiences' became all the rage in the sharing economy's travel industry, Larry Davis was offering these Parisian personal touch excursions to discerning clientele.

Read more about Experience Paris →


Meet Paige Donner

Paige's latest book, The Romantic Couple's Guide To The City of Love, Sexy Paris follows her earlier guidebook Paris On 4 Paws, A Dog Lover's Guide To The City of Light and her acclaimed...  More About Paige