Upon returning to Paris one winter, Ernest Hemingway wrote:
"When we came back to Paris it was clear and cold and lovely. The city had accommodated itself to winter (...) there were braziers outside many of the good cafes so that you could keep warm on the terraces (...) on the streets the winter life was beautiful. Now you were accustomed to see the bare trees against the sky and you walked on the fresh-washed gravel paths through the Luxembourg gardens in the clear sharp wind."
I couldn't say it any better. January brings frigid gray days and warm cozy cafes. The city is beautiful in that spare winter way. My favorite things to do in Paris for the month of January include shopping the season's soldes or sales, having tea in a salon de the and maybe buying some artisanal honey to sweeten my buttery baguette.
This Month's Featured Apartments:
Saint Germain des Pres - Sevres Vaneau II
This roomy ground floor apartment has a master bedroom and bunk room, sleeping four, but there is also a pullout futon in the living area and additional bedding in the basement cellar. The galley kitchen contains washer and dryer, as well as a breakfast bar, all in all an ideal space for a large family.
Saint Germain des Pres - Rue du Bac
With a fabulous location in the Carre Rive Gauche, this apartment is steps away from the Musee D'Orsay and other key Parisian attractions. It is intimate at 915 sq ft, and can sleep up to four people. The pied-a-terre is also located on the ground floor of a nice building with a view on the inner courtyard.
Marais - Bastille
At three bedrooms and two bathrooms, with a terrace and an elevator, this 1076 sq ft apartment is roomy and comfortable. The airy interior was designed by the well-known French Japanese designer Yamakado.
Sold on Soldes
Everyone loves a good sale. Indeed, since I've lived in America, I rarely pay full price for fashion clothing, home furnishings, even wine and food.
Not so in France.
The French government regulates sales and there are only two official ones a year. The good news is the winter sale begins in January (the other, a trip to plan for, starts in early summer.) Though the exact dates vary year-to-year, you can count on these biannual sales to last for about 6 weeks.
At these times, the elegant French-and the savvy tourists who plan well-go shopping for everything from fine china to bed linens to designer clothing. With post-Christmas merchandise piled up, the winter shopping season always bodes well.
This year, with the recession-well, there's an upside to everything-the January sales in Paris promise to be great. It's a good idea to visit your favorite shops a few days before the start date: for 2011, January 12-February 15. That way you can have an idea what's out there, perhaps try things on, and plan your sales strategies and wish lists.
Browse deals at both classic departments stores, like Galeries Lafayette or Le Bon Marche, as well as at boutiques and designer discount outlets in areas like Les Halles and the Marais.
Remember the prices continue to drop as the sales continue, but don't wait to long as the best stuff goes fast.
Be sure to visit the Paris Conventions and Visitors Bureau proper guide to the seasonal sales (web: shoppingbyparis.com.) Here, you'll find all the information you need. They even put out a book that breaks down fashion categories into Les Selects, Les Ethic Ethnic, Les Bobos Chics, Les Creatifs and Les Trendys!
I for one am soldes!
Salon de Thé
Only in Paris would tea be elevated to an art form and what better time of year, with January's slate skies and frost-laced winds, to explore the city's numerous teahouses. I expect every teahouse has a story, so I share with you the tale of one of the first Parisian salon de the.
Louis-Ernest Laduree, a miller by trade, founded a bakery on the Rue Royale in 1862. For once, a building fire proved helpful and in the bakery's remodel, influenced by the Haussmann renovations sweeping Paris, Laduree emerged as a charming pastry shop.
Even today, the signature celadon and gold exterior opens into an elegant interior characterized by a ceiling painted with frescoes of cherubs by the turn-of-the-century artist Jules Cheret, especially known for his poster art.
Madame Laduree, Jeanne Souchard, also made a lasting impression on the business-to-come. She opened a high society tearoom, where ladies could freely gather and partake in the increasingly popular ritual of having tea.
And as if this were not enough, later in the 1930's, Laduree's heir Pierre Desfontaines invented the double-decker macaroon, two macaroons sandwiching a creamy flavored ganache.
The rest is history.
Though no longer in the Laduree family, the business and its salon de the is open to all and still serving tea and delectable macaroons in flavors such as bitter chocolate, blackcurrant violet, orange blossom, lemon and pistachio.
If that's not enough to drive you to an afternoon of tea in the City of Lights, I don't know what is!
Laduree and other salons de the
16 rue Royale
Metro: George V
256 rue St. Honore
Metro: Palais Royal
30-32 rue du Bourg-Tibourg
L'Artisan de Saveurs
72 rue de Cherche-Midi
79 avenue Bosquet
Metro: Ecole Militaire
22 Passage Dauphine
If honey is your thing-and even if it's not-I recommend a visit to the small but well-stocked honey boutique Les Abeilles. Owner and apiarist Jean-Jaques Schakmundes carries not only the tools-of-the-trade but many delicious varieties of honey, including heather, lavender and rosemary honey produced by bees who feed off the nectar of these plants. |
Paris-produced honey is featured, along with regional honey.
Honey tastings with mini-spoons, honey-infused foodstuffs and a boutique newspaper called The Little Bee make up for other sweet tidbits.
21 rue de la Butte-aux-Cailles
Calendar of Events, January 2011
October 13, 2010-January 10
Nancy Spero Retrospective
Pompidou Centre, Metro: Hotel de Ville or Rambuteau
€10-12; free under 26 (Wednesday-Monday)
September 10, 2010-February 6
La Pinacothéque de Paris
28 Place de la Madeleine, Metro: Madeleine
€12 (dates vary)
September 22, 2010-January 24
Claude Monet (1840 - 1926)
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, Metro: Champs Elysées Clemenceau
€12 (closed Tuesday)
October 6, 2010-February 20
Monet: Son Musee
2 Rue Louis-Boilly, Metro: La Muette
€9 (open daily)
September 24, 2010-January 24
Rubens, Poussin and 17th Century Artists
Musée Jacquemart André
158 Blvd Haussmann, Metro Miromesnil or St. Philippe du Roule
€10 (open daily)
April 27-May 1
La Bastille Modern Art Fair
Place de la Bastille, Metro: Bastille
€8 (open daily)
Exhibitions and Other Museums
November 5-February 20
Writers' Portrait Exhibit
Maison de Victor Hugo
6 Place des Vosges, Metro: Saint Paul or Bastille
Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais
3 Avenue du General Eisenhower, Metro: Champs-Elysees-Clemenceau
€11 (dates vary)
Printemps du Cinema
€3.50 per screening
Porte de Versailles
Place de la Porte de Versailles, Metro: Porte de Versailles
€10 1-day pass, €18 2-day pass (daily 9:30am-7pm)
Music, Theater and Dance
International Circus Festival of Tomorrow
Pelouse de Reuilly, Bois de Vincennes, Metro: Porte Doree
January 16-February 14
Place de la Bastille, Metro: Bastille
January 31-February 24
Palais Garnier, Place de l'Opera, Metro: Opera
Paris Antiques Book Fair
55 Boulevard Vincent Auriol, Metro: Quai de la Gare or Chevaleret
€6 (open 11am-7pm)
December 17-February 17
Ice Skating at Hotel de Ville
Place de l'Hotel de Ville, Metro: Hotel de Ville
Free, €5 skate hire (open Mon-Sat 12pm-10pm; Sun 9am-10pm)
Paris Chopin Festival
Orangerie de Bagatelle, Metro: Porte Maillot, then bus to Bagatelle
€ Unknown at this time
Note: the information in the newsletter and calendar are accurate when we publish, but things do change, so it's always a good idea to check before you go.
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The Welcome 2 France team
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