I just returned from a Christmas shopping trip to Paris and it was awesome! I’m exhausted but it was worth it. Previous years I went to London (see my London tips here) and Berlin (see my Berlin tips here), but I had never been to Paris during the holiday season. It was magical, romantic and really a good idea. In January I will share more of my city trip, but for now I would like to show you what not to miss if you are going to Paris coming days.
1. The Ferris Wheel on Place de la Concorde (metro station: Concorde)
This 10 minutes ride was actually the highlight om my trip. It was so magical and romantic to see the whole city lit up and bustling with people embracing the Christmas cheer. It was just the two of us in a cubicle so you can really savour the moment, and the view is worth every Euro (10).
2. Galleries Lafayette and Printemps (metro station: Hausmann Blvd)
For the best shopping you go to Galleries Lafayette and Printemps. The store windows are an annual attraction, as is the Christmas tree inside Galleries Lafayette. This year, Lafayette has an upside down Christmas tree. If these two department stores don’t get you into the Christmas shopping mood, I don’t know what will. From the rooftop terrace you have a great view of the city. And you’ll find all the big brands and exclusive perfumes at Lafayette.
3. Le Bon Marché Rive Gauche (metro station: Sèvres Babylone)
Department store Bon Marché is less crowded than Printemps and Lafayette but just as fun to shop. I especially like their gifts department. I also had lunch here, and it was exquisite. Not too many tourists, and shopping among the locals, that’s my thing!
4. A stroll on the Champs Elysees’ Christmas market (metro station: Charles de Gaulle etoiles to La Concorde or vice versa)
What’s a trip to Paris without an evening stroll on the Champs Elysees? Especially around Christmas it is even more fun because the boulevard is lined with Christmas food and gift stalls, and kid fair rides. From the Arc de Triomphe all the way up to the Place de la Concorde the trees are lit up and light installations add colour to the roundabouts. 5. Place Vendôme (metro station: L’ Opera)
Not that I can shop at Place Vendôme, but I love to go inside and pretend to be interested in that 10 million Euros bracelet. Place Vendôme is boasting with jewelry shops by Chanel, Cartier, van Cleef & Arpels, Dior, Rolex en Boucheron. I just love the architecture, and enjoy watching the millionaires splurge. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with looking at the bling and dreaming, is there?
Paris is at its best at night. So I always schedule in a night to rent a bike and cycle past all the iconic monuments that are lit up. I really never get bored by the lit Eiffel Tour, Louvre, or Arc de Triomphe. (also see my blog post Paris is always a good idea, on a bike)
7. Merci concept store in Marais (metrostation: Saint Sebastien-Froissart)
The best place to buy unique gifts is the Merci Concept store on 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais. They always have the latest designs in stationery, kitchen ware, home accessories, jewelry and clothing. Also try their scones and fresh tea in their café after you have managed to leave the store empty-handed. I bet you won’t.