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Tea at The Ritz to High-End Jewelry: A Luxurious (and Affordable) Christmas in Paris

HIP Paris Blog Kids Christmas rodion-kutsaev Unsplash 18

Rodion Kutsaev

“When Christmas comes, we are not the family that hangs stockings or sings carols…What we do do is head to Paris and spend the Christmas holidays at the Ritz” – Djuna Berlin, Everyone Says I Love You

Ritz Paris

Paris is the perfect place to treat yourself to a little decadent holiday cheer. Whether or not you belong to a wealthy Manhattanite family like the one in Woody Allen’s  musical comedy, there are still ways to spend an indulgent Christmas in Paris with luxury treats that don’t  require remortgaging your home.

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Posted in Events, Fashion, Parisian Living, Shopping | No Comments »

Paris December Events: Christmas Markets, Dégustation Bulles and Champagne & More

Vic Xia 

 The holiday season has officially hit Paris with the city’s first snowfall arriving on the first day of the month. Even though the annual Champs-Elysées market won’t take place this year – as City Hall Tourism Lead, Jean-François Martins, claimed, “it wasn’t good enough for Paris.” – there are plenty of other enticing options that deserve support.

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Posted in Arts, Events, Food, Markets, Parisian Living, Shopping | No Comments »

A Different Kind of Christmas: First Holidays and New Traditions in France

HiP Paris blog. A different kind of Christmas. No matter where you care, you can always curl up with a cup of coffee and some Christmas cookies to ward off the holiday blues.

“If you put yourself in a position where you have to stretch outside your comfort zone, then you are forced to expand your consciousness.” – Les Brown

It’s not very cold out today. For lack of a better term (and one you’re probably hearing a lot this year), it’s unseasonably warm. There’s no Christmas tree in my apartment. No gifts either. No creatures stirring. Not even a mouse! This isn’t to say that the Christmas spirit is absent in Paris… It’s definitely here. The mayor’s office is fully decked out with amazing trees that are three times my height, covered in ornaments the size of my head. The shops in my neighborhood are lit up and filled with gifts, and there’s even Armée du Salut, or Salvation Army, workers jingling their bells. I’ll soon be traveling to Orléans to spend Christmas with my husband’s family, but until then I’ll continue my week just like any other.

HiP Paris blog. A different kind of Christmas, Fruit crepes are appropriate no matter what the season.

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Posted in Parisian Living | 3 Comments »

A Francophile Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway From the Paris Print Shop

Holiday Gift Guide, HiP Paris Blog

Salted Caramel Macarons from La Petite Sucre

It’s that time of year again! The time of aimless meandering through crowded streets or malls, searching for the perfect gift for that special someone. To make it a little bit easier for you, Nichole Robertson has put together a sweet little francophile gift guide. She is also offering up three great gift packages for three lucky readers: each winner will receive one extra-large print of your choice from the Paris Print Shop, a 2014 Paris calendar, and a set of four cards from the Paris Traveler Series! Instructions for entering are at the bottom of the post. Good luck! -Genevieve

Update: Congrats to our winners Adelle in Vermont, Jacqueline in Maine, and Chris in West Virginia!

I’m Nichole. I’m a writer, photographer and co-owner of an NYC metro-based creative studio, Obvious State. The focus of my work for the past few years has been Paris photography, so I spend a lot of time traveling back and forth (and staying in Haven in Paris apartments, which is how I met the lovely HIP staff).

Holiday Gift Guide, HiP Paris Blog, Print by Nichole Robertson

Extra large print from the Paris Print Shop by Nichole Robertson

I spent about two months this year working on The Paris Journal and my second book with Chronicle Books, which means I was able to frequently satisfy my own Francophile urges: Bordier butter, Laurent Dubois cheese, La Fermière yogurt and baguettes. Many, many baguettes.

Holiday Gift Guide, HiP Paris Blog 3

Merci stampParis street style bookpillow by Alexandra Fergusonmetro coaster by Tilissimo
 

You see the theme there, right? French dairy and bread. Not exactly giftable, or available in the US. Though I’ve discovered that you can buy Échiré butter here and on Amazon, and have happy danced over that discovery.

Holiday Gift Guide, HiP Paris Blog, Bags by Kasia Dietz

Bag by Kasia Dietz

So if you can’t fly your loved one to Paris this year, I put together a few things for that favorite Francophile in your life. Continue Reading »

Posted in Shopping | 106 Comments »

Christmas in the City of Lights: Seeking Out Paris’ Holiday Cheer

Mic Mac

When I popped home to the UK in November, London was already in full festive swing with Christmas trees, festive songs and neon lights galore. Sent back with a Cadbury’s chocolate advent calendar adorned with an oversized Santa, I was ready to start the Christmas season with a bang.

Making Magique

Yet once back home across the pond, I realized Paris hadn’t joined in on the fun yet. I was ready to start in on my advent calendar and temperatures were plunging, but where were all those tell tale signs that our favorite mid-winter festival was fast approaching?

This set me thinking. What exactly is a Parisian Christmas? What happens in the cold windy days leading up to the big event? I set out on a mission to discover the seasonal delights that France’s most romantic city had to offer.

Little Brown Pen

Shopping

Although the Christmas shopping frenzy begins relatively late in Paris (thankfully, shops only step into gear at the end of November), once it gets going, it really gets going. Stores go all out with light shows and designer-crafted window displays – always tasteful, bien sur. First stop? Paris’s iconic department stores. Whilst London has toy-filled Hamleys and elegant Harrods, Paris showcases its trademark sophistication with Les Galleries Lafayette and the neighbouring Printemps, where Karl Lagerfeld’s touch marks this year’s displays: think Chanel-clad rock ‘n’ roll dolls strumming their electric guitars and 20m Christmas trees. Continue Reading »

Posted in Events, Shopping, Travel | 5 Comments »

Paris in the Winter: The City of Light Shines

Above: Christmas window at Galleries Lafayette, Paris (JournaldesVitrines); Below: Christmas windows Galeries Lafayette (JournaldesVitrines); Eiffel Tower (Colodio)

Whoever said “all that glitters is not gold” can’t have visited Paris in December. I mean, why would anyone recoil at the prospect of ordinary, everyday sights being transformed into such delicious, enchanting illusions? From a damp black pavement glowing red, then amber, then green to the Eiffel Tower fizzing in a blaze of sparks, Paris in winter is pure magic.

But this light show is nothing new.  The French capital has been flickering on and off for centuries.  Its history stretches all the way back to the 1600s when a public decree ordered for lights to burn in the windows of all houses that faced onto the streets of Paris.  Ta-da, and so the City of Light was born…

La Grande Roue at the Place de la Concorde, ParisLa Grande Roue at the Place de la Concorde, Paris (Feuillu)

These days, over 100 streets are lit up from late November to late January to accompany Paris’ permanently illuminated monuments. Fancy basking in the city’s reflected glory? Follow my lead and wrap up warm for a bracing evening stroll along the Champs-Elysées.  The mile-long route from place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe glistens under a canopy of bright white fairy lights.  Everywhere you look, there’s a sprinkling of fairy dust and Christmas cheer.  Only the proverbial Scrooge would turn down a helping of roasted chestnuts or a spin on the twinkly Tuileries Ferris Wheel.

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Posted in Events, Parisian Living | 8 Comments »