The City of Light is just as enchanting in the cold.
WHERE TO STAY
In the 8th Arrondissement, just off the famed Champs-Élysées is the five-star La Réserve Hotel and Spa, where old-world opulence is the order of the day. Tucked inside a 19th-century mansion, the hotel, which boasts 25 suites and 15 rooms, overlooks the Grand Palais and Eiffel Tower and is within easy walking distance of the Louvre and the Tuileries gardens.
Another luxe option nearby is La Maison Champs-Élysées, a boutique gem housed in a Haussmann-era townhouse. The rooms, designed by Maison Martin Margiela, exude minimalist chic. During the holiday season, there’s a “winter chalet” set up on the terrace serving melty raclette cheese, composed salads, hot chocolate, and more.
WHAT TO DO
For the athlete:
Explore the city on a three-hour bike tour with Fat Tire Bike Tours. You’ll get expertly schooled in Parisian history as your guide leads you through quiet back streets and busy boulevards.
Bundle up and head to the intersection of Rue de Lyon and Rue Daumesnil for a morning run. Climb the stairs and hit the trail along the traffic-free Coulée Verte (green course), which was the inspiration for New York’s High Line. An oasis two stories above street level, the elegantly landscaped three-mile path is one of the city’s most peaceful secret gardens, populated almost exclusively by locals.
Glide around the world’s largest ice skating rink at Le Grand Palais des Glaces. If you arrive in the evening, the indoor rink is illuminated with bright, festive lights.
For the aesthete:
Visit the L’Atelier des Lumières, an immersive multimedia art exhibition with digital images of masterworks by artists like Klimt and Van Gogh beamed onto walls, columns, ceiling, and floor. Various elements from the pieces of art spin and sail across every surace, while an orchestral soundtrack plays.
Check out the recently opened Musée Yves Saint Laurent Paris. Housed in the atelier where the famed French designer lived and worked, the museum features rotating exhibitions of YSL’s clothing, accessories, and career highlights. Don’t miss the studio filled with art books, sketches, and fabric swatches—all virtually untouched since his death in 2008.
Pop into the aptly-named Yummy & Guiltfree for a breakfast of café au lait and gluten-free waffles. You can order the breakfast classic with toppings savory (like seasonal vegetables and Thai curry) or sweet (like caramel coulis and lemon curd).
Grab a healthy mid-day meal and a juice at Le Crémieux, a cozy eatery with hearty, organic offerings like the chicken and veggie bowl, as well as a menu of vegan and vegetarian dishes. It’s also located at the top of Rue Crémieux, a secluded street of brightly-painted townhouses.
End your adventure with tapas at the hip Le Dauphin, home to some of the best and most creative small plates in town such as the spicy lamb chorizo, oeufs mimosa (a delicious spin on deviled eggs) and Dover sole.
Before returning to the hotel, stop off at Bar Hemingway for an inventive cocktail in a warm, atmospheric spot.
Photo: Didier Lefevre