Do NOT dismiss a trip to Paris in the winter if you are presented the opportunity. Yes, other seasons may offer more in terms of the beautiful gardens dotting the city, but winter provides perks as well. Such as lower fares. $500 RT for a business class seat upgraded via mileage points? Not too shabby. And the colder temps certainly don’t seem to deter the locals from dining al fresco… cue the heat lamps and pretty flannel blankets at all the corner bistros. And if you like to shop, you’ll appreciate — as I most certainly did — the month-long sales offered across the city starting mid January.
I just spent several delicious days in the City of Light with my husband, son (16), and son’s GF. It is my hope that these photos and recommendations may inspire you as you plan your own Parisian adventure, be it wintertime or whenever because… Paris is ALWAYS a good idea.
* NOTE: I usually carry my Sony ARii, but for this trip, I decided to ONLY utilize my iPhone 11. The Sony photos would have obviously been better BUT this method was SO much easier… and, in my opinion, the results were pretty good.
We rented a three-bedroom apartment in the historic Marais neighborhood. This is a WONDERFUL area — medieval streets, old mansions, and great museums, restaurants and shopping. Our apartment building was centrally located and quiet. One enters through a gated and rather dark (especially at night) alleyway which then miraculously opens up to a beautiful garden courtyard in front of the old stone building.
The gorgeous interior included a 1.5 story living room with large and striking artwork plus a long antique dining table. Wifi was very good… always a plus! Kitchen was a few steps down from the main floor along with a bedroom and laundry room. The other two bedrooms are on the upper floor, a few steps up from the living area. There are two toilet rooms outside the bedrooms, and every bedroom has an ensuite shower room. Speaking of showers… these were not great. But I would still recommend the apartment for the location and coolness factor. We did not use the kitchen but it looked quite user friendly and modern.
I would love to come back in the warmer months just to sit in that courtyard with a cafe au lait each morning…
Prefer a hotel?
For affordable chic and charm, try Hotel Verneuil in St.-Germaine-de-Pres neighborhood OR Caron de Beaumarchais in the Marais area. Or for something truly spectacular, splurge on Le Meurice across from the Tuileries Garden.
Restaurants, Bars, & Markets
MARAIS — 3 & 4 Arrondisements
Benoit: Michelin star restaurant under the helm of Alain Ducasse near Hotel de Ville. Beautiful interior and friendly staff. Food was good and VERY expensive, as expected for a Michelin venue.
20 Rue Saint-Martin, 75004 Paris, France
open every day, lunch & dinner
Devour Paris food tour: 3.5 hour walking tour through the Marais, stopping at many of the gastronomical hits this neighborhood offers. Our guide, Josh, was super easy-going and knew the area and his audience quite well. Highly recommended! The teens loved it, too — I find walking food tours are a great way to provide historical and cultural immersion for kids (of all ages!) in an easy-to-swallow pill.
Les Philosophes: VERY popular bistro in the Marais neighborhood with classic dishes made excellent by a chef who insists on high-quality, simple ingredients. Try the French Onion Soup… splendid. If you can’t get in, try the wine bar — La Belle Hortense — across the street where you can order food from Les Philosophes as well.
28 Rue Vieille du Temple, 75004 Paris
open every day 9 am to 2 am
La Belle Hortense wine bar/bookstore: We heard about this place on our food tour, and tried it later that day. VERY popular place which looked packed but the woman behind the bar encouraged us to come inside — they found us a seat in the back. There was live music and really fun vibe. We will definitely return! The bar serves charcuterie and cheeses BUT one can also order food from Les Philosophes across the street, and it will be delivered to your table.
31 rue Vieille du Temple, Paris IV
Téléphone 01 48 04 71 60
open every day 5 pm – 2 am
Marche des Enfants Rouges: Oldest market in Paris, located in the Marais. We went here on our food tour to try the Socca at the vendor stall Miam Miam (yum yum.) It is a fried flatbread made from chickpeas. SOoooooooo GOoooood!!! We returned a couple days later to encounter a line 50 people long. Too bad… the sandwiches are grilled and looked amazing. Closed on Monday and Tuesday, opens other days at 9 am. Go early! Chef Alain is a character and clearly loves his craft.
39 rue de Bretagne, Haut Marais, 75003 Paris
L’Etiquette wine — Natural wine shop on Ile St. Louis. First time trying natural wine for us… excellent! We stopped here at the end of our food tour and were invited to a tasting down in the basement, where the owner often convenes with friends, old and new, late into the evening for “research purposes”, as noted by the wall and ceiling artwork and graffiti below.
10 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004 Paris
Open every day til 10:30 am – 8 pm (Monday opens at 2 pm)
Sacha Fineklsztajn: Historic Jewish bakery and deli with a sunshine yellow storefront in the Marais that we visited on our food tour. We tried some yummy meat turnovers.
27 Rue des Rosiers, 75004 Paris, France
Closed Monday and Tuesday
Tavline: Cozy, trendy Israeli restaurant in the Marais. The staff could NOT have been nicer. I loved the appetizers. Mains ok, but would have been happy with just apps.
25 Rue du Roi de Sicile, 75004 Paris
closed Sunday and Monday
Le Mary Celeste: trendy restaurant known for it’s excellent oysters and seafood in the Marais. Interior looks like something you would find in the West Village, NYC.
1 Rue Commines, 75003 Paris
open every day til 2 am
Le Voltigeur: Cute corner bistro in the Marais perfect for lunch or brunch. Very nice wait staff. Good Croque Monsieur which you could probably split — comes with soup and salad, as well.
45 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75004 Paris
Open every day 8 am to 2 am.
Legay Choc Boulangerie: Easy to find… just look for the rainbow-colored bakery not too far from the Pompidou and Hotel de Ville. I’m sorry to say we did NOT sample the naughty looking baguettes here due to the long queue… regretful, especially because Valentine’s Day was a few days away! Here’s a link to a great article about the two brothers who opened the bakery.
45 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris
Le Troquet Temple: Corner cafe near our apartment near Hotel de Ville, across from the BVH department store. Nothing to go out of your way for, BUT if you happen to be in area and want a simple but good meal, this will easily suffice. We camped out here after arriving at 6:30 am and apartment not available til 10 am, enjoying our hot cafe au lait and warm croissants. I wish we had also tried the Croque Monsieur… it looked good.
9 Rue du Temple, 75004 Paris
5th, 6th, & 7th Arrondisements
Au Bon Coin: Not so well-known bistro in the Latin Quarter, if you want great food without listening to other English diners.
21 Rue de la Collégiale, 75005 Paris
open every day, lunch and dinner
Fish La Boissonnerie: Jamie hits this welcoming place in St. Germaine neighborhood (6th arr.) EVERY trip to Paris. Always excellent, and pleases even picky eaters. They have non-seafood items as well.
69 Rue de Seine, 75006 Paris
open every day for lunch and dinner
L’avant Comptoir de la Mer: Seafood tapas bar in St. Germaine neighborhood by Chef Yves Camdeborde. The wines and food are equally fantastic! We first discovered the chef when he was at La Regalade (another great find!) Now he runs a hotel with 2 popular restaurants and four wine bars with tapas style offerings.
Le Comptoir de la Mer
3, Carrefour de l’Odéon, 75006 Paris
Open every day, 12-11 pm
Poilâne: Another food tour stop, though the original is in St. Germaine area. I had heard about Poilane bread before but had never tried it. They are known for their round wheat loafs with a letter P baked into the top. High-end bread which needs to be tasted. Wish I had brought one home… They have several locations around the city.
8 Rue du Cherche-Midi, 75006 Paris
Cinq Mars: We have been here a couple times. Just a couple blocks from Musee d’Orsay. Cozy dining room with classic menu items, including a HUGE bowl of chocolate mousse for dessert.
51 Rue de Verneuil, 75007 Paris
open every day for lunch and dinner
La Fontaine de Mars: Charming classic bistro in the 7th arr. Very popular.
129 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris
open every day for lunch and dinner
Constant Cafe: Wonderful restaurant near the Eiffel Tower. We met Chef Constant on one trip — super nice and talented. He has other fancier restaurants. This one is simple and delicious.
139 Rue Saint-Dominique, 75007 Paris
Les Ombres: beautiful rooftop restaurant on top of the Museum Branly, with a full-on view of La Tour Eiffel! Expensive, but perhaps worth it for the excellent food, service, and amazing view.
27 Quai Branly, 75007 Paris
open every day, lunch and dinner
La Regelade: We first visited La Regelade in the 14th arrondisement when Chef Yves Camdeborde ran the kitchen. Now a second one is near Les Halles in the 1st. Modern dining room serving delicious seasonal classics.
106 Rue Saint-Honoré, 75001 Paris
open every day, lunch and dinner.
Angelina: One of Coco Chanel’s favorite spots; we sadly did not make it here this visit, but I hope you will! Perfect for breakfast, lunch, or an afternoon pit stop for their famous hot chocolate. Make a reservation in advance if possible.
226 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris
open every day
Jean Paul Hevin — Master chocolatier and macaron chef. Just get both specialties for yourself AND as gifts… to DIE for. There are a several boutiques located around Paris. Also located in Tokyo and Hong Kong.
Bar Hemingway: Always a favorite stop for a VERY expensive cocktail, justified because it includes a visit inside the Hotel Ritz and a DELICOUS drink crafted by master bartender Colin Field.
15 Place Vendôme, 75001 Paris, France
Open 6 pm – 2 am every day
10th & 11th Arrondisements
La Fontaine de Bellville: On my list to try. Adorable newish bistro with the prettiest shade of blue exterior in the 10th. Very popular.
31-33 Rue Juliette Dodu, 75010 Paris
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. (Closed Monday and Tuesdays)
Septime: One of the hottest tickets in town at the moment. We missed the window for reservations, so did not get there this visit. Hopefully you will have more luck! They also have a wine bar next door.
80 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris
closed Saturday and Sundays
* These are just a few recommendations for places I’ve come across… not a definitive guide for the whole city!
** Note… the Marais is a FANTASTIC shopping neighborhood! I didn’t realize it had become such a hot spot for new designers and unique boutiques. So, if you like shopping, definitely add this area to your itinerary. It’s a beautiful neighborhood as well with all it’s medieval mansions. Plus you can also check out the Pompidou or Picasso Museum as well, if you are so culturally inclined. All of my recommendations come from the Marais except for the first one.
Bijouterie La Rampe: I visit this teeny tiny antique jewelry shop in the St-Germain-des-Pres neighborhood every single visit. Many of the pieces are Art Deco which I love. Despite the shop’s petite size, I could spend an hour in here taking it all in… such beautiful items! This time I picked up a colorful peacock broach, but every piece I’ve acquired feels quite special… and what a treat to remember Paris each time I wear them! Hours not listed, but I know they are not open on Sunday, since Jamie always, sweetly, attempts to visit when exploring Paris the Sunday before the Air Show.
25 Rue St Andre des Arts 75006 Paris
+33 1 46 33 77 75
Vintage shops: Son and GF LOVE treasure-hunting at flea markets and vintage shops. As luck would have it, there were several vintage shops on our street on the Marais and nearby. Kilo, Freepstar, King of Frip, and others… the word “Frip” or “Freep” seems to be the word to look for. I will give you information below JUST for the shop Free’p’star, but you can check out the others on the block as well. Son and GF had MUCH fun exploring these, and ended up with some great finds.
61 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris
open every day 11 am – 8:30 pm except Sunday when it opens at 12 pm.
Fleux: There is a lovely boutique/department store called Fleux just around the street from our apartment in the Marais. Actually, it is spread across several spaces, even on opposite sides of the same street, if that makes sense. As if it were one department store but sometimes the need to exit and cross the street becomes necessary. Clothing, gifts, home goods… all beautifully curated. One can find some very unique items here. I found a double breasted wool overcoat in camel, with a gorgeous blue silk interior… and lucky me, 50% off because of the January/February sales going on city-wide!
39, 40, 43, & 52 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris
BHV: Department store in the Marais, otherwise known as Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville. Not beautiful like the Galleries Lafayette in the 9th arr. but still a great store shopping-wise especially during the sales. I ended up purchasing some cute dog accessories for our mini daschund here. Their pet shop is actually across the street from the block-long main store, at 42 Rue de la Verrerie, 75004 Paris. You will see two large orange statues of a cat and dog standing guard out front.
52 Rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris
Handbags: Though I secretly covet a Chanel boy bag, I just can’t justify the high pricetag. Longchamp is more my speed, both in terms of usability and cost. Luckily there are several talented Parisian designers making elegant and luxurious handbags at a fraction of price of Chanel, Hermes, or Dior. Polène, Elleme, Leo et Violette, and RSVP are some names that kept popping up when I was researching popular new brands. I ended purchasing a lovely chained crossbody bag in navy from Polène (Numero Un Mini) and a tri-colored (gray/navy/kelly green) clutch with removable shoulder strap from RSVP. Gorgeous leather and craftmanship on both… so happy with my choices. Polène, Elleme, and RSVP all have boutiques in the Marais, fyi.
Polène (note it is located on the same block as the above shop Fleux!)
48 Rue Sainte-Croix de la Bretonnerie, 75004 Paris
8 Rue Saint-Claude, 75003 Paris
19 Rue Ferdinand Duval, 75004 Paris
Leo et Violette
12 Rue Sainte-Anne, 75001 Paris
Jocelyne Aubree Jewelry: I came across this candy-colored shop while wandering through the Marais on our first afternoon. Delicate, colorful, and feminine pieces all made by the owner who was very friendly and happy to discuss her craft. I purchased a ring, under $50 which is quite reasonable in my opinion! Wish I had bought earrings and a necklace as well… guess I’ll just need to return! Also, there are SO many great little boutiques on this street. It took us about 40 minutes to go 2-3 blocks!
20 rue du Pont Louis-Philippe 75004 Paris
open every day
Bobart’ – Objets et Curiosités: delightful gift shop near the Pompidou. Unique gifts for the home, plus gorgeous jewelry and accessories, and all quite reasonable. I purchased a pair of striking, architectural black and gold earrings for around $40.
89 Rue Saint-Martin 88 et, 75004 Paris
open every day
Art Depot Paris: Wondering where you could purchase an Air France beverage cart to display in your home? Art Depot is the perfect place to start. Unfortunately for us, it was not open the couple times we tried to visit — poor Jamie… the ONE place he would have enjoyed browsing! Besides airline memorabilia and objects, there are other antiquities including transportation and Art Deco items.
3 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004
not sure about hours as it was supposed to be open when we visited… perhaps call or email beforehand.
I’m sure you know what sights and museums you want to see already. Or… it is easy to figure it out. I will say that advance reservations helped save us valuable time at the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, and Musee D’Orsay, so whatever you can do reserve beforehand, do it! Also… we had booked the Eiffel Tower for Sunday, but the day beforehand I saw that the winds were going to be bad enough to delay flights in Europe so I purchased more tickets for that day, Saturday. I’ve been to the tower before, but I didn’t want my son and his GF to miss out if the tower decided to shut down on Sunday. And guess what… it did indeed close on Sunday due to the winds and weather! Our tickets were refunded without having to do a thing. And even if it had not closed, I think it was worth the insurance risk.
And speaking of weather… of course it started raining right before our time at the tower after being beautiful all day. But once we up there, the sun came out and we were blessed with a full double rainbow followed by a gorgeous sunset. We really could NOT have asked for a better experience. Below is a slideshow from our experiences at the Eiffel Tower, museums, and walks around Paris on a long February weekend. Au revoir, beau Paris!