Paris, even in winter, cannot be dismissed. Something about the streetlights reflected on rainy avenues, something about sipping a latte while warming up in a corner bistro, something about the bareness of winter playing against the fallen leaves in the Bois de Boulogne.
But best to take Paris from those who know and a recent online survey of Paris according to insiders revealed just what to do in Paris, be it winter or any other season, and what is simply not to be missed.
“Some of the results were pretty clear, said Diane Shaskin, founder of Paris Insiders Guide, which conducted this survey within a larger tour called “Parisopoly,” that had some 1,000 tour-takers answering questions along the way. “Champs-Elysées was definitely the most overrated Paris attraction in 2012. But there were a surprising number of ties and near-ties, and a lot of places that definitely merit an honorary mention.”
The Catacombs and the Marmatton-Monet Museum were the most underrated Paris attractions in 2012.
The survey also revealed:
Most Romantic Spot: Pont des Arts, the pedestrian bridge at the Louvre.
Favorite Museum: Musée d’Orsay, home of the Impressionist painters.
Top 3 Must-See Attractions: The Louvre Art Museum, Luxembourg Gardens and the Eiffel Tower.
Favorite Bridge to Cross: The gilded Pont Alexandre III.
Favorite French Food: Cheese, of course
Not-to-Miss Restaurants: Jules Verne, located on the Eiffel Tower, and Frenchie, in the 2nd Arrondissement featuring Chef Gregory Marchand.
“Some of the answers surprised us,” says Shaskin, “but I have to agree with Paris Insiders Guide readers – Alain Ducasse’s Jules Verne Restaurant continues to impress and Frenchie is a wonder of the culinary world! And, given readers’ responses, the Louvre, Luxembourg Gardens and the Eiffel Tower will continue to reign as best of Paris among travelers.”
Meanwhile, Luxe in a City, a website offering a curated content guide to Paris, offered these top ten not to be missed musts for visiting when traveling to the City of Lights this season.
- Winter Shopping at Colette: Colette, a retailer ofluxury brands, is a shopper’s delight any time of the year. However, during mid-January, they hold their famous annual sale. It’s the perfect time to pick up the most fashionable clothing, sportswear, art, music and home décor. Most stores in Paris half sales during this time as well.
- Festival of St. Valentine: It’s no surprise that one of the most romantic cities in the world celebrates this day in a big way. Throughout the city, the many digitize message boards are full of sentiments of love from people all around the world.
- Paris Fashion Week: In early March, Paris holds one of the most notable fashion events: Fashion Week. Thousands of designers and luxury enthusiastsflock to the city to participate in the final leg of the world-wide event at the Carrousel du Lourve.
- Chinese New Year: The Quartier Chinois is bustling as it celebrates the Chinese New Year. Paris has a thriving French-Chinese community and every year thousands of Parisians and tourists join them to celebrate. There are special theatrical and musical performances, film festivals and a large street parade.
- Ice Skating: At the railroad station at Montparnasse, down the street from the famous cafes, is a large ice skating rink. Starting in December, visitors to Paris can enjoy free ice skating with the locals during the winter months.
- Walk through the Champs Elysees: Stroll through the Champs Elysees from November through the end of January. It’s a real showcase as to why Paris is known as the city of lights. The famous boulevard is decked in lights that have been strung along the trees lining the street
- Great Wines Fair: Wine lovers are in for a treat each December. Each year, Paris holds the Great Wines Fair. Over 20,000 wine enthusiasts gather at the Carrousel du Louvre each year to taste the world’s finest wines.
- Eat:Paris has thousands of restaurants. Winter is a perfect time to cozy up in one and enjoy fine French food. Notable restaurants include Le Meurice at the Hotel Meurice right in the heart of the city; Huitrerie Regis in Saint Germain des Pres; and Les Tablettes in the 16th arrondissement.