How To Forget The Winter Blues In Paris

Photo of Marjolaine Cantus
2 December 2016

Winter has finally arrived in Paris. Some days are crisp and sunny, others damp and grey. Either way, it is cold, but that is no reason to stay idle. To help you find your way across the French capital in this season, we have compiled a few ideas for you to keep your body warm and your mood high.

Streets of the Marais | © Sam Nabi/Flickr

Walk: The Avenues and Boulevards

Walking around the city’s large avenues and boulevards can be reinvigorating! If you are equipped with the right winter accessories, any excuse to stay out of the busy metro is a good excuse. As Keziah Jones put it in his song about two lovers engaging in romance in Paris, ‘leave the cafes and the bars’ and ‘walk the wintry boulevards.’ You can trust the Nigerian bluesman to know what he is talking about: he was living in the French capital when he was discovered busking in the Paris metro.

Sunset, Eiffel Tower | © Cristian Menghi/Flickr

Watch: The Sunset from the Eiffel Tower

On a clear, crisp winter day, the sunset colors in the Parisian sky are truly stunning. The best way to get the full pink sky experience is to rise above the building rooftops. Why the Eiffel tower in particular? Not just because this is the most iconic landmark, but also because experiencing the sparkling lights from within the tower at nightfall brings a little extra magic. Besides, walking up the stairs to the first and second floors will definitely warm you up. Alternative options include the top of the Montparnasse tower (indoor location!) and the Sacré-Coeur (more steps to climb!). For a full experience, be sure to have the right soundtrack on your headphones!

Salsa Brazil | © Vincent Jarousseau/Flickr

Dance: To Tropical Music

Mix Paris magic with exotic sounds for a night out that will definitely warm you up! Paris boasts countless international music venues, and many of them, including La Bellevilloise and more recently Centre Musical FGO Barbara organize world music concerts and clubbing. If you are more into Latin music, then Tropical Discoteq is what you are looking for: cumbia, calypso, reggae, funk, and more. The Pavillon du Lac in Parc des Buttes Chaumont hosts a Tropical Discoteq every Tuesday – a riotous mid-week occasion to warm yourself up by hitting the dance floor!

Cheese for fondue | Courtesy of Refuge des Fondus

Eat: Your Heart Out

Restaurant, French
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French Fried Comedy Stand-Up
French Fried Comedy Stand-Up | Courtesy of Robert Hoehn
If you have followed our advice, you have walked all day, taken the stairs up the Eiffel tower and danced all night to tropical music. You may now slow it down and indulge in a feast of calories to compensate all that effort. Winter food in France can be absolutely decadent: fondue, raclette, tartiflette… these Alpine specialties all include bread or potatoes drowned in gooey, melted cheese. Head to Le Refuge des Fondus in Montmartre, a small but super friendly restaurant that specializes in fondue, ideal for groups of friends. The kitsch atmosphere and wine served in baby bottles will have you squealing with delight.

Laugh: At an English-Speaking Comedy Show

Every night, all year round, Paris hosts countless comedies and stand up shows in small theatres across the city. But vaudeville plays can be confusing when French is not your native language. Do not worry, we can help you put a smile on that winter-bluesy face! Every Tuesday and Friday, Paname Comedy Club hosts English-speaking stand up by French Fried Comedy. On stage, English-speaking expats give a hilarious look at cultural differences and strange habits they have to put up with in their daily life in Paris. You can also check out New York Comedy Night every Friday at Theatre Gymnase Marie Bell.

Grande Mosquée de Paris | © afterzen/Flickr

Relax: At the Turkish Baths

Mosque, Spa
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The Paris Mosque gardens
The Paris Mosque gardens | © JOHN KELLERMAN / Alamy Stock Photo
The average temperature outside is about 0°C, you are layering up, yet the cold keeps creeping up under your clothes. What if the solution was to ditch the layers completely? The Mosque of Paris boasts a large hammam with massages, body scrub, and waxing services. Besides being an authentic Middle Eastern experience – complete with mint tea and honey pastries at the adjoining café – it is also the cheapest option in the capital. Men and women are not allowed on the same days, so be sure to prepare your visit in advance. If you are not that much into steam, and for a completely different experience, check out Le Spa dans le Noir, where all wellness and beauty services are provided in the dark. Ideal for a couple.

Shop: Paris’ Hidden Covered Passages

Visiting the covered passages is like taking a trip back to the gilded turn of the century. With charming boutiques, cafés and terraces, art galleries and curiosities, walking the covered passages is just like walking the streets of Paris, with the extra perk of letting large stained-glass ceilings shelter you from the cold or the rain.

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