Winter is definitely not the most popular time to visit Paris and weather is, no doubt, much nicer in the summer. However a big city as Paris is, always offers plenty of activities – also indoors. Visiting Paris during low season definitely has it´s good sides: plane- and train tickets to go there are cheaper. hotel and Airbnb prices are lower and you have more space for ourself in the city. Winter might be just about perfect time to experience Paris like locals do.
Ice skating rinks
During winter many ice skating rinks open up around Paris. With about 5 € you can rent yourself a pair of skates and slide around among winter-loving Parisians. It doesn’t get much more romantic that that!
Paris has several ice skating locations. Some of them are open around christmas and new year, closing soon after. Other are open longer through the winter. We picked up some of the most interesting of them:
The Eiffel Tower Rink: This skate rink is actually in the Eiffel Tower, on the first level, about 60 meters from the ground. You can skate while enjoying a birds-eye-view to the city. It´s open until February 19th 2017.
See more here: http://www.toureiffel.paris/fr/actualites/a-la-une/375-patinoire-au-1er-etage-de-la-tour-eiffel-a-partir-du-15-decembre-.html
Trocadero on Ice: Located near the Eiffel Tower, in Jardins Du Trocadero, Trocadero christmas market brings an skating rink to the public 7th year in a row now. And it´s free!
Hotel de Ville (the City Hall) ice skating rink is probably the most well-known ice skating tradition in Paris. Open typically from December to late February or early March, the rink provides inexpensive ice fun: entry is free and you can rent a pair of skates for 5 €. Remember to bring gloves, they´re mandatory!
Us living in, if I may say, more capitalist countries might consider sales and discounts to be more like a regular marketing tool for retailers, that´s not the case in France. There it´s actually the government that decides. And only 2 sales periods are allowed nationwide. The first being winter sales in January and February and summer sales in June and July. So if you´re planning to travel to Paris in winter, you might be lucky to catch the year´s first nation-wide sales period.
In 2017 winter sales start on January 11 and last until February 21.
Paris has many shopping districts where certain types of vendors are gathered. It might be a good idea to plan what you´re going after exactly (like high-end fashion, electronics, hipster fashion) and choose your destinations accordingly. You can also raid the traditional department stores too. Here are few picks you might want to consider:
The department stores: Galleries Lafayette, Printemps, Len Bon Marché
The Champs Elyses: High end fashion, luxury items
Le Marais district: Small boutiques, trendy, decoration items
Les Halles: A big mall built where Paris´ largest market used to be. Here you can find anything from streetwear to souvenirs and electronics.
Big farmers´ market fair
If you´re visiting Paris between February 25th to March 5th and want to try what France really tastes like, you´re lucky! You are in town just in time to visit the Salon International de l´Agriculture. It´s basically a huge farmers´ market located in the Paris Expo Porte de Versailles center. Here you can find all kinds of original products from French countryside – and bring your kids too, there will be a lot of activities for them. And cute animals!
Warm yourself in an traditional Arab bathhouse
Due to French colonialism in Northern Africa, France has a substantial population of Arab descendants who have brought Hamam, a traditional steam bath, to French culture. Paris has many of these Hamams, where you can take a time-out from chilly winter weather and relax breathing in the warm steam, warming up your body inside-out.
Here are some of the most well known hamams in Paris:
Mosqueé De Paris, The Paris main mosque: Probably the best known hammam in Paris. It´s open for both women and men, but different times. Reasonable prices and you can stay as long as you want. Features a very pleasant, spacious tea room..
Medina Center Hammam: The Medina Center is often considered to have a really good price-quality -ratio. With entrance fee of less than 40 € you´ll get access to steambath, sauna, swimming pool exfoliating treatment, tea and middle-eastern pastries. Place is clean and spacious, you´re allowed to stay there for hours and service is very warm and polit.
Hammam Pacha – only for ladies: This one is for all the ladies. Hammam Pacha with it´s 2 locations serves only women, being a perfect place for a day trip to a “day spa”. Hammam Pacha is more expensive than Medina Center, but also more luxurious.