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Solo in Paris Christmas

Old May 10th, 2013, 01:13 AM
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Solo in Paris Christmas


This year I will celebrate a siginificant b'day towards the end of the year and my work closes down over Christmas.

So I started thinking of a short holiday over Christmas. And Paris being my favourite city, I thought why not? Paris over Christmas will be beautiful!

Are there any specific tips or advice or suggestions for solo in Paris over the Christmas holiday? I was thinking of staying 7 days and have short listed accommodation in the St Germain area.

Coming from Australia, I will probably be jet lagged the first day. Any suggestions on what to do on that day?

I may have to buy a really warm coat the first day there, any suggestions of where I should head to buy warm clothes of good quality but reasonably priced?

Is everything closed on Christmas Day? Suggestions for things to do for the day?

I have been to Paris before but being winter, I thought revisiting some museums, Orsay and Louvre will nice.

I would also like to go to Versailles. Is this practicle in winter?

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Old May 10th, 2013, 02:40 AM
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You will need a super-warm coat and clothes from the moment you step off the plane in Paris. December can be freezing. Truly freezing. You will also probably want boots. You can't risk being stuck outside waiting for a taxi or a landlord to arrive if you aren't appropriately dressed, especially after a long flight. If nothing else, go to a vintage store and buy something cheap that you can throw away in favor of something more stylish in Paris. Expect to pay a high price in Paris before Christmas at the beginning of the winter season for a winter coat just about anywhere in the city.

If you enjoy music, Christmas is usually filled with opportunities for all sorts of evening concerts. You might find some on Christmas eve and Christmas day when other things are closed.

The covered passages of Paris can be nice places to explore if everything outside is chilly rain or worse, making it tough to walk around.

No reason not to go to Versailles if it isn't a blizzard, but don't expect too much from the flower gardens at that time of year.

Day light hours will be so short at that time of year, you may feel jet lagged for more than one day. I would seek out bright lights and bustle. Your first day you might enjoy visiting a huge (and warm) Parisian department store, where you can also find a cafe to stoke up on coffee and pastries and people watch. Just be careful in your groggy state that you are minding your purse. Leave your valuables at the apartment. But you probably won't be able to resist turning in early once the sun goes down.

Some places that might be keeping very un-Christmas hours are the hammams (bath house spas) of Paris. In general, it could be a really fun winter treat for that week

You might find that ethnic restaurants and ethnic venues are your best bets for being open on the Christmas days themselves.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 03:14 AM
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Thank you! These are great tips and ideas. I will buy a coat this winter here in Australia, but it may not be warm enough so might have to get something while in Paris. Will definitely buy a comfy pair of boots. I don't think my stilettos will cut it
Have started looking for some lesser known museums. One that is on my to do list is Musée Jacquemart-André.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 04:45 AM
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Try Kathmandu for thermals as well as a warm coat. It sounds like a lovely idea. If you'd like a apartment recommendation. we stayed at
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Old May 10th, 2013, 06:16 AM
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I second the idea of thermals or long silk under garments, which can be kept for pajamas for a rare Australian cold snap. Thermals worn under even ordinary clothes can keep you very comfortably warm as you walk around, and your legs don't get so tired sightseeing if they are not chilly. Useful too is to have a fleecy turtleneck -- not necessarily a whole sweater, but just the neck part, which is easily removed inside a museum if it is heated but very toasty once you are back outdoors.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 07:05 AM
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Cathies - I will visit Kathmnadu next week and check out the thermals. That apartment is beautiful!

Stevewith - I have a few light weight merino wool tops that I will use for layering.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 08:40 AM
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Layers, layers, layers...the thinner the better. You might look fir a coat fromThe North Face...they make some really warm coats that are bulky. Not cheap but are great for travel.

A great, warm scarf is a must and I recommend those air activated hand and foot warmers they sell at outdoor/camping stores to take with you. Of course, the chocoalt chaud or vin chaud at a cafe chases the chill.

For the first day, check out a local Christmas marker for the energy and the food! Although chilly, take advantage of the early sunset and take a Seine cruise and see the monuments lit up.

Paris is wonderful at Christmas. Things really start to shut down in the afternoon on Christmas Eve amd start opening back up late Christmas Day (in the afternoon). You will be able to find things that are open and the ethnic/non-Christian neighborhoods will have things that are open. The Metro does run.

The windows in the shops (especially chocolate shops) are incredible. The big department stores near Opera Garnier have incredible window displays.....go later at night or early in the morning to see without the big crowds.

We hope to return over Christmas for a vacation this year....will have to decide closer to time. We were there a few years ago over Christmas and we loved it!
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Old May 10th, 2013, 08:48 AM
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Is everything closed on Christmas Day? Suggestions for things to do for the day?>

that was my question a few years ago when I landed in Paris Christmas Day morning - would I even be able to buy any wine? But lo and behold Paris was humming on Christmas Day and many things were open just like on any Sunday - cafes were packed - zillions of folks strolling around - French folks celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, traditinally after midnight when folks (used to) come back from midnight mass (so my French in-laws tell me anyway) so on Christmas Day it is low key - folks go out for walks, etc.

Check out the various Christmas Markets - the one at La Defense is one of the best and be sure to ogle the store windows of Au Printemps and Galleries Lafayette - adjoining each other as they have special decorations telling fairy tale stores - animated with moving figures, etc - hugely popular with Parisians - and you may want to go to a mass in Notre-Dame even if not religious.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 09:13 AM
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So jealous. We went for Christmas a few years ago and I would love to do it again. La Defense has the best Christmas Market in my opinion. We found as Denise said that things start to close Christmas Eve and reopen later Christmas Day. Have a wonderful time Paris is magical at Christmas.

Denise hope you get to go. We will be there in February.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 09:16 AM
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Heck I was shocked to find that even some museums were open on Sunday (Natural History by Austerlitz station was one!)
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Old May 10th, 2013, 12:44 PM
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If you type Paris Christmas into the search box at the upper right of this page you will find posts that addressed this topic last (northern) fall.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 01:24 PM
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Paris does not at all close down like London. Shops, museums and markets are often open, and public transportation operates on just a slightly reduced holiday schedule.

On Christmas eve itself, the commerces will close earlier than usual -- generally by 7pm, which is quite easy to live with. If you are in an apartment, no problem -- you should have bought all of your goodies already -- if you are in a hotel, you will find that Paris will not let you starve to death, even if quite a few places will be closed. And of course don't forget that a lot of ethnic restaurants (Chinese, Indian, Turkish, Moroccan, Vietnamese, etc.) do not care about Christmas at all and will be happy to serve you.

On Christmas day, the street markets and any market street will be open as usual since eating is so important for the holidays.

As for the weather, it has been pretty chilly for the last three years, but many other years it has been freakishly warm, so just pay attention to the forecasts before you make your trip.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 03:07 PM
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Thank you all so much! I have an amazing list coming together - museums, Christmas concerts, Christmas markets, hamman, a make up lesson. Plus of course the cafes where i can just enjoy Paris with vin chaud!
Denise it was your trip report that inspired me to decide Paris over Christmas sounds good.
I getting so excited!
Now the the search starts for a cheap (relatively) airfare. Was told that the Christmas discount fares won't be out till after June.
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Old May 10th, 2013, 05:17 PM
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That's so cool Ozgirl.....we really had the best time. We are hoping tfind a way to work it out. You're just going to have a great time and I love that you haven!t wasted time worryin abour tavelling solo. Can't wait to hear all about and if we go, we'll post and let you know we will be there!
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Old May 12th, 2013, 12:59 AM
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Denise - Good luck with your plans. It'll be great if our plans work out to have a fodors catch up in Paris!!
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Old May 28th, 2013, 08:08 PM
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It's made today! We arrive Dec 20 and leave Dec 28th! Can't get here fast enough!
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Old May 29th, 2013, 11:35 PM
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Hi Ozgirl - see we are from the same city!

I have noticed that a few shops are now selling down filled coats here - and given the warmth today - they are already being discounted.

Saw a few in Esprit, Witchery and Zara - these are the less costly ones.

Kathmandu used to have proper down filled coats but could not see any on their online catalogue.

I always have a couple of Icebreaker tops - plain and long sleeved - they are so comfortable, easy to pack and good to layer.
Remember a good scarf works wonders.

Shoe and boot sales are starting as well - Lana Lang has ones with good thick soles as does Raymond Poulton - but wait for sale prices.

Sounds like a wonderful way to spend Christmas - enjoy.
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Old Jul 9th, 2013, 04:33 AM
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Thought I'd pass on a quick update. Finally the flights are booked! Ended up booking with FF points on Singapore Airlines from Adelaide to Zurich reaching on 16 Dec. Will have to book a flight from Zurich to Paris. At this stage plan to spend the day in Zurich and would like to see the indoor Christmas market in the train station.
Then back home on the 24 Dec out of Paris via Singapore to Adelaide.

Clothes updatebr /> - down jacket from Espirit
- leather boots Effigie
- still to buy a couple of silk thermal topsI have my eye on.
- and some merino wool tights

Am very excited!
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Old Jul 9th, 2013, 06:44 PM
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Should be a wonderful trip, Ozgirl.

Christmastime does hum there, with travelers from all over and lots to do.

We had a wonderful time there last Christmas, and lucked out on the weather: I did just fine with my tweed blazer, cashmere sweaters, skirts, and boots. An umbrella came in handy. I bought a thin cashmere scarf at the Richard Lenoir market one morning, because I'd forgotten mine at home, and that came in handy.

Christmas Day we sat outside at a cafe in the Latin Quarter, and late that evening had a drink outdoors at the neighborhood cafe. It felt fine walking alone to Notre Dame from the Marais, checking out the scene for midnight mass.
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Old Jul 11th, 2013, 06:16 PM
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Sounds great - it will be a good way to spend Christmas.

By the way I just purchased two very lightweight and very warm tops/ cardigans from Country Road sale in Rundle Mall.
One is pure merino and the other merino and silk.
The sale prices are further discounted so excellent value and these comfortably go over my icebreaker tops which means I can remove a layer in central heating.
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