Tripping over rustic cobbled streets is a prime example of how my typical British awkwardness doesn’t quite compete with the class of Parisians. But they sure know how to do Christmas.
Outside the Pantheon is something like a shrine to the festive season: a small forest of Christmas trees draped with red, gold and silver ribbons and bows. On a sunny day with no clouds in the sky, the Christmas trees seemed out of place. It wasn’t the white Christmas scene you always dreamed of, but it wasn’t the gloomy rain and grey sky the northern hemisphere is accustomed to either.
The Christmas lights lining the Champs-Élysées huts resemble suburbia – house after house in competition with its neighbour attempting to be the most dazzling and full of festive of spirit.
Fake snow, glowing statues of snowmen and reindeer, and a skiing Santa Claus overlook an Arctic scene with penguins and polar bears dominating both sides of the street.
There are huge bowls of tartiflette, huts dedicated entirely to giant jars of Nutella (still as exciting a prospect as 10 years ago) and mulled wine. After spending a whole day outside in the cold, a hot alcohol is a priority.
The Christmas market around the Sacré Cœur is not as impressive as the one on the Champs-Élysées. The latter included an ice rink between huts, made up of narrow, interconnected pathways, full of happy but disorientated and bruised families. That’s hard to beat!
Paris is incredibly festive at Christmas, but wrap up warm – the mulled wine at the markets won’t always do the trick. Try macarons, eat tartiflette and smother your crêpe with as much Nutella as possible.