Local know-how: 4 tips for getting to know Paris this winter

A little local knowledge goes a long way when you’re discovering a new city – which is where Emily comes in. Emily is one of our Meet & Greeters in Paris – when she’s not welcoming onefinestay guests to stay in our marvelous homes, she’s exploring her adopted city (she’s originally from the US). Take a look at her tips for getting to know the City of Lights this winter.


Visiting the grand churches of Paris is one thing, but experiencing them filled with candles and music is unforgettable. Notre Dame,Sainte-Chapelle and the Oratoire du Louvre have some of the most popular, while others in smaller churches can be found around the city.

The largest ice skating rink in France can be found at the Grand Palais, where music and light shows create a fabulous holiday atmosphere. Bring the kids during the day or skate along with your loved one at night, one hand in theirs and a cup of vin chaud in the other.


If you’ve already been to Angelina or just prefer to have your hot chocolate on a lovely terrace while people-watching, Carette in the 4th or 16th arrondissements is the place to go. Pair your hot drink with some classic pastries, or indulge in the cafe’s famously delicious macarons.

For a cozy cocktail spot, curl up in front of the fire at Gentleman 1919, a speakeasy hidden behind a barbershop in the 8th arrondissement. A nod to the gentlemen’s clubs of the era, as well as the year when Prohibition began in the United States, the bar boasts an impressive whiskey selection and a roaring fireplace, perfect for warming up from the inside out on a chilly December night.


Looking for the perfect holiday evening out – perhaps with a view? Les Ombres, the restaurant at Musee du Quai Branly, has you covered. Their Christmas menu features a decadent multi-course dinner with champagne (of course), as does their New Years menu, where you’ll ring in the new year with a glass of bubbly in front of a sparkling Eiffel Tower. Both dinners are reservation-only, so contact our fabulous Paris guest services team for help in securing your spot.

If you prefer a more intimate atmosphere, Le Coupe-Chou in the 5th arrondissement is open on December 25th, where you can sink into a comfy chair in front of the fireplace and enjoy classic French dishes in one of Paris’ oldest neighborhoods.


If you’re looking some unique gifts, check out one of the city’s many concept stores. Stocking many smaller, artisanal brands, you’ll find clothes, jewelry and home goods as well as funny trinkets and stocking stuffers. A few worth checking out are Les EmpreintesFleux, and Ines de la Fressange’s namesake store.

Looking for some shopping guidance from a local? Book a bag-decorating workshop or personal shopping tour with designer Kasia Dietz here, and come home with a one-of-a-kind gift for someone you love – or for yourself!

Get to know Paris for yourself. Stay in one of our lovely Paris homes.

Photo credit: Emily Jackson