Winter in Paris, Part I

I love traveling off season. Although I miss the glorious weather, I don’t miss the crowds, or the price gouging. January and February are fantastic months to visit the City of Light. Airfare is ridiculously low, and the city handles snow well. I’ve been to France several times, and I’ve already made the requisite stops at the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, etc. Still, this was my first winter trip, and there were plenty of new things to see and do. First stop: free iceskating at l’Hotel de Ville.

ice skate hotel de ville

This was fun! I brought my skates with me, so it didn’t cost a dime. The rink was open until 10pm on the weekend, so it was a great late night activity. I brought my skates with me, so it didn’t cost a dime. I went on my first day, and it was nice to do something active after my flight. Of course, you can’t go ice skating without hot chocolate. Where to get some? Angelina Cafe, of course.

chocolat l'africain angelina

Ooh la la. This stuff was so rich, I couldn’t finish it. And that’s saying a lot. To clear my head, there was always shopping!

paris shopping

The month of January is a national sale period for the whole country, with items up to 70% off. It’s sort of a silly system. Stores have to hold on to their old inventory until January or July, when it would be so much easier just to periodically turn it over. Still, I was happy to pick up a few things that were adorable, and more important, affordable. Of course, I worked in a few museum visits. First stop was the Musée des Arts et Métiers. 

Robot exhibit musee arts métiers This place was huge! It’s kind of like a communications/technology museum, and it had a special exhibit on robots that I really enjoyed (being as Isaac Asimov fan). If technology isn’t your thing, you might check out the Musée de la Chasse de la Nature.

musee de la chasse et de la natureThis place is somewhat oddly curated, with a mixture of modern art and taxidermied animals. I like weird things, so I spent some quality time here. A whole load of snow was dumped on the city Sunday night, which was not as much fun as it sounds.

Paris snowHow to cope? When in Paris, do as the Parisians do: go to the movies! I speak and understand middling French, so I was able to follow the gist of what was going on, even if I didn’t catch every word of dialogue. I found the cutest show – Populaire. 

Populaire filmIt was Mad Men meets Bye Bye Birdie. Adorable. Light. Just what I needed before a disaster of a day heading home when I schleped all over Europe trying to avoid a major storm on the way back to NYC. Okay, it’s true there is a downside to off season travel. Crappy weather can throw a wrench into things.

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