10 beautiful places in Paris that look like a typical Christmas movie
10 beautiful places in Paris that look like a typical Christmas movie
beautiful places in Paris : Paris is beautiful, it is impressive, it is exceptional and it is superlative. It has mentioned many things, but picturesque is usually not one of them. But when I first started looking for places in the city that felt a bit like a Hallmark Christmas movie could be filmed here, Paris even amazed me by the number of places that make you completely forget you’re in a glamorous capital and that feel village, charming, cozy and so Christmasy.
So forget the bright red lights on the Champs Elysées and the huge Christmas tree at Galleries Lafayette (or just take a quick look while you’re here) and follow me to some quaint little places, exuding Christmas spirit, just like a Hallmark movie.
The most obvious location is Montmartre, which is not only a village within the city but also bursting with Hallmark charm. The many steps leading up to the hilly quarter, the small squares, the cobbled streets and the many charming restaurants, all below the imposing and gleaming white Sacre Coeur church, make this neighborhood look like a movie set. And often it has been, just think Amelie (2001), showing that Paris couldn’t be stranger if it tried.
There are twinkling lights everywhere, cafe terraces have their heating on, or provide blankets so that you can enjoy a mulled wine or hot chocolate in hand, and you’ll notice that, except for the visitors, everyone seems to know each other. Just like in a real village, making it one of the friendliest neighborhoods in Paris.
Pro tip: Checking out The timetable of the Sacre Coeur to enjoy a Christmas concert or sermon at church.
One of my favorite neighborhoods, especially in winter, is Saint-Germain-des-Prés, with its many beautiful cafe terraces, Christmas market stalls nestled next to the beautiful church, the lovely Christmas lights and the many individual, small boutiques along the main drag drag to the sides from Boulevard St-Germain, which all have decorated shop windows and nice gifts to buy. Pop into the old Ladurée shop for some macaron treats and a hot chocolate, then meander to the cute square Rue de Furstenberg, then continue along Rue Saint André-des-Arts and the small cobbled street of Cour du Commerce Saint Andre.
Pro tip: Don’t miss the covered one St-Germain-des-Pres market which has many stalls where you can enjoy a platter of something tasty, accompanied by a glass of wine.
3. The Latin Quarter
Another village in the city is the old Latin Quarter which dates back to Roman times, complete with a Roman amphitheatre. It’s a neighborhood full of students, with the Sorbonne at the heart of it, with pretty market streets, like Rue Mouffetard, and it’s where Netflix’s Emily in Paris lived, at the Place de l’Estrapade. Tiny restaurants, cobbled streets, and tasty history all around make for a lovely place to linger and imagine yourself in a Hallmark Christmas movie. Walk along the decorated Pantheon area, stroll the old Rue de la Montagne Ste Geneviève and sit on the steps where Midnight in Paris (2011) was filmed. Walk to Place de la Contrascarpe and warm up with a mulled wine.
Pro tip: For a charming eatery in the Latin Quarter, head to Le Polidor which comes with tiled floors and red-checked napkins, and serves simple, traditional meals with a modern twist.
4. The Butte Aux Cailles
Unlike Montmartre, La Butte aux Cailles is another distinct hillside neighborhood that feels like it’s not part of Paris at all. The hilly neighborhood is named after Pierre Caille, but literally means Quail Hill. It is known for its many murals and street art, its historic Art Deco pools and its village charm. Lots of small, family-run restaurants and boutiques complete Hallmark’s charm, and when you add twinkling lights it gets even weirder. Next to the pool is the small square Place Paul Verlaine, which hosts a market of sorts most days of the week and creates a Christmas atmosphere in December.
Pro tip: Look out for the gold plaques on the ground, which mark the course of the underground River Bievre, which was once a major river in Paris.
5. Ile de Saint-Louis
The island of St. Louis, the second of the two large islands in the Seine in central Paris, offers a charming backdrop any time of the year: small streets, impressive yet quaint residences, cute individual shops and pretty cafe terraces overlooking the Notre Dame across the river, and which are inviting in both winter and summer. Those terraces are decorated with green Christmas decorations, beautiful lights and window decorations and are incredibly charming.
Pro tip: Despite it being winter, you just have to try the famous Berthillon ice cream that comes to this urban island. To make it more appropriate for the season, just pick a Christmas flavor, such as cinnamon.
6. Place Dauphine
Hopping to the next island, the Ile de la Cite, the one with Notre Dame on it, and you’ll find what is probably my favorite square in Paris: Place Dauphine. It is one of the most picturesque squares, albeit more of a triangle, and in the summer filled with locals playing pétanque or molkky, a game of numbered wooden stumps, in the shade, while in the winter with the trees without leaves, the square radiates true beauty and reveals the architecture. Lined with small restaurants, some better than others, this is a place to linger and soak up the atmosphere.
Pro tip: On the same island you will find beautiful La Chapelle, with its beautiful stained glass windows and a wonderful setting for a Christmas concert.
7. Vivienne Gallery
Flanked by the pretty Place des Victoires and the beautiful Palais-Royal Garden, Vivienne Gallery is probably my favorite Christmas spot in Paris. Twinkling lights and decorations are everywhere, and the already beautiful 1823 covered shopping arcade is at its best during the Christmas season. Utterly photogenic, totally romantic, beautiful and inviting, if you can’t see a happy ending happening here then I don’t know where to go. The small boutiques, the old bookshop, the beautiful floor tiles and the cozy restaurants invite you to linger, and if it’s chilly and wintery outside, why not?
Pro tip: While there, leave the traditional French brasseries behind for once and have lunch at the Italian restaurant Daroco, at the end of the arcade. The two story high dining room is simply stunning, as is the Pizza al Tartufo. Believe me.
8. Avenue Montaigne
Forget the Champs-Elysées and walk down Avenue Montaigne instead. Stretching from the Champs-Elysées to the Pont de l’Alma, this street has, in my opinion, the most beautiful Christmas lights in the entire city, serving romance as only Paris can. Add to that luxury boutiques from Chanel to Dior, and Balenciaga to Prada with its ornate windows, and the pretty little Theater des Champs Elysées, and you’ve got a lovely, warm Christmas feeling coming down the street. But best of all, a perfect movie setting if you’ve ever seen one, is the Plaza Athénée Hotel. Every window and balcony is decorated, the entrance is flanked by twinkling Christmas trees and the whole building sparkles. Inside, the magic continues, in the courtyard and lobby, and even if your budget might not allow you to stay at the hotel, pop in for a hot chocolate for a lavish Christmas cheer.
Pro tip: If you like spotting celebrities, check it out Restaurant l’Avenue, between the Chanel boutique and the hotel: pop stars and models are popular here. Instead, have lunch at the cafe in the Petit Palais, just a few hundred yards away.
Passy is one of my favorite residential areas in Paris, and one that hardly ever a tourist visits. A real village, with the added bonus of having the Eiffel Tower looking at you from almost every angle, the beautiful Haussmann buildings and the proximity to the Seine, along with a few bustling markets and many cafes, all decorated for Christmas, make this a secret Hallmark movie set worth seeking out.
Pro tip: Walk down Rue L’Annonciation, a pedestrianized market street and go straight to number 29, where you will find the small Pâtisserie Aux Merveilleux de Fred. They sell small, sweet clouds of meringue, unsurprisingly called Les Merveilleux, “the miraculous”. These are so delicious you’ll be going back for more.
10. The Marais
Last, but certainly not least, is the Marais. This old Jewish quarter is surprisingly Christmassy, and so friendly and cosy, I’m seriously surprised that no Hallmark Christmas movie characters have been spotted here. Especially the little square at the Rue des Hospitaliers Saint Genevieve, at the Rue des Rosiers, with the two cute restaurants at Marianne and the Voltigeur, famous for its giant teddy bears, is so charming it (almost) hurts. 10 beautiful places in Paris
Pro tip: In an area full of great restaurants, sometimes it only takes one thing to make you stand out and that’s the traditional onion soup served in Bar of the White Coat Market. Perfect for warming up after a Christmas winter walk.
Paris is beautiful any time of the year, with many things to see and do:
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