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Why January is the best time to visit Paris according to me

  • January 26, 2020
  • By Shev
  • 0 Comments
Why January is the best time to visit Paris according to me

Before you banish me as a crazy foodie, hear me out. If you need further convincing to continue your perusal, please note that I have spent two fabulous years here and numerous weeklong trips thereafter (and January was not my favourite month, after the festive season usually spent abroad in hotter climates!)

But am speaking from a tourist perspective here, not a local or resident coming back with January blues. 

One more disclaimer, if you absolutely despise winter, abort mission. I repeat abort mission! 

Accommodation in nicer areas will end up costing you less (with hotel recommendation)

Last time I was in Paris was in late September/early October and I assumed since summer was over, that prices have died down but wrong. I ended up scouring pages and pages of booking engines and struggled to find something that was value for money. In Paris, hotels are expensive, 3-star hotels have five-star tantrums because….well it is Paris.

The Champs Elysee post New Year Look

Now what do I mean by value for money – Good location (walking distance to a metro or places to sightsee, decent size room, pleasant staff, clean room)

What do I mean by not value for money – a box room, carpet dating back to Napoleon’s time, a robotic human at reception, room not done regularly)

In January, even luxurious hotels are cheaper if that tickles your fancy.

My favourite areas in Paris are the 7th district (Rue Saint Dominique), 6th district (Saint Germain des Pres) and between 16th district and 8th district (walking zone to both Eiffel tower and Arc de Triomphe). 

In January, you can afford a hotel in these places and also manage to find vacancies for all your dates so that you can tell your friends at home; I left my hotel, had a coffee à la française and a quick stroll to the Champs elysée (or Galeries Lafayette if shopping is more your thing). 

The hotel I stayed at is Victor Hugo on Rue Copernic, walking distance to both Eiffel tower and the Champs Elysée. the staff was extremely helpful and very responsive on email. The room was clean, beds made every day (all three of them) and amenities were satisfactory. The lobby area has a bar/ study with a nice retro chic décor. Unfortunately, they do not have a proper restaurant, they provide seated breakfast service, but dinner options were fairly scant. I was upgraded to a triple room (felt like Goldilocks hopping on different beds except there was no one coming home) for no reason, so I am definitely biased but here are some pictures: 

The room 

A triple room at Victor Hugo

The bathroom 

The bathroom

The bar 

The bar / study

Less crowded

A church, brownie points if you can tell me which one, I have no idea I just captured the moment while exploring!

There is little to zero people jam in touristy places. You could walk and take up some space, breathe some nice crisp Parisian air. Compared to summer, you might think you are in a different country!

Great food spots at short notice

My Saturday night walk-in, where my walk took me – managed to get a table at the excellent Italian called Gloria within 5 mins of waiting, with a direct view of the kitchen

Especially if you are not organised about this area of travel and end up at a nice little restaurant, only to be turned away! This would be a dream come true. I literally ended up bagging a table for two, being a party of one, on all my walk-ins and on days I was meeting friends, managed to get a booking within a few hours or a day’s notice. 

With friends at The Verde on a Friday night

By first week to mid-January all the little independent restaurants should also be open for business, slowly kick-starting the year. 

Lovely rustic bistro ….Le Bistro

I do not promise peace and quiet at very popular places such as Ladurée on the Champs Elysee but if you are a first-time tourist, try your luck.

Time to practice that mindfulness goal

No kidding, some streets are so quiet that you could literally just close your eyes and breathe in the moment. Maybe watch out for cars though. My favourite activity this January was walking up to the Trocadero in the late evening and just sit there for 15 -20 mins admiring the view. No influencers and their followers spotted, no throng of tourists and sound of clicks. 

Weather 

This might not happen every January but there were days that felt like spring. Januaries are usually much colder but still very walkable on certain days. It definitely deteriorates in February with some harsh gusts and icy cold spells. (You can get that in January as well with weather being so unpredictable in this day and age but worth trying your luck!)

Winter walks 

Again, might be contingent on weather but I was past my 10,000 steps each day for 8 days. Endless walking is one of my favourite past-time, you do not notice the passage of time and since inner Paris is fairly small, you could be ambitious and start in one district and end up in another (sometimes just a few streets away)

You can even plan to walk across the river and back. I plan about a 30 mins walk to my next destination like a place to visit or 45 mins if a pit stop for coffee or food. Before you know it, it is night-time, and you have covered a health activity and tourism in one go! 

Why I love France, books about anything and everything….this one says ‘How to handle idiots’.

I would love to hear about your Parisian experience, please write to me below. If you need any details for your trip here, write me an email via my contact page. Love, Shev x

By Shev, January 26, 2020
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About
Hi, I am Shev. By profession, I am an analyst. Over the years, I have wandered around the globe and have gathered a lifetime of memories but above all, I realised most of my travel plans revolved around food and coffee! My journals and iPhone notes are filled with writings about restaurants, coffee shops and local cuisines I have discovered. Food is a lifelong affair for me, I love describing the scenes when I visit a restaurant or if i encounter a new cuisine, I get really curious and want to find out about the history around it.
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