More winter activites...
Whether you're on wheels, with friends or alone, we have you covered with our range of green itineraries in the suburbs The city's getting to you. The exhaust fumes of passing Citroëns fill your nostrils, the rumble of traffic beats on your eardrums, and the last time you saw green was on the map of the M12 line. Paris, for all its charms, has a way of hemming you in and bringing out your latent claustrophobia. Luckily, there's relief to be had on the other side of the périph'; with this in mind, we set out to uncover the best green paths – for pedestrians, cyclists and skaters alike – in the banlieue. So read on, pack a lunchbox and set off into the wild green yonder. For roller-skaters For cyclists For lovers For families For lone rangers Practical info More outdoor activities Outdoor bars Le Zyriab by Noura A beautiful terrace on the roof of the Institut du Monde Arabe, which is remarkably quiet outside of lunch and dinner times. Le Zyriab by Noura isn’t just a high class Lebanese restaurant, it’s also a daytime café open to all. Elegant outdoor tables topped with parasols offer a sublime view over the Seine and the Ile Saint-Louis, with the Notre-Dame cathedral in the background. The staff are very friendly, happy to let you spend an afternoon reading on the cushion-strewn banquettes. Drinks aren’t cheap, and given the price of a Perrier of a coffee (excessive at €6), splash out on something more interesting... La Bellevilloise The Bellevilloise is the latest incarna
What's more Christmassy than strapping on a pair of ice skates and doing figure-8s under the stars? Tumbling onto the ice with flailing arms while 80s rock blares from the loudspeakers, of course. Besides the two skating rinks that are accessible year round, a number of venues are specially open around the city for winter (wonderland) games. Put on your earmuffs and glide, baby, glide. Christmas ice skating in Paris Patinoire de L’Hôtel de Ville The most popular seasonal ice skating venue in town (and with the queues to prove it), this huge open-air rink in front of the city hall has become a symbol of Christmas in Paris. It’s especially grand after sundown, when the handsome 19th-century building is lit up against the chilly sky. New to the ice? Fear not: the 1,365-square-metre rink includes a smaller area for children and beginners... Patinoire des Cinq Continents, Champs-Elysées Surrounded by the marvel and over-the-top revelry of the Champs-Elysées’s annual Christmas village, this skating rink takes the world’s five continents as its theme, with some 300 animated pandas, deer, wolves, polar bears and assorted other animals populating an ice garden. A 60-metre-long ice path winds through the rink, which also includes areas for speed skating and games, and an artificial ice surface for small children... Patinoire Pailleron Reopened in 2006, this rink is part of a renovated art deco sports complex. Skaters can sign up for hockey and dance lessons on the ice.For more info,
The best hot chocolate will banish all memories of milky bedtime cocoa – it's rich, complex and made with quality raw ingredients. Paris is starting to wake up to the idea of hot chocolate as a serious drink – here's our pick of some of the best purveyors in the city. Parisian hot chocolates to die for Charles Chocolatier Created in 1910, this family-run chocolate shop only uses natural ingredients. The hot chocolate is divine: made from 100% cacao powder (from the Ivory Coast), pure cacao butter, half-fat milk and very little sugar, it thickens naturally in a copper cauldron. You can’t drink it in the shop, but on a cold winter’s day there’s nothing better than warming your hands (and soul) with a cup in the street... Berthillon This famed ice cream parlour is easily recognisable by the queue that forms year-round outside its doors – except at the height of summer, when the shop is closed! In winter, Berthillon doesn’t offer old-fashioned hot chocolate, but an even classier treat: chocolate affogato. At the bottom of a white cup is a dollop of vanilla ice cream, decorated with melted chocolate, frothy milk and hazelnut-flavoured whipped cream... Chloé Chocolat ‘Food taster’ Chloé Doutre-Roussel worked as a buyer for Fortnum & Mason’s in London before opening her chocolate showroom here in Paris, where you can sign up for chocolate tasting lessons or a chocolate-themed city tour. The chocolate she sells (both in the boutique and online) is from the Bolivian chocolate coo
Turn off your speakers and bin your iPod – this is all the music you'll need in the coming weeks… Ben Howard Indie-folk English singer-songwriter Ben Howard brings his dark, jazz-tinged folk to Paris. His debut, Every Kingdom—released by Communion, the label founded by Mumford & Sons' Ben Lovett—is rife with nature references, swoonsome acoustic-guitar strums and softly crooned angst. Iceage Breakout band Iceage turned heads in 2011 with its killer debut, New Brigade, a messy, impassioned and surprisingly hooky art-punk salvo. This December, the Copenhagen quartet plays at the Nouveau Casino in support of its flailing, fuzzed-out 2013 Matador debut, You're Nothing—the band's third album. Nihilists, put on your dancing shoes. GusGus Icelandic band GusGus was once a nine-piece dance group that showcased trip-hop and disco inspired beats. Having narrowed down to four members, GusGus have released many more studio albums, the latest being 'Mexico' (2014). It's full of big electronica and pop tracks, including 'Obnoxiously Sexual' and 'Crossfade'. King Tuff King Tuff (aka singer-songwriter Kyle Thomas and supporting crew) follows up his Sub Pop debut, 2012's spectacular self-titled effort, with a still-fun but more diluted collection titled 'Black Moon Spell'. At his best, Tuffy delivers beyond-catchy cuts of glam power pop, bursting with Stonesian riffs and matchless sneer, for grunge kids and their modern equivalents... The New Pornographers It's been four years since these Van
Village de Noël des Champs Elysées No introduction needed. Take a world-renowned avenue and string up some Christmas lights and you’ve got a recipe for holiday perfection. Maybe the gift shopping isn’t great, and maybe the gooey cheesy tartiflette is a bit pricey, but the ambiance is unbeatable. Go head to head with the holiday tourists trying not to spill their hot wine as you wander bedazzled by the lights on all sides... Marché de Noël Place de la République The newly revamped Place de la République will show itself off with a Christmas market on the historic meeting point for protestors, both political and other. Few holiday festivities have taken place here in recent years, but this newly launched market will offer artisan goods, food, and of course activities for children. What Christmas season would be complete without meeting Père Noel, anyhow? The market will be a great shot of holiday cheer... Marché de Noël des Abbesses Christmas takes over the Place des Abbesses; but if you’re looking for a Christmas supermarket like the one at the Arche de la Défense, an enormous and exhaustive collection of every possible Christmas trinket, stay away. Outside the Abbesses station with its famous art nouveau framework, the charm of this market is that of a little festive jumble sale... Marché de Noël de La Défense A bit of a festive production line, what Christmas at La Défense lacks in charm, it makes up for in quantity and variety of choice. Spread over 10,000 square metr
Suffering from festive metropolitan overload? We feel you. Fortunately, a quick day trip out of the city can help you de-Grinch without too much fuss. Forget heading all the way to Strasbourg for the giant Christmas market. Rent a car or hop on a train to one of the Ile de France's most festive Christmas locations, all just an hour or so away. Castles, a glass of bubbly, and of course a little bit of Mickey await... Reims What French Christmas would be complete without some Champagne? A day trip to Reims means checking out one of the many cellars for that perfect bottle of holiday bubbly. But the fun doesn’t stop there. The Christmas village is full of toys, winter sports and events for the kids, with jazz and other concerts for parents. A Ferris wheel and carrousels will be up and running, as will an outdoor skating rink... Domaine de Chantilly He who says 'chateau' thinks only of Versailles, but to the north of Paris a mere 20 minute train ride away, the Domaine de Chantilly promises whole castles'-worth of holiday wonderment. Head to the grand stables for 'La Petite Fiancée des Neiges', a winter show featuring some 30 horses and ponies to delight both children and adults. The horse museum and the fairy tale-like castle create a magical escape from Paris... Château Vaux Le Vicomte This 17th century château, an inspiration for the more grandiose Versailles, literally decks the halls at Christmas time. Festive decorations inside bring the season alive while lights on t