The festive season is one of the most magical times of year in Paris. Its streets are decked out in sparkling lights, its shops windows immaculately designed and tempting with divine French products and there’s a general amplification of its usual joie de vivre. If you’re seeking out some of the best places to have a cozy café to warm up over some hot chocolate or enjoy a hearty meal or mulled wine next to the fireplace, let your Paris amblings lead you past these options perfect for the season.
This comfy, unpretentious salon de thé near the Centre Pompidou is a great place for a light lunch or afternoon tea by its toasty fireplace. As could be expected, they have an excellent selection of teas, but also other hot drinks like hydromiel (hot lemon water with honey) and hot milk flavored with vanilla, cinnamon or orange blossom extract. ,They also serve a range of comfort food perfect for the season like chèvre chaude salad, steak with gratin dauphinoise or seasonal specials or come on Sundays for their winter Oriental brunch, available from 12 pm to 4 pm.
Address: 78, rue Quincampoix 75003
Metro: Chatelet-les-Halles, Rambuteau
For some mountain food and ambiance, come for lunch at this quaint restaurant.
It’s hard to find a heartier cuisine to warm you up than savory Alpine specialties like raclette or fondue and their rustic dining room transports you straight to the Alps. Choose between a gooey Savoyarde fondue or melty raclette accompanied by potatoes, salad, or charcuterie. Plus, since these dishes are usually shared, it adds a fun element to a romantic outing. (Note: they are only open for lunch)
Address: 108 rue de Montreuil, 75011
Wander down one of the prettiest streets in Paris and you’ll find one of the city’s best hot chocolates. From 3pm to 6 pm daily the restaurant of Pierre Cluizel’s chocolate “concept store” becomes a tea salon or rather a chocolate salon. His delightful creamy hot chocolate, with a hint of vanilla, is served with some small cakes. Then after your decadent treat, you can do some holiday shopping at their pastry and chocolate shop.
Address: 4-6-8 Cours du Commerce Saint-André 75006
All day long you can savor a cozy break at this rather recently renovated Left Bank café. Leather sofas, vintage photos, stuffed birds and low lighting create a warm, intimate and trendy setting. Sip on a hot drink on their heated terrace, savor some deep red wine on the sofa of their second floor lounge or nibble on their contemporary bistro fare at a table by the fireplace.
Address: 16, carrefour de l’Odéon 75006
For some chic Christmas ambiance venture over to this gorgeous palace hotel in the 16th district. From December 6th to 24th, Their La Terrasse Kléber will turn into a magical Christmas market featuring Steiff Christmas decorations and an assortment of elegant gifts for sale. There will be a “Sweet Chalet” serving hot chocolate, mulled wine and an array of refined snacks like crêpes, waffles, warm chestnuts and pretzels. If you’re feeling more peckish, head to the “Seafood Chalet” for some oysters, salmon, caviar and lobster which go nicely with their suggested white wine, champagne, and vodka. (Hours: Monday to Saturday 4pm to 9 pm and Sundays 3pm to 8pm)
Address: 19 Avenue Kléber Paris 75016
For a sophisticated afternoon hot drink or evening apéro next to the fireplace, make your way to this Saint Germain hotel bar. Located in a 17th-century hotel particulier, the lounge of the Café Laurent is plush and posh. It keeps its legacy as one of the area’s jazz hubs of the 1940s with live jazz from Wednesday to Saturday evenings, more information on their program here.
Address: 33 rue Dauphine 75006
Metro: Odéon, Pont Neuf
Perched on the top of the BHV department store, this branch of the hip Perchoir
converts into a toasty and trendy winter wonderland for the holidays. Les Autruches contemporary designers are creating the perfect wintery vibe at this rooftop bar where you can curl up with your chéri, cocktail in hand, on one of their sofas under the twinkling holiday lights.
Address: 37 rue de la Verrerie 75004
Metro: Hotel de Ville
For more live music and holiday spirit, make your way to the unique Club Rayé. Located on a discreet street in the Montorgueil area, this piano bar run by New Yorker Kein Cross evokes the 1920s prohibition era spirit with its artsy decor and hidden downstairs lounge. The festive season is celebrated to the fullest here with special holiday cocktails, a holiday champagne cocktail menu, vin chaud, roasted chestnuts as well as classic sing-a-longs and many special performances throughout the month of December.
Address: 26 rue Dussoubs 750012
Metro: Etienne Marcel, Reaumur Sebastopol
In the increasingly hip Faubourg Saint-Denis area, the revamped decor of this mid-19th-century hotel is a modern take on its historic heritage. bordering a little square, it’s a stone’s throw away from many of the area’s up-and-coming bars and restaurants. Make a pitstop on the outside terrace for apéro, nestle in next to the lounge’s toasty fireplace for one of their creative cocktails or stay for dinner to sample dishes cooked over a wood fire such as grilled vegetables with creamy burrata and Iberico pork pluma and pearl barley risotto.
Address: 90 rue René Boulanger
Metro: Strasbourg Saint Denis
For an ultra-posh winter experience in Paris, book in at the pop-up Belvedere Winter Garden at the Royal Monceau Hotel. From November 24th the hotel’s garden terrace will feature an ephemeral Winter Garden, suspended above the Palace pool. The Belvedere Vodka Salon, under the theme Relearn Natural, will offer three decident menu options with a selection of finger food from world renowned Chef Nobu Matsuhisa, of their Matsuhisa Restaurant, which have been perfectly paired with some Belvedere Vodka signature cocktails. The winter garden has a capacity of a maximum of six people. It’s open every day from 6 pm to 11pm by reservation and prices start at 49€ per person.
Address: 37 Avenue Hoche, 75008 Paris
Tel.: +33 (0)1 42 99 88 00
Metro: Ternes, Charles-de-Gaulle Etoile
ABOUT LILY AND THE BOOK
Lily Heise is a Paris-based Canadian writer and romance expert. Her writing has been featured the Huffington Post, CondeNastTraveler.com, Business Insider, Frommer’s, DK Eyewitness guides among others.
She is also the author of two books, Je T’Aime, Me Neither and its recently released sequel, Je T’Aime… Maybe? These are exciting and funny novelized memoirs of her romantic misadventures in Paris. In this new book, Lily’s quest to reconnect with her possible soul mate is thwarted by the likes of policemen knocking at her door, elegant counts, wacky winemakers and rebellious rock stars.