Go for a ride
I love giving memories as a gift, but in order to give a memory, you have to create a memory, like a few months ago when I wrote about taking a friend out on a topless ride through the city. I think that’s one we’ll both remember for a good long time. Its a bit cold for that this time of year, so I tried to think of an equally thrilling experience that would make an excellent gift for the holiday season. I was pondering the question while on my morning run in the Tuileries Gardens. I looked up et voilà the answer was before my eyes.
Heading up La Grande Rue de Paris (10€ adults, 5€ children) at Christmas time is a magical experience as the fairy lit city stretches out below your feet. Even better as the lights of the Eiffel Tower set to twinkle on the hour.
After your ride, it is actually nice to stroll up the Champs Elysées, savouring the perfumes of the hot spiced wines, wood grilled salmon and other regional treats at the Christmas market. Usually a touristy place many locals avoid, this time of year the area exudes holiday cheer. If you’re feeling flush, you could duck out of the crowd and head closer to the Arc de Triomphe for a macaron and hot chocolate at the historic pastry shop Ladurée, or turn north at the obelisk for a flute of champagne at the red velour bar of the Hotel de Crillon. Or just get two styrofoam cups of that hot wine you’ve been drooling over and warm your hands a you stroll side by side.
As a starving student in Paris I have memories of being fabulously dressed in my finest cocktail wear and going for a spin on the double decker carrousel in front of the Hotel de Ville. The City of Paris is trying hard to provide similar memories for everyone, by installing antique merry-go-rounds in almost every arrondisement of the city. The rides are free on these antique marvels which run Dec 22 – Jan 6 (or Dec 19 – Jan 3 depending on which official City of Paris site you use!) 10h to 19h. The perfect place to stop on your way to a magical moment anywhere in the city.