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Six Reasons to Visit Paris this Winter

By Dana McMahan
1/11/2014 9:42:43 AM

Aah, Paris in springtime. Fresh baguettes and pungent cheese perfume the air, flowers cascade from balconies, the sun returns to bathe the city in a golden glow.

Oh, wait, right: It's still only winter. Your fingers are too frozen to dig your Metro (subway) pass out of your pocket, and barren trees cast long shadows that fade all-too-quickly into nightfall.

But still, Paris is Paris, and better Paris in the winter than no Paris at all, n'est-ce pas?

There are many, but here are six main reasons why we still adore Paris in the winter.

Paris in winter. (Credit: Flickr/Yann Caradec)

1. 'Tis the Season to Shop

Check off everyone on your "nice" list as you shop your way through Paris's grand magasins (major department stores) this December. Then hand over the elegantly wrapped gifts as you casually mention, "Oh, it's just a little something I picked up in Paris." Or, treat yourself with a trip during the winter sales, or soldes. Held just twice a year (as mandated by the government), stores slash prices on pretty much everything. Even the newest items from the most luxe designers can go for up to 75 percent off during this discounting period. For this shopaholic's dream, schedule a trip between January 8 and February 11, 2014-and note that prices drop ever more drastically as the days pass on (but, warning: so does selection).

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2. Bundle Up and Get Outside

While it's tempting to take cover indoors-and you can easily roam museums for the duration of your stay-we promise that it's well worth it to brave the elements. For one outing, grab your chicest scarf and hat and head for the seasonal market Village de Noël Champs-Elysées, take a whirl around the nearby Ferris wheel at Place de la Concorde for a bird's-eye view of the festivities, then stroll through the winter wonderland strip of lights and decorated storefronts along the Champs-Élysées.

3. Enjoy Those Extra Euros

The less you spend on airfare, the more euros you'll have for extras like a splashy dinner out, exquisite pastries at Pierre Hermé, or fabulous finds at the vintage shops in the Marais. A recent airfare search/daydream session turned up Icelandair flights throughout January for $700 round-trip (from New York); fares jump by at least a couple of hundred dollars come May.

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