Christmas in Paris: these two words alone are an invitation to dream. It remains just to give some idea of what you can expect at the height of the magic that unfolds in the capital during the holidays. Away from the crowded trails, the Petit Madeleine Hotel invites you on a journey of initiation regarding some places that it would be almost sacrilegious to overlook during this festive season.
In search of the exceptional
The famous department stores...
Take a salutary walkabout amidst the splendour of the twinkling lights cascading along the streets of Paris. Then turn to the always spectacular Christmas display windows of the various shops, against which children press their eager noses as the gorgeous enchantment within takes them away to another world full of magic, automatons, lights, gifts and wonderful intentions. To kick off your journey, why not step into the shopping wonderland offered by the great Parisian Grands Magasins, our city’s fabulous renowned department stores?
There’s nothing quite like this plunge into the sparkling magic of grandiose decor that is offered each year at this time to feel in tune with the festive ambience of the capital. Stroll the historic Chaussée d'Antin until you reach the Boulevard Haussmann and there you’ll find the legendary Galeries Lafayette. This is a place that preserves the traditional joys of Christmas and the wonder of finding wrapped presents placed lovingly under the tree. Old tin or wooden toys in their original packaging and all beautifully preserved, the classic train set alongside the eternal Meccano and a host of other small scale delights. The spirit of Christmas and the wonder of childhood await the visitor to this Aladdin’s Cave of gifts.
... and the little lesser-known address!
Back in the present, you’ll turn off onto the Rue de la Paix, where nestles a truly unique Parisian store called Santa Maria Novella. This is one of the world’s leading names in fragrances and herbal body care. The original monastery was founded by Dominican friars when they arrived in Florence in the early 13th century and is the wold’s oldest pharmacy. Now, their products are available here in Paris, allowing you to discover what is surely the ‘cosmetic Grail’. It’s not as well-known as many stores in the city, but now you can be one of the circle of initiates who have been introduced to the secrets of this of this ancient Italian brand and the wonderful things it offers.
A cultural journey
From the more cultural venues...
But now, after this sensory exploration, the desire will come to you, perhaps, to experience a more intellectual kind of journey. One proposed in the prestigious halls of the Carrousel du Louvre is an exhibition of Fine Arts, one that offers the opportunity for a double world tour. You can admire the work of famous artists from all continents, and also complete a global round of the major arts of today, including painting, sculpture, printmaking and photography.
... To a more fashion-oriented exhibition!
And following this rich cultural interlude, it's time to go to the classiest of events for an appointment with history to which Louis Vuitton invites his fans. The house of luxury goods merges with the vagabond inspiration of its founder for the suitably titled exhibition, Volez, Voguez, Voyagez (Fly, Sail, Journey). Isn’t that just what we encouraged you to do right at the beginning of this article?
Petit Madeleine Hôtel, a 3 star hotel in Paris, at the heart of the 8th district