Get Your Skates On In Paris This Winter

ice skating in paris 2014

For most of us, I’m sure, ice-skating holds a kind of mystical, childish delight; after all, what can be more magical than rivers, lakes, and ponds becoming so frozen that one can strap a couple of slivers of metal to our feet, and glide as gracefully over the resultant winter ice as the swans do upon the water in the summer? Those of us who grew up on a staple diet of European folk tales, of the Brothers Grimm, of […]

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Père Fouettard and Hans Trapp – Santa’s Little Helpers

St Nicolas et Père Fouettard

Tomorrow, December 6th, is St. Nicolas’ day, which means that tonight, children will be putting out their shoes in the hope that when they wake up in the morning, they will find their footwear filled with candies. Good children, that is.  Naughty children, on the other hand, may find themselves whipped by le Père Fouettard (or Hans Trapp in Alsace & Lorraine) – St Nicolas’ faithful companion as he goes on his rounds on December 6th. While St Nicolas rewards […]

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Christmas Markets In France

Riquewihr Christmas by Philippe Haumesser

Otherwise known as marché de noël, Christmas markets in France are a great excuse for a short winter break. Bringing a magical, fairytale atmosphere to most towns across the country, the Christmas markets also provide an opportunity to buy somewhat more unusual gifts for your loved ones, particularly for food and drinks lovers. Here are three of our favorites: Avignon – until December 31st At Place de l’Horloge in the medieval city of Avignon, Christmas shoppers can not only purchase […]

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Lyon’s Festival of Lights

lyon's festival of lights

Beginning on Friday, Lyon plays host to over 70 light installations, creating a magical seasonal atmosphere along six routes throughout the city. The first Fête des Lumières was held in the city in 1852, when a statue of the Virgin Mary was erected at the top of the Fourvière hill (formerly the site of Trajan’s forum). However, since 1643, the people of Lyon have been placing candles in their windows, and holding candlelit processions through the city and up to […]

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Lingua Franca


Lingua Franca; the language of nobility, and of diplomacy across Europe and the Ottoman Empire, French was the world’s first truly international language until it was replaced in the 20th century by English

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Paris’ Literary Subway Map

literary metro map

Le Métro is such an iconic subway that novelists around the world have featured it in their literary works. Librarian and bibliophile, Bernard Strainchamps, has created this amazing interactive map of stations featured in some of the best classic literature. Hovering over the map below will bring up excerpts from the novels, while clicking on the stations – or the excerpts themselves – will take you to an online repository where you can freely (and legally) download the books to […]

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Experience A Hammam In Paris

paris mosquée hammam

Hammams are something one might more readily associate with Marrakech than Paris but the City of Light can more than hold its own – not least because since Morocco was once a French territory, we have learned a thing or two about these glorious havens of calm. Here are three of the best hammams you’ll find in the capital, all of which include a hot steam room, tepid and cool pools, sloughing area, and relaxation zones, complete with lashings of […]

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Coffee and Cake in a Bathtub?


Deep in the heart of Paris’ 19th arrondissement, at Bassin de la Villette, you’ll find le Pavillon des Canaux – a trendy café with a cosy feel about it, decked out to resemble a quirky home. Visitors to le Pavillon can socialize, read, or work in any of the rooms… including the bathroom. (It’s not actually the bathroom!)

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The Beer of Nord-Pas de Calais

The Beers of Nord-Pas de Calais

One of the lesser-known – but nevertheless fascinating – areas of Northern France, Nord-Pas de Calais, is taking advantage of its beer heritage in a bid to boost tourism. The region is already famous for its wines and cider, and the brewers of Nord-Pas-de-Calais are hopeful that now their locally-produced ales have been given the same protected status as their more glamorous grape and apple counterparts, they too will come to be regarded in the same light as the rest […]

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Salon Saveurs Christmas Market 2014

Salon Saveurs Christmas Market 2014

If you missed Salon Saveurs des Plaisirs Gourmands 2014 at the Porte de Versailles last week, fear not, for SSdPG will be holding a second gastronomic event in just under two weeks. The Salon Saveurs Christmas Market at l‘Espace Champerret, in the 17th arrodissement, will be held from December 5th until the 8th. For 18 years, the City of Light has played host to one of the best food fairs in Europe, where you can not only purchase some of […]

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