How to Survive Winter in Paris

In I tried... on December 2, 2010 at 7:37 am

Messy Nessy Puts her Snow Boots On…

Vegan Winter Potions

Surviving winter is all about putting the best possible stuff into your body for a strong immune system, right? Luckily, in the 10th arrondissement I found Le Bar des Artisans, a seductive little place of therapeutic concoctions and reinvigorating delights for the taste buds. Their products mostly originate from the Americas, used thousands of years ago by native Indians, spoken about in legends, ancient recipes and are most importantly rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins.

The place is wonderfully quaint; potent grains and herbs are displayed in wooden drums against the shop’s exposed brick work. Cold remedies, unusual soaps and other enchanting little products are presented in large glass jars and chalkboards describe the rare ingredients du jour. On weekends, Le Bar des Artisans transforms into a cafe-bar where a vegan brunch is offered for 20 euros. A daily ‘winter potion’ is on offer for 5 euros.

Nutritious and unusual ingredients of the day are presented on a large black table for diners to see what the kitchen will be cooking with. Think power potatoes, quinoa salads with exotic fruits, spelt pancakes with brazilian herbs and ancient Aztec hot chocolate prepared with cocoa and south american spices. I think my work here is done– see you there.

Le Bar des Artisans, 25, rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 (Metro: Jacques Bonsergent)

Snuggly Cafés

Come snow, come sleet, Parisian cafés will always be for sitting al fresco, people-watching and elegant espresso sipping. Almost all cafés have cleverly invested in outdoor heaters for the winter season but when temperatures hit an all-time low you start to wonder how mad you have to be to take your coffee fix in near-arctic conditions. As weather forecasts predict a chillier-than-usual winter, I was very pleased to come across a spot that has gone that little bit further in thinking about its customer by providing warm blankets for the terraced seating. Head to the Café des Places in the 14th arrondissement because I’m not entirely sure there’s a better way to enjoy a beautiful wintry day than with an almond espresso and a warm blanket.

Café de la Place, 23, rue de la Place, 75014 (Metro: Edgar Quinet)

Honey-Bun Bath time

They say honey is ideal for colds. So why not bathe in it? No, really. I came across a little boutique entirely dedicated to honey where the very nice lady who worked there told me that I could indeed bathe in their specially made honey. Honeys of all sorts such as lavendar, mint or eucalyptus have various textures and therapeutic uses. Whether you eat it (make sure to try their honey bread) or bathe in it, doesn’t it seem like a delicious way to help get you through winter?

Les Abeilles, 21 rue Butte aux Cailles, 75013 (Metro: Corvisant)

Thé à L’Anglaise

Does anyone else really do tea better than the British? This english-style tea house called The Tea Caddy has been open since 1928 and serves classics such as apple crumble, scones and imperial teas from around the world. Forget bouncing cheques at the Ritz, this absolutely scrumptious tea house has oodles more nostalgia and charm.

The Tea Caddy, 14, rue Saint – Julien le Pauvre, 75005 (Metro: Saint-Michel)

Do Something Non-Wintry

How about a swim? Indoors of course. This may be a little extravagant, but when I saw it I knew I had to squeeze it into my Parisian winter survival guide. Once Oscar Wilde’s hangout, now Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis’, the luxurious L’Hôtel at rue des Beaux-Arts hides a very special secret. Behind heavy velvet curtains, underground medieval arches set the scene for a private hamman swimming pool. From Tuesdays to Saturdays, you can reserve this pool for a relaxing swim by yourself or prepare for some serious romance as a couple. It all comes with a hefty price tag as you may have guessed, but with Christmas coming, this could make a pretty incredible gift– then again, who wants to give away an afternoon like that?
130 euros per person for privatised pool, 30-minute massage and lunch (for two).
L’Hotel, 13 rues des Beaux-Arts, 6th (Metro: St. Germain-des-Pres)

All Things Cute and Warm!

Call me cliché, but I have a soft spot for warm, cute and cuddly things. When I spotted these rediculously adorable water bottles from 7 euros at La Chaise Longue (p.s. a great shop for quirky Christmas gifts), I instantly envisaged myself curling up with one and recognised the extreme necessity of such an acquisition to survive my first winter in Paris.

La Chaise Longue, 5 Avenue Mozart, 75016, Paris (Metro: La Muette).

A little Dutch Courage Dessert for the Cold

Each culture has its own traditional winter treat, hot-cross buns for the English, panettone for the Italians and for the French, what is very typical is something called Le Baba au Rhum. I can’t say I’ve sampled this dessert in every serving restaurant in Paris, in fact, I’ve only ever tried it once. But boy was it special. Le Mama Shelter, possibly one of the coolest hotels in Paris, doubles as a sort of cultural social club/ restaurant and brings you the traditional baba with an entire bottle of rhum to pour as you wish. Heaven!

Look forward to summer: The Mama Shelter terrace

(Hotel) Le Mama Shelter, 109, rue de Bagnolet, 75020 (Metro: Porte de Bagnolet)

A Handy Shopping Suggestion

Glove shops aren’t always obvious to find but I was taken to this chic Italian glove shop in Paris specialising in lambskin and goatskin leather. With gloves for the casual urban girl/ guy, for eveningwear or for the great outdoors, JB Guanti is the name you need. Fun to browse even if you don’t buy.

JB Guanti, 18, Rue Tronchet, 75008 (Metro: Madeleine)

Gloves from 46 Euros

Cosy up to the Fire…

Love this place! A treasured restaurant/ tea lounge, grab a table next to the authentic fireplace, cosy up on the old theatre seats, play a game of chess and sample the Moroccan influenced menu.

Le Quincampe, 78 Rue Quincampoix, 75003 (Metro: Chatelet).

The Power of the Sauna

I’m not a gym person, so when I thought about visiting a sauna in Paris to feel some real warmth in the depth of winter, I was a little stumped for ideas. In the nick of time, I’ve been highly recommended a non-committal detox haven where I can drench myself in essential oils before using the sauna for a reasonable 25 euros. Ultimate relaxation, here I come.

Le Centre Tout Naturellement, 83bis, rue La Fayette, 75009 (Metro: Gard du Nord)

Fondue Time!

Do as the Swiss do and imagine you’re taking a break from the ski slopes with a hearty session of cheese dipping! The Chalet Savoyard is 100% authentic with logs decorating the chalet-style walls and a notorious reputation for serving the best fondue in Paris. Go with a group sample the very smelly but delicious traditional treat.

Le Chalet Savoyard, 58 rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris (Metro: Ledru-Rollin)













  1. yum la fondue !

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