The City of Light shines even more brightly in the run-up to Christ­mas, with ev­ery­thing from mag­i­cal il­lu­mi­na­tions to ice skat­ing to en­joy

France - - Contnets -

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What is more Christ­massy than strap­ping on a pair of ice skates and prac­tis­ing fig­ure-eights in the crisp win­ter air? The largest open-air rink can be found in front of the Hô­tel de Ville ( pic­tured) in the 1st ar­rondisse­ment, while an­other pop­u­lar lo­ca­tion is the Parc du Champ-du-mars where you can glide along the ice with the Eif­fel Tower as your back­drop. Smaller rinks also pop up near many of the Christ­mas mar­kets. paris­info.com


Vis­it­ing a grand ma­g­a­sin is a high­light of any fes­tive trip to Paris. As well as stock­ing an ar­ray of gifts, depart­ment stores such as Prin­temps ( pic­tured) and Ga­leries Lafayette cre­ate show-stop­ping win­dow dis­plays. Join the crowds on Boule­vard Hauss­mann mar­vel­ling at the lav­ish and cre­ative de­signs, which have pre­vi­ously in­cluded groups of mice busily pre­par­ing for the fes­tiv­i­ties, and ro­bots de­pict­ing Christ­mas in the fu­ture. For ex­tra sparkle, en­ter Ga­leries Lafayette to see the stun­ning 20-me­tre-high Christ­mas tree, which stands in the mid­dle of the store be­neath the domed glass ceil­ing. de­part­mentstoreparis.prin­temps.com ga­leries­lafayette.com


Round off your Christ­mas shop­ping with a cup of cho­co­lat chaud at a his­toric café. On Boule­vard Saint-ger­main, the Café de Flore – former haunt of writ­ers and in­tel­lec­tu­als – serves an in­tensely flavoured jug of thick co­coa called a‘ Cho­co­lat spé­cial’. At the Ladurée salon de thé on Rue Royale, en­joy its fa­mous ver­sion with a pas­try or macaron. For real deca­dence, visit An­gelina on Rue de Rivoli for a cho­co­lat chaud Africain, a vel­vety drink so thick you will need a spoon to en­joy it. Ac­com­pany it with a Mont-blanc, a mix­ture of meringue, whipped cream and ch­est­nut cream ver­mi­celli ( pic­tured). cafede­flore.fr, laduree.fr, an­gelina-paris.fr

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