20 Shades of White in Paris

January 10, 2013

Report by Amalia Bentivoglio

It’s midnight at the Eiffel Tower on Dec.31, 2012: everyone is exchanging bises and wishing each other a Bonne Année. But the celebration doesn’t stop after the stroke of midnight. The Parisians will continue to celebrate the New Year the whole month long, sending off greeting cards and gifts to their familles et amies. So if you are in Paris in mid-January, don’t be surprised at this warm gesture and go ahead and return the wishes.

Paris is stunningly gorgeous this time of the year – decorated in various shades of white.

Paris in the winter might not be what Canadians are used to. The streets are not lined with freshly fallen snow, but instead adorned with white holiday lights and gorgeously dressed holiday windows in shades of ecru and cream. Boutique storefronts, such as J. Mendel, Hervé Leger and the Dior window at Les Galeries Lafayette, will leave tourists dreaming of a chic white Christmas, minus the snow.

But it doesn’t stop there. The city of lights is even more illuminating and romantic during the holiday season, if that’s even possible, with its rows of winter white lights above you. These lights ornament the most famous of streets, like Boulevard Haussmann and Rue de Rivoli, as well as the ice-white skating rink filled with kids of all ages in front of the historical white-stone buildings of Hôtel de Ville.

Whether you are walking down les Grands Boulevards or the narrow streets of St. Germain, while snacking on a few vanilla-stuffed macaroons from Ladurée, you will pleasantly encounter a surprise at every corner. You may see an opera singer break out into a song or a violinist stringing a beautiful classical piece. Don’t be surprised to also hear a serenade by an Edith Piaf look-alike, singing a perfect rendition of La Vie en Rose. Cliché you say, maybe, but it happens!

Once your life has been artistically enriched and your shopping budget exhausted, head to a charming café with some friends for an evening tête-à-tête, to take it all in and show off your prêt-a-porter purchases from the chic Rue du Commerce. It’s no secret that Paris boasts some of the oldest and most famous cafés in the world, like Café de Flore and Les Deux Magots, to name a few. These were once frequented by the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Simone de Beauvoir, so you can’t help but feel like you are stepping back in time. Now, if only those walls could talk!

Paris is a city that will satisfy the indulgence of every fashionista, gourmand, art lover and perpetual wanderer. So throw on your new Louboutins, finish off that bottle of champagne and cheer to the city that Charles Dickens called the most extraordinary place in the world. It’s time to wrap up this experience in the city of lights with a big white bow and call it a bonne nuit. Here’s to a chic 2013!

20 Shades of White in 20 photos

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