Why Not . . . Create Your Own Festive Traditions?

Dec 19, 2012

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~Paris and the holidays, I can’t imagine a more magical place to be in December or to welcome the new year. And as a way to bring Paris to all of my readers no matter where you might live, I invited Aisling Greally, who is the founder of the blog  Tresor Parisien, to share glimpses of Paris during this festive time of year.

You may remember Aisling and Tresor Parisien as I had the opportunity to meet with her this summer while in Paris. She was kind enough to rendezvous with me at the famed Cafe de Flore before being my tour guide around the city for the day showing me endless shops, patisseries, boutiques and sites that I can’t wait to return to hopefully next summer.

I am so excited to introduce you to a taste of what she offers on her blog, first-hand insights into all things chic and unique that can be found in Paris and only from someone who has the opportunity to live there. She is a treasure indeed. Thank you so very much Aisling.~

This festive season finds me reflecting and thinking about traditions, what makes them and how we create them over time. The places we go and the little things we do to bring us into the festive mood. Whether it’s the smell of mulled wine, the sparkling lights, a favourite movie, a family lunch or cocktails with friends, this is the month for embracing and creating your own classic traditions whatever they may be.

After two years of living in Paris and scouting the city for my favourite places and things to do, I am finally feeling at home here and beginning to shape my own traditions and essentials for a cosy festive season à Paris….

1. Warm up…with a hot chocolate tradition…

December is one of the coldest months in Paris and as a result has become my season for lots of chocolat chaud drinking. A season highlight I look forward to each year is to go and see the Christmas window displays of les grands magasins followed by the the sparkling lights around Concorde. The tradition now is to follow this by warming up with a chocolat chaud in Jean Paul Hevin’s chocolat bar on Rue Saint Honoré. It’s simply two steps to… Hevin !

2. Create a Saturday morning market tradition ?

For the festive season you will find a host of Christmas markets around Paris. However, for me, nothing beats the atmosphere and experience of a real local traditional market. I have recently discovered the Marché Saxe Breteuil which is around the corner from where I live and has now become a sort of Saturday morning tradition. (Saturday morning wouldn’t be the same without it now)

Small family traders from rural France set their stalls up here every Thursday and Saturday morning. The produce is out of this world, you have specialist stalls for tomatoes (7 different kinds), oysters, lobsters, pumpkins, mushrooms and so much more. There are so many great characters here. I love to watch and listen to the banter of the market traders and observe the Parisians in all their splendor, pondering and taking their time to carefully select their cheese, it’s like a sacred ritual! Le Fromage!

Tapping into the seasonal produce you will find some great Christmas gifts and surprises. This year I have stocked up on soaps from Marseilles, Christmas jams, and dozens of clementines.

3. Embrace the sweet tooth…create a sweet Christmas tradition

With sweet traditions in mind my latest sweet discovery is the beautiful patisserie boutique of Sébastien Gaudard in the 9th arrondissement. I love Sébastien’s take on traditions through his style and decor and his modern approach to Patisserie. I feel like I have stepped into the world of Marie-Antoinette when I enter here. The almond croissants are to die for and it’s very easy to get spirited away by the heavenly divine patisseries and artisanal gifts chez Sébastien.

4. Get cosy… create a festive breakfast tradition

In this cold, dark Parisian December weather, there is nothing like a warm cosy place for a festive breakfast. Claus Estermann’s breakfast boutique, ‘Claus’ is becoming the essential place to hit all the breakfast high notes. It’s my favourite place to go particularly at this time of year. It has all those December essentials wrapped up in one place ; a festive magic, chic understated decor, great coffee, the perfect breakfast/brunch menu and it’s just so cosy and Christmasy inside. In this weather it’s hard to leave!

5. Blame it on the Ritz… create a cocktail tradition

I think at this time of year having ‘the’ place to go to for a festive cocktail also sets a nice festive tradition. The last two years I have been honouring this tradition at The Hemmingway Bar at the Ritz Hotel. This year as the Ritz is closed for renovations, I will be creating new traditions by cocktailing and high tailing to the new bar in the Hotel Bristol and the new bar of an old favourite Lapérouse!

Wishing you a cosy simply luxurious festive season.

From Paris with love x

Aisling Greally

Founder & Editor of Trésor Parisien.

Images courtesy of Tresor Parisien, Barbra Austin, Claus and Sally Nadeau

3 thoughts on “Why Not . . . Create Your Own Festive Traditions?

  1. As someone who will be in Paris just one short week away, I was excited to read about all of these suggestions! Thanks for sharing:)

  2. I always find Paris a bit disappointing at Christmas time, it’s so secular, I could count the Christmas trees on in hand last year. But the Hemingway bar is wonderful and I love the flower with cocktail tradition!

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