There's a lot to love in Paris during the holiday season. The Grand Palais installs a giant ice skating rink; the Champs-Elysées sets up a fabulous Christmas market; the famous department stores show off gorgeous window displays; and the Place de la Concorde welcomes the tallest Christmas tree in Europe, dwarfing Rockefeller Center's Christmas tree by 10 meters. But that's not all. The city's luxury hotels go all out with festive events and decorations. Here's a round-up of fun happenings.
The Park Hyatt Place Vendôme(www.paris.vendome.hyatt.com) has set up a high-altitude terrace in the indoor courtyard, complete with snow, fireflies, and a mountain chalet showcasing a collection of gifts to kickstart your holiday shopping. On the menu: a gourmet selection of hot chocolate (think orange zest or cassia cinnamon), hot mulled wine, brioche, and other sweet treats.
Hotel Fouquet's Barrière (www.lucienbarriere.com) is lighting up for the yuletide season with a fantastic 3D light display projected on the building's 19th century façade. Kids activities include create-your-own-Christmas-decorations.
Mandarin Oriental (www.mandarinoriental.com/paris) is also planning various workshops for children, and families can take advantage of discounted deals for afternoon tea, dinner at Camélia, and family suites.
Baccarat has decked the luxurious halls of the Shangri-La Paris(www.shangri-la.com/paris) with elegant décor and a Christmas tree boasting Baccarat ornaments. Guests will even find a Baccarat pop-up shop in the hotel itself. From December 21-25, guests will have the opportunity to take a carriage ride to gape at the Eiffel Tower while sipping hot chocolate.
Le Crillon(www.crillon.com) has postponed its two-year closure (the pending renovation will happen later in 2013), and guests can indulge in Afternoon Tea with special Christmas desserts (like the traditional Bûche de Noel with a decadent twist).
Nobu is in the house at Le Royal Monceau (www.raffles.com/paris)-- the hotel has two pop-up restaurants from celebrity chefs this season-- and the hotel's trendy boutique will have a great selection of holiday gifts including limited edition iPhone cases, coffee cups, and candles-all designed by Philippe Starck (who was the mastermind behind the hotel's renovation a few years ago).
Pictured at right, Le Meurice (www.lemeurice.com) is celebrating the Salvador Dali exhibit at the Centre Pompidou with a fun package (after all, the artist used to call the hotel home when visiting Paris), and the hotel has also teamed up with the Printemps department store on a VIP Christmas shopping experience.
Sister hotel, the Plaza Athenee (www.plaza-athenee-paris.com)-- located on the famous Avenue Montaigne-- has set up a magical ice skating rink in the courtyard.