Secrets of Paris / December 2021
Inside this Issue:
* Covid: Cautiously Optimistic
* Christmas in Paris: Markets, Events, & Activities
* Co-Working in an English Bookshop
* The Best Place to Eat on the Champs Elysées
* Video: What Does it Take to be a National Hero in France?
* Eat With the Locals
* Everything You Need to Know about the New Paris Municipal Police
* Guest Article: The First Act of Parisian Resistance in 1940
* Happy Hour Painting in Parisian Bars
* A Fresh, Locally-Grown Christmas Wreath
* Paris Temporary Tattoos “Made in France”
* Want More? Join the Community for Weekly Updates & Meetups
Covid: Cautiously Optimistic
Things were looking pretty good in France this fall, but like everywhere else in Europe, Covid cases are on the rise again. The biggest difference this time is that hospitalizations aren’t rising as fast as the French vaccination rate. For this month (so far), the only new restrictions are that all travelers outside the EU need a Covid test when entering France, even if vaccinated, and everyone over 65 years old needs a booster shot by December 15th to continue using their Pass Sanitaire. Also, PCR Covid tests are now only valid for 24 hours. As usual, I will keep updating the website with the latest news as it breaks.
Latest Covid Updates for France
Christmas in Paris: Markets, Events, & Activities
I’ve compiled the latest list of confirmed Marchés de Noël, outdoor activities and other holiday events. So far none of the usual events have been canceled in Paris due to Covid, although some of the Christmas markets are smaller than usual (for example, at La Défense). Since many of the activities are outdoors, there are many options for enjoying the holiday cheer while staying safe – just make sure you bundle up!
Christmas in Paris
Co-Working in an English Bookshop
One of the best-kept secrets in Paris at the moment is the new co-working space at the Abbey Bookshop’s “Pop Shop” near Place de la Bastille (38bis Blvd Beaumarchais, 11th). There’s a big table upstairs or several tables downstairs where you’ll find electric outlets, WiFi, and unlimited coffee and tea, for just €5/hour! “You’re also very welcome to browse and use our books as you work: we have many reference books and two sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica.” Open Sun-Wed 2-6pm, Thurs-Sat: 10am-7pm.
The Best Place to Eat on the Champs Elysées
I’m not usually a big fan of the dining and café options on the Champs-Elysées, which range from fast-food chains and overcrowded tourist traps to stylish-but-outrageously-expensive restaurants and tearooms. So I was overjoyed (pun intended) when a branch of the Café Joyeux coffee shop opened at #144 (close to the Arc de Triomphe). Not only is all the food fresh, seasonal and homemade, Café Joyeux employs and trains people with disabilities, and 100% of the profits go towards opening new coffee shops. I visited their first Parisian location in the Passage Choiseul (2nd) last fall and just fell in love with the concept (and the cookies!). They also have a location across from the Olympia (1 Blvd de la Madeleine, 1st).
Café Joyeux Website
What Does it Take to be a National Hero in France?
To celebrate the honoring of Josephine Baker in the Panthéon last week, France 24’s English program “French Connections” did an episode on the topic of French heroes, where I have a short cameo sharing my take on Johnny Hallyday and Napoléon Bonaparte. Check out the other episodes in the series including “Is Paris a Dirty City?” and “Tax Champions: How Much do the French Really Pay?”
Looking for alternatives to eating in restaurants while in Paris? EatWith is a platform where you can find Parisians who enjoy cooking for small (or even private) groups in their home. There are also guided tours, cooking lessons, “apéros” and even a “Parisian breakfast and French language lesson”. Not just for tourists!
Everything You Need to Know about the New Paris Municipal Police
You might have heard that Paris now has its own municipal police force, but do you know the difference between them and the police you usually see patrolling Paris (La Police Nationale)? Do they carry guns? Can they give you a ticket for littering or riding an electric scooter on the sidewalk? Find the answer to these questions and more in this article on the Secrets of Paris website.
Guest Article: The First Act of Parisian Resistance in 1940
Secrets of Paris correspondent Yvonne Hazelton interviews French Resistance historian Dr Nigel Perrin about the oft-forgotten events of November 11, 1940, when Parisian students refused to obey the Nazi occupiers’ ban on Armistice Day commemorations.
Happy Hour Painting in Parisian Bars
Looking for a fun activity in Paris? Happy Paint organizes painting sessions in bars throughout Paris, where over a cocktail or a glass of wine you paint your own masterpiece with the guidance of a professional painter – no experience needed, all materials supplied! There are multiple options each week in Paris, just choose the painting you’d like to try your hand at and the bar you’d like to check out, and sign up solo or with friends. The two-hour sessions are €39 (drinks not included) and of course you get to take your finished painting home with you (or perhaps wrap up as a Christmas gift).
Happy Paint Website
A Fresh, Locally-Grown Christmas Wreath
Last December I wrote about where to find eco-friendly Christmas trees in Paris. For those of you (us?!) with tiny Parisian apartments, Christmas wreaths are a great alternative, and Fleurs d’Ici creates them right here in France using only locally-grown, seasonal plants, delivered by bicycle. They’re cut and assembled just before delivery, so arrive at your door fresh, but can be displayed for several months as they slowly transform into a dried arrangement. They’re not the cheapest on the market, but you’ll be supporting local horticulturists and greatly reducing your wreath’s carbon footprint. Available until December 18th.
Paris Temporary Tattoos “Made in France”
If you’re looking for some fun stocking stuffers (or gifts that are easy to send with your holiday cards, if you still send those), check out these adorable “Paris Je t’Aime” temporary tattoos from the Paris Tourism Office’s Holiday Gift Guide, just €4.50.
Want More? Join the Community for Weekly Updates & Meetups
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