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Christmas in Paris

It’s a crisp 4°C in London, and the city is in throes of festivity. Canopies of angels spread their wings overhead from Langham Place to St. James’s. Harrods is dressed to the nines. You can see no expense has been spared, whether that’s Louboutin’s Christmas at Claridge’s or Sean Scully’s Christmas Tree for the Connaught. In fact, I think it’s safe to say that the City of London has outdone itself this year. Despite the political turmoil troubling the country, the capital has – quite reliably – come together for Christmas.

The recent election was a tense affair, and it felt as if it could be anyone’s game – even as the polls were coming to a close. Brexit was a key topic, and though Boris Johnson represented departure from the European Union, nobody could have guessed that he would receive so much support. Take a stroll down Bond Street, and you’d be forgiven for mistaking London for a city content with its place in the world. Softly-lit firs and peacock feathers line the street. Cartier awaits, ready to be unwrapped. Stores are waitlisted; they’re in such high demand. Certainly not what you’d expect from a country balanced on a political precipice.

Like London, Paris finds itself in a curiously similar situation. The city is experiencing unrest, in part due to the earlier discontent of the Gilets jaunes, and more recently in reaction to Emmanuel Macron’s centrist shift. And, still, the city has banded together to bring Christmas to life. Trust Galeries Lafayette to lead the effort with La Ruche de Noël and its bee-themed décor. The red lights return to the Champs Elysée, and Jeff Leatham’s work at the Four Seasons Hotel George V is enchanting. Black reindeer pose from lobby to Marble Courtyard, nested in gold and black baubles. On Avenue Montaigne a snowy-white Christmas tree emerges from the Dior storefront, alive with a menagerie of wild animals amongst its branches.

It isn’t without good reason that Paris is known as the City of Lights and, when it comes to preparing the city for Christmas, the French know what they are doing. It’s impressive, then, that London seems to come out on top this winter. Despite weary masses exasperated by politics, and fear that the whole of London might up and move to mainland Europe, the UK’s capital puts on a brilliant show.

But… Paris will always be Paris. Your first stop in Europe. The prestige, the romance, the fashion, the art. That Parisian lilt in a hotel foyer. Down a quiet little street, in one of the most elegant neighbourhoods in town. Lush and colourful rooms, meticulously designed to feel like your ideal home. French antiques alongside bespoke Italian furniture. Monogrammed bedspreads and spacious walk-in showers. Somewhere with a Sicilian chef on hand to produce a delectable alternative to those Michelin-starred eateries. It’s a location made-to-measure; an adored Italian hotelier’s debut in France. It’s a tasteful, discreet escape, putting all of Paris at your fingertips.

Written to brief for a UK luxury travel company discretely selling J.K. Place Paris

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