Winter has arrived in Paris, and that means lots of twinkle lights, Christmas markets, and, yes, rapidly falling temperatures. Luckily, Paris has just the thing to take the chill off.
1. Vin Chaud
Vin chaud is called mulled wine in English (a better term, in our humble opinion, than the direct translation of “hot wine”). A combination of red wine, fruit, and warm spices, vin chaud can be found at nearly every outdoor Christmas market in Paris. But if you want to try a truly exquisite version of this wintertime classic, head over to Chez Georges, a bistro and wine bar that cooks up our fave vin chaud in the capital.
Chez Georges – 11, rue des Canettes, 6th arrondissement
2. Hot Chocolate
If you’d like a warm beverage with a bit less of a kick than vin chaud, you’re in luck: Paris, as home to some of the best pastries in the world, is also home to some of the best hot chocolate. There’s no contest for our favorite: the exquisite African hot chocolate at Angelina. The legendary cocoa here is served with a side dish of unsweetened whipped cream – ostensibly to temper the nearly impossible richness of the brew. If you’re traveling with friends, consider ordering one African and one white hot chocolate – the latter is served with a chocolate whipped cream instead.
Angelina – 226, rue de Rivoli, 1st arrondissement
3. Fondue and Raclette
These two Alpine specialties are classics of après-ski or after-ski dining: the former is a bubbling cauldron of melted cheese and a touch of white wine into which you dip croutons of crusty, day-old baguette. When you order the latter, meanwhile, you’ll be brought an apparatus featuring a half-wheel of melty raclette cheese which you heat and scrape (racler, in French) over a plate of potatoes, cured meat, and pickles. To satisfy all of your cheesiest dreams, Le Brasier is the place to go.
Le Brasier – 58, Avenue des Ternes, 17th arrondissement
4. French Onion Soup
French onion soup was originally invented in the Paris Les Halles market: market vendors would throw a hodgepodge of leftover veg into a pot and cook it up for a nighttime snack. While Les Halles has since shuttered (and Parisian markets these days take place during the daylight hours), you can still find excellent soupe à l’oignon in Paris.
A perfect French onion soup is a labor of love, with deeply caramelized onions and a rich beef broth topped with a generous handful of gruyère cheese before being gratinéed under the broiler. While some still seek it out at holdover restaurant Au Pied de Cochon, located a stone’s throw from where Les Halles once stood, we prefer the slightly less touristy dining room (and even better soup) at Bistrot des Vosges.
Bistrot des Vosges – 31 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 4th arrondissement
5. Roasted Chestnuts
If you want to warm up but you don’t want to slow down, Paris has a solution! For just a few euros, nearly every street corner affords the opportunity to get your hands on a paper cone of freshly roasted chestnuts, which you can snack on as you walk to your next adventure. Bon appétit!