As we start to make plans and look forward to some well deserved downtime, I thought I’d share some of my favorite winter places, spaces and looks with you in my December edit.
This year over the Christmas period I’ll be revisiting France, my European ‘home from home’ for a few festive days in beautiful Paris, with some R&R in the snowy mountains of Courchevel.
Paris is a wonderful city to visit any time of year, but to spend a few days there over Christmas is something very special indeed, and an utter joy. Here are some of my ultimate treats to indulge in when I’m there.
Places to Stay
The Ritz Paris, located on the Place Vendôme, has pretty much become one of my most favorite places to stay. It has such a magical charm and history, and can you imagine waking up to a view of the Grand Jardin from the terrace of your room?
Equally divine is Hôtel Costes, the art boutique hotel with an opulent and theatrical interior, luxurious rooms and exceptionally popular restaurant and bar.
Fun Things to Do
Last year Vogue France declared the Plaza Athenee Chalet the new spot for ice skating and enjoying Jean Imbert’s fondue in Paris. Who am I to argue with them?! The chalet is adorably decked with lights and surrounded by fir trees, candles, and vintage skis, so a skating session followed by a warm fondue, with a snuggly blanket in the chalet, is the perfect way to spend an afternoon.
I always try to take in a little history and culture when I’m in Paris so I’ve got a visit to the ballet on my list this year. I’m so excited that The Nutcracker is coming to the Opera Bastille - and there is even a performance on Christmas Day!
For an unforgettable experience, La Magie de Noël in the Tuileries Garden next to the Louvre, is by far the biggest Marché de Noël in Paris. It’s half Christmas market, half Christmas carnival and believe me, it is not to be missed. Just perfect for buying gifts, sipping cinnamon-spiced mulled wine and choosing some adorable Christmas decorations.
Nestled in the Alps, close to the Italian and Swiss borders, Courchevel offers breathtaking mountain views and outdoor activities with miles and miles of snowy pistes. Providing first-class skiing and snowboarding, five-star accommodation and a multitude of gourmet dining experiences, it’s one of the most popular resorts with skiers and foodies alike.
Places to Stay
There are so many fabulous and luxurious places to stay; I usually make my reservations at Aman Le Melezin, Le K2 Palace or Cheval Blanc - the suites and rooms are the ultimate in pampered comfort, and all three have gorgeous spas to unwind both body and mind.
Here’s what I’ll be packing for my days on the slopes and, of course, some well-earned après ski stops.
The Ski Suit
I adore this cream and black Cordova Telluride high neck ski suit - a perfect blend of fashion and sportswear. The Cordova brand means it’s warmer than most other “fashion ski” brands, it’s extremely well designed, practical and fashionable! And with pockets for your ski pass, phone and your holi (sun) SPF 50 dewy tinted skin drops, what more could you ask for? I pair it with a Cordova soft and snug base layer of leggings and turtleneck thermals for the slopes!
The Ski Gloves
These Auclair Women’s Deer Duck Mitts are so soft but super durable. The leather outer, soft lining and duck down insulation make sure my hands stay warm and protected even on the chilliest of European snow days.
The Snow Boot
Waking up in my chalet to see a fresh snowfall, I am going to be ridiculously excited to put on my Loro Piana Quinn Shearling Boots. These are beyond fabulous and are so fun, comfy and warm to wear. Made entirely from long-haired sheepskin, with suede soles, each pair is one of a kind, uniquely crafted. Definitely a statement item and a great excuse to put your best foot forward.
If you’re looking for more affordable options, I’d recommend the Icon Snow Boot in black, from Moon Boot.
The Finishing Touch!
I’ll be completing my ski look with these classic Celine sunglasses which have UVA and UVB protection. They complement my outfit perfectly, but you can be sure I’ll be wearing them all year round too.
I’ll also be packing my Agent Nateur holi (sun) SPF 50 drops to protect my skin from the sun while on the slopes or relaxing outside, and my supplements will include:
- Vit’all Zinc to boost my immune system and to help protect my body during the changing seasons, and
- Thorne coq10, a dietary supplement which has been formulated to support optimal cardiovascular and neurological function and the healthy production of cellular energy.
Food, Glorious Food!
After fun on the slopes, I like to find a restaurant for lunch or dinner with friends, especially one with tables outside. Those views make great memories once I’m back at work and it’s great to get a little extra Vitamin D to boost my health.
From cozy to contemporary, roaring fires to terrace views, high altitude to mountain bases (idyllic when the snow is falling) I can’t wait to recharge my batteries in these wonderful gastronomic venues! I know I’ll be spoilt for choice at each one, so some days it might be oysters and champagne, then the lobster or fillet steak for fine dining, and on other days lighter salads, sushi and fresh, local vegetables if I just need a lunchtime fuel stop. Two of my absolute favourites are:
- Restaurant La Saulire - I’ll be reserving a table here ahead of my visit. It’s a gourmet restaurant with excellent wines and the finest of dishes. They offer everything from local cheeses, regional meats and a not-to-be-missed fondue with fresh truffles, to caviar and home-made blinis, fish and vegetarian options. I can highly recommend the chestnut Mont Blanc with vanilla and clementine to finish, if you have a sweet tooth! I’ve added the link here so you can have a look at the menu and get some food inspiration for your own holiday cuisine!
- Cave des Creux - by contrast, is run by local and young former ski instructors, and serves a refined brasserie menu with regional specialities, quality products, fish, and Asian fusion recipes. The authentic décor brings together mountain and industrial styles - historical fact: this place was originally an Alpine cheese ripening cellar and sheepfold! With plenty of outdoor seating you can make the most of the panoramic views of the 3 Valleys ski resort and Mont Blanc from its terrace with outdoor fire.
Others I’d recommend are Le Chalet de Pierres, La Soucoupe, La Fromagerie, Le Restaurant de Cheval Blanc, Le Mille Sabords (if you like Italian cuisine this is the place for you) and Le Grenier (their fabulous fondue, and a table by the fireplace make this a cosy and romantic setting).
I really hope you make time for food with friends, fresh air and exercise, and a little bit of self-care and pampering, wherever you spend your December.
Wishing you all Joyeuses Fêtes… and Happy Holidays!
Love Jena x