Top 10 Places to try Vin Chaud in Paris at Christmas
So you are lucky enough to find yourself considering spending Christmas in Paris. What a wonderful idea. The weather is as you may expect: cold and rainy, with the occasional fall of snow if you stick around until January. Regardless, Paris during the Christmas season is absolute magic. The lights, the decorations, the markets and the Vin Chaud!
Traditionally a winter drink, best sipped just after a trip on the ski slopes, Vin Chaud is a unique alcoholic beverage that is served hot. Made from red wine and brandy, Vin Chaud gets its distinct flavour from infused spices such as cinnamon, cloves and star anise. A zest of orange peel adds a citrusy zing to complete the flavour explosion. Let’s have a look at the Top 10 Places to try Vin Chaud at Christmas, in Paris.
1. The Abbesses Christmas Market in Montmatre
The best place to try Vin Chaud at Christmas in Paris, is hands down at any one of the 15-20 Christmas markets that pop up around the city at Christmas time. One of the smaller and quieter Christmas markets, the Abbesses Christmas Market is my favourite. Located in the historically arty area of Montmartre, this authentic little market is perfect for the whole family and will not disappoint. A guided walking tour of this area will ensure you don’t miss out on any of the scenes and stories that inspired Romantics including Pablo Picasso and Edith Piaf.
OPENING HOURS: late November 2019 to 1 January 2020, 10am – 5pm
ADDRESS: Next to the Abbesses Butte Montmartre Métro, Montmartre
Metro Station: Abbesses Butte Montmartre
2. Vin Chaud at the Alsatian Christmas Market
Alsace is a small wine region in the North East of France, which borders Germany. From early December up until shortly before Christmas, the Alsatian Christmas Market comes to Paris. As you can imagine, being neighbours with Germany, the food and drink of Alsace is a fusion of French and German flavours. The Vin Chaud on offer at this market will give you a different take on the traditional French version, sometimes incorporating raisins, ginger or juniper.
OPENING HOURS: 4 Dec to 20 Dec 10am to 7/8pm
ADDRESS: Place du 11 novembre 1918 75010 Paris 10
Metro Station: Gare de L’Est
Now that we have the top 2 markets covered, here are some of the best cafes, restaurants and brasseries for you to head to, to try Vin Chaud at Christmas.
3. Cafe Saint Regis
This Art Nouveau style cafe will draw you in with its’ charm and keep you there with its delightful dishes and authentic Vin Chaud. Minutes walk from the Notre Dame and situated on a little island on the Seine, this central spot is highly worth a visit.
OPENING HOURS: Mon to Sun – 7am to 2am
ADDRESS: 6 Rue Jean du Bellay, 75004 Paris, France
Metro Station: Sully-Morland, Cite, Saint Paul
4. Vin Chaud at Cafe Hugo
Named after the Romantic French writer, Victor Hugo, this is a cafe not to be missed. And with Vin Chaud worthy of literary acclaim, you could easily sip many a night away here. Right on the Place de Vosges, this is the perfect spot to warm up after a stroll through the 400 year old square. A free guided walking tour of the Marais region will take you through the square, painting pictures of Paris at the time of Victor Hugo.
OPENING HOURS: Monday to Sunday – 7am to 2am
ADDRESS: 22 Place des Vosges, 75004 Paris, France
Metro Station: Chemin Vert, Bréguet – Sabin, Saint-Paul
5. Brasserie Lipp
If you are looking for a traditional dining and drinking experience, Brasserie Lipp is a must visit. The restaurant has been in establishment since 1880, so it is safe to say they know what they are doing when it comes to French cuisine. The same goes for their Vin Chaud, which is très magnifique!
OPENING HOURS: Mon to Sun – 9am to 12:45am
ADDRESS: 151 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France
Metro Station: Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Mabillon
6. Café de Flore
This typically Parisian café, also around 140 years old, is said to have hosted to many well known creative minds. From Descartes to Quentin Tarantino and Yves Saint Laurent, if you are looking for artistic inspiration (at the bottom of your Vin Chaud glass), you are bound to find it here!
Remember that for Café de Flore, and most others, this is only served during the winter months, and is sometimes not offered on the menu for warmer seasons.
OPENING HOURS: Monday – Sunday, 7:30am – 1:30am
ADDRESS: 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75006 Paris, France
Metro Station: Saint-Germain-des-Prés
The most millennial location on this list, Bisou is one of the trendiest spots you could visit to hang out and feel like a local. There is no menu at Bisou. You simply tell the waiters what it is you would like, and they make it for you – with a twist. While you may not get a typical Vin Chaud here, you won’t be disappointed!
OPENING HOURS: Monday – Sunday, 6pm – 2am
ADDRESS: 15 Boulevard du Temple, 75003 Paris, France
Metro Station: Oberkampf, Filled du Calvaire
8. Gravity Bar
A swanky cocktail bar 3 minutes from the Canal Saint Martin, Vin Chaud at Gravity will give you exactly what you weren’t expecting, but what you will love anyway. Creativity is key here and this is what you will pay for. The stylish, modern interior might not keep you warm, though their take on Vin Chaud surely will.
OPENING HOURS: Tuesday – Saturday, 6pm to 2am
ADDRESS: 44 Rue des Vinaigriers, 75010 Paris, France
Metro Station: Gare de L’Est, Jacques Bonsergent
9. La Tartine
This little cafe is about as Parisian as they come. Whether indoors or outdoors sipping on your Vin Chaud, you won’t go wrong here. The apple tart is another winter must-try from this quaint little joint.
OPENING HOURS: Mon to Sun – 8am to 11pm
ADDRESS:10 24 Rue de Rivoli, 75004 Paris, France
Metro Station: Saint Paul
10. Try DIY Vin Chaud
If you have already walked Paris flat and feel like a wintery night in may be necessary, do not panic! Vin Chaud is very simple to make yourself, provided you have a stove or hotplate and a pan at your disposal. On your way home, make a quick stop at the local grocer to grab the ingredients. Allow them to simmer together and infuse over heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, pour yourself a glass and bask in the festive aromas of your DIY Vin Chaud, while enjoying the night in.
The ingredients you need are as follows:
1.5 l of red wine (bordeaux, bourgogne or pinot noir)
250 g of brown sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
2 x sticks of cinnamon
2 x star anise
2 x cloves
1 chunk of chopped ginger
1 pinch of nutmeg