having usually always visited paris in the springtime, it was a bit of a novelty to find it raining for much of our weekend, which presented it’s own unique set of challenges for someone whose default for exploring a city is on foot. in between some sudden bursts of brilliant sunshine (see the snapshot of notre dame below as evidence), my sister and i found ourselves confronted with dark threatening clouds for most of the trip, so needed a few “rainy-day haunts” to offer us shelter from the paris precipitation.
so i thought i’d put together a list of my favourite places seek shelter in paris for y’all, beyond the obvious tourist-trap museums:
– CATHÉDRALE NOTRE DAME DE PARIS, PLACE JOHN-PAUL II –
ok, so i know notre dame is pretty touristy, but i’d never actually ventured inside before, despite the number of times i’ve visited the city. this time around i did go inside, to escape a sudden downpour and i must say, no matter how stunning the façade, nothing can prepare you for the grand scale of the interior. we visited during remembrance sunday morning prayers which gave the atmosphere inside the cathedral an additional charge, but the exquisite beauty of the stained glass windows, the intricate stone carvings and highly-arched gothic architecture will simply blow you away.
– SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY, 37 RUE DE LA BÛCHERIE –
surely the most famous bookshop in paris, shakespeare & company is the perfect english language bookstore to while away an hour or two while the heavens pour down outside. as well as being stacked floor-to-ceiling with literature, the store also plays host to a wide array of literary workshops and masterclasses, philosophical reading groups and intimate weekly readings in the upstairs library.
– DA ROSA EPICURIE-CANTINE, 62 RUE DE SEINE –
a must-visit foodie haven in the heart of the 6th arrondissement, da rosa is one of those places that you visit once and then cannot help but return to time and time again. i was introduced to da rosa on my last trip to paris and it was definitely high on my list of places to introduce my sister to, in part because of the joys of their ail doux; pickled garlic! if you have plenty of time to spare (and the rain shows no signs of easing up) then i thoroughly recommend ordering a selection of the tapas dishes to share, particularly the jambom culatello di zibello and the burrata, which i sampled on my last trip. this time round we both opted for the house risotto, which i can equally recommend as truly delicious!
– ANGELINA SALON DE THÉ, 226 RUE DE RIVOLI –
famous for it’s rich and velvety chocolat a l’ancienne dit l’africain and mont blanc dessert (which i can confirm are both to-die-for), angelina can often become over-run with tourists leading to a huuuge line out the door of people waiting to be seated. if you manage to get there early enough the tearoom offers a wonderfully chic hideout from the rain, but if not then head past the hoards of people queuing and into the shop next door to pick up your macarons and hot chocolate to-go. we took ours across the street and into the jardin du tuileries as the rain was easing off at this point – head for the grand bassin octagonal in the centre and take in the view all the way up the champs élysées to the arc de triomphe.
– PRINTEMPS & GALERIES LAFAYETTE, BOULEVARD HAUSSMANN –
the place i most often find myself taking shelter from the rain in paris are the two grand department stores on boulevard haussmann; printemps and galeries lafayette. november and december are the perfect time to visit the stores as they both have their christmas decorations up and go all out to celebrate the festive season. this year printemps’ displays are sponsored by prada and were switched on by gwyneth paltrow, whilst galeries lafayette’s celebrate the 30th anniversary of swiss watch makers swatch, with a 4-metre high christmas tree under the dome in the great atrium, which comes to animated life once an hour – it’s pretty spectacular, let me tell you!
and did you know, both stores also have roof-top terraces that are freely accessible to the public, offering unimpeded 360 degree views across the city. we snuck out under an umbrella to take a few snaps – even in the rain the city is breathtaking beautiful, don’t you agree?