Hiding with a “warm winter” with best winter city breaks in Europe
One of my French professors told me that he usually waited for winter to… sleep! Winter is his favorite season for turning out the outside world, snuggling up in a secluded spot, and sleeping without being bothered by anyone. “Sleep easily to compensate for mornings when the brain was constantly fighting fatigue!”
My friend Charlotte extols the virtues of winter, despite the fact that her winter activities (as a girl from a tropical region) make me shudder. Every morning, she reads novels on the snow-covered slopes of the magnificent Alps. Consider reading a book on the mountain as the first rays of sunlight begin to brighten the snowy countryside. What a feat! And, of course, you are aware that it takes visitors half a day to reach your planet. Every year, Charlotte travels around 5 hours from Alsace to her hostel in Combloux hamlet. She is so familiar with the area that she recognizes every neighbor, road, and restaurant. And, regardless of where we are in that location, she can tell us a few anecdotes about it.
While Charlotte must go far to enjoy her winter, another of my friends, Cathy, prefers to spend her time at home in a peaceful community in the Jura mountains on the Swiss border. Cathy decides to stay in a distant location since her family does not have the opportunity to get out in the terrible winter weather. It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to spend time together before her children grow up and move away. That comes as no surprise from Cathy, who is the most compassionate French lady I’ve encountered.
Whenever she knows I’m going back to Vietnam, she always prepares modest presents for the orphanage I frequently visit. She occasionally sends me a bag full of extra toothbrushes and toothpaste from her dental practice. Colorful pens and tiny purses she has created are sometimes given as presents. Cathy has taught me how to create my first macarons from our first encounter, with the message “No matter how busy you are, spend time baking cakes for your spouse and kids on the weekend!”
The further I live from Europe, the more fortunate I feel for having had these amazing friends, being near to them, and loving every bit of winter there. After all, life can take away the people I care about or compel us to leave familiar locations, but the good times we spent will last forever.
My first Christmas tree was a 50cm plastic pine tree, which I still have. We saved money and went to a Kruidvat secondhand shop to acquire it. For students like us at the time, watching TV with a cup of hot chocolate and marshmallows was luxury, let alone having a Christmas tree in the house.
One year later, instead of wasting 20 euros on a plastic tree, I decided to make my own out of books. The trunk contained Oprah: A Biography by Kitty Kelley, 608 pages long. Thinner ones were placed on top as an appeal to passers-by, with the words “Hey, read me please, I’m so thin.”
Do you think you’ve read enough books? Or do you require more motivation to read all of the books you’ve already purchased? Why don’t you do what I did and “plant” a Christmas tree? Set a one-year deadline to “harvest” it before “planting” another the following year. I like to think of these books as unexpected gifts to place on the Christmas tree. They encourage me to peel away all of the wrapping paper in order to discover out what they are. They, on the other hand, advise us to be patient and wait till midnight.
Winter is appealing because it provides us with something to look forward to. When you’re going through the glistening streets, keep an eye out for light dances. Listen to the Galeries Lafayette retail center behind the glass recount its magical stories. Wait for the fragrance of chestnuts to fill the town square. Wait for your friends’ jokes to make you laugh out loud while eating fondue Comtoise (cheese hot pot in Franche-Comté). Wait for the store owner, who can’t recall our name amid the hundreds of people at the Christmas fair, to pour us a glass of handmade apple cider. And, like other individuals dating in the winter, wait to be with your loved ones.
During the holiday season, travelers and Parisians alike enjoy visiting prominent retail complexes to view the glass displays. Among them are Printemps Haussmann, Galeries Lafayette, BHV, and le Bon Marché. The most recent collections and intriguing people may be found behind bright glass window panes.
Must-try European winter cuisine
+ Foie gras is one of the most popular dishes for French families on special occasions. This dish is fatty but not cloying. Foie gras is best served with bread or sautéd with fruit sauce and baked green apples.
+ Mulled wine is a favorite drink of Europeans, especially Germans. You can savor a cup of fragrant spicy mulled wine with oranges, cinnamon, anise, and cloves at the Christmas fairs.