If you’re still considering throwing (some) tradition to the wind and getting away from it all this Christmas, you could do worse than take a trip to Paris.
You could also do worse than book your stay at Mama Shelter in the city’s 20th arrondissement. A short distance from the popular Pere-Lachaise (although it may be a little chilly for wandering around this vast cemetery, despite being beautiful when covered in snow), it’s a quirky part of the city and only a short bus or metro ride into the centre.
Designed by Philippe Starck, with loads of ‘East London Chic’ character, Mama Shelter is equal parts private members club, hostel and uber cool bar. The hotel on everybody’s lips in 2012, now is the time if you haven’t yet paid a visit.
With double rooms at a very reasonable 89 euros per night, you will be hard pushed to find better value over the Christmas period.
If you feel like ‘splashing out’ for a weekend with your other half, the ‘Love offer’ from 179 euros includes free breakfast for two and a bottle of champagne; they even throw in a late check-out should you feel like a spot of late night partying.
The constantly buzzy restaurant serves excellent modern dishes, boasts a huge island cocktail bar and regularly plays host to live music and DJs, lending it a party atmosphere most nights. You can even hire the roof terrace (you might want to wait for the summer months for this though) for your own party of up to 18 guests. If you’re looking for something a little more relaxed, the hotel’s more casual Pizzeria serves up the most delicious (and huge!) thin crust pizzas.
You won’t want to leave Mama Shelter but if you feel the need to stretch your legs there is plenty for those who want a touch of Christmas away from home.
There is a plethora of Christmas Markets to visit, such as the traditional Champs-Elysees market, which runs until from November right up until the 6th January, or the Italian market on the Place d’Italie which runs until Christmas Eve, should you need to grab some last minute gifts.
Alternatively why not head down to The European Christmas Village ‘Trocodero on Ice’ where the centre of Paris is temporarily transformed into a ski resort complete with outdoor ice rink, giant igloo and snowmen!
Although many restaurants are closed over the Christmas period, there are ones that will be serving on the big day, such as Justine, located on the Rue de Oberkampf, an intimate bistro where the staff are very friendly and the food comes highly recommended.
If after dinner you fancy venturing down to Pigalle over the festive period, The Moulin Rouge, the Folies Pigalle and Chez Michou will definitely add a little Christmas spice to your trip.
All in all, Mama Shelter makes the perfect base for those wanting to get away from those inevitable family feuds over the Christmas holidays. Whether you want to party with the hip Parisian crowd who nightly fill the hotel’s bar, or take a more leisurely break wandering the streets of Paris, taking in the local Christmas traditions, we recommend booking a weekend away this December.
And if you fancy extending your trip, or making it a post-Christmas visit instead, Mama Shelter are hosting what promises to be a great end to the year with their New Year’s Eve bash. Enjoy a 3-course dinner in the restaurant, which includes our favourite sort of buffet – a dessert buffet, with a choice of 10 different delicious treats! – and a free glass of bubbly at midnight, before heading into the bar to dance the night away with top Parisian DJs Lord Funk and Rocé, playing a mixture of Electro, Hip-Hop, Blues Rock and Funk.
The three-course dinner with a free glass of champagne is €119 per person.
To find out more about staying at Mama Shelter and to book a room go to http://www.mamashelter.com/en/paris/