It’s getting cold. Really cold. And when the long cold nights start to draw in, thoughts start to turn to warmer climes…the turquoise sea of the Caribbean, the exotic beauty of Latin America. Holidays in Paris, with its northern European climate, are possibly not top of everyone’s wish list. But by ignoring the French capital during winter, we are ignoring a unique holiday opportunity.Paris is the city of romance. And what could be more romantic than taking a stroll along the Champs Elysees, wrapped up warm against the elements, followed by a delicious chocolat chaud in a cosy cafÃ© on the Boulevard St Germain? Or a day exploring the museums and art galleries for which Paris is so famous, followed by a romantic meal by candlelight in front of a roaring fire in the city that invented the restaurant?Speaking of cultural outings, Paris in winter really doesn’t sleep. Operas, plays and special exhibitions that tail off in summer for the long French holidays are back in full swing during the winter months. How much nicer to visit the Louvre knowing that you don’t have to push through sweaty crowds and brave the firewall of screaming children and the venom of their exhausted parents to get your precious glimpse of the Mona Lisa. In fact, out of tourist season, you will be able to lap up the culture to your heart’s content. And the lack of tourists means stress free access to the gift shops, too!If the idea of walking around Paris in the winter leaves you…well…cold, then how about hiring a car from a company like easyCar and exploring areas around the city which normally get forgotten in the rush to see the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame? A short drive out of the city centre will take you to the historical beauty of Versailles or Chartres. Or if oversized rodents and flying elephants are more your idea of fun, you could always drive to the magical world of Eurodisney – a sure fire way of keeping the kids happy whatever the weather.There’s one other thing. It’s nearly Christmas, and not only is Paris a far better location for picking up presents for your nearest and dearest than a remote Caribbean beach but let’s face it, a trip to Paris will leave you with a lot more spending money as well.Budget airlines such as bmibaby are always good for cheap flights to Europe, but mainstream airlines are also getting in on the act, with companies like British Airways offering great deals as well. Top this off by finding a good deal on a hotel with someone like Hotelnet, and even if you spend a small fortune on wining and dining yourself, you’re still going to be better off than those who have travelled to more exotic locations – and have so many more interesting stories to tell. After all, who wants to spend the whole winter lying on a beach?