The bah-humbug’s guide to Christmas

A list of possible Christmas escapes might include Afghanistan, Azerbaijan or Timbuctoo...You could go somewhere a little closer, like Paris where the cultured Parisians are too chic for 'Jingle Bells' or Santa’s reindeer.Check yourself into the Mama Shelter out there in the 20th just beside the Père Lachaise cemetary where Edith, Oscar and Jim are taking a snooze.

The Mama Shelter is Philip Stark’s latest creation, this is the sexiest, coolest hotel in Paris and there’s not a string of tinsel to be seen – the brightest things hanging around are the rockstar look-alikes.

The roads around Paris are empty of traffic, there’s no queue to get into the galleries – and no, that still doesn’t mean you should go and see the Mona Lisa - it’ll disappoint. You'd be better off going up to the top floor of the Musee D’Orsay for a stunning view of the city and one of the world’s finest collections of Impressionist paintings in the world.

Pick up some surrealist poetry in Shakespeare & Co. then find the essential snug down Bellville and pour yourself a large cognac.

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