Christmas in Paris

I guess after almost 2 weeks I’m fully rested from my holiday with my parents, so over the next few days I’ll post about our Christmas adventures!

I met them in Paris on Christmas Eve and we went out almost right away to see the famous window displays at the original Galeries Lafayette (kind of like a Bloomingdales equivalent).  This year was the 100th anniversary of the store, and Louis Vuitton designed the displays.  We also went inside to see the Swarvoski Christmas tree, which is 70 feet tall and has over 5,000 crystal stars!

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Dancing penguins in the display window

Dancing penguins in the display window

Flamingos

Flamingos

 

A dog wearing headphones

A dog wearing headphones

LEMURS

LEMURS

We found a nice little Catholic Church called Sainte Etienne du Mont for 11pm mass on Christmas Eve.  It was small, but really pretty, and the mass was in French.

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On Christmas Day we spent the morning/early afternoon at the Eiffel Tower, walking around and taking a bunch of pictures.  We found a giant Christmas market that we walked through with delicious looking food and pastries and souvenirs and art.  Interesting fact: the Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris and was almost taken down in 1909.  It was saved by its use as a telecommunication tower.  Also, the Eiffel Tower sinks 6 inches in the winter!

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We went to Christmas lunch at Chez Clement, which I would definitely recommend.  Mom and I split the ravioli with wilted leeks for an appetizer, while Dad opted for French onion soup.  For the main course, I got the duck confit, Dad got the beef rotisserie plate, and Mom got the hanger beef.  We all got coffee and crème brulée for dessert.  It was a perfect meal, slow and leisurely, perfect portions, a nice atmosphere, and great company 🙂

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Mmm creme brulee for dessert :)

Mmm creme brulee for dessert 🙂

After lunch, we walked to Notre Dame.  This year was the 850th anniversary, so they were televising the masses and goings-on around Notre Dame.  Interesting fact: The largest bell in Notre Dame’s bell tower is named “Emmanuel.” It was cast in 1631, and weighs over 28,000 pounds!  Then we walked down the Pont de l’Archeveche and saw all the love padlocks, a “custom” in several countries by which padlocks are affixed to a fence, gate, bridge or similar public fixture by sweethearts to symbolize their everlasting love.

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Love padlocks

Love padlocks

After that, we took the metro to the Arc de Triomphe and started walking down the Champs Elysée, which was crazy busy!  But the lights were gorgeous.  We walked past another giant Christmas market with all kinds of carnival food and souvenirs.  We finally ended at the Place de la Concorde.  Interesting fact: Each corner of the octagonal square of the Place de la Concorde features a statue representing a French city, including Lyon, Marseille, Bordeaux, Lille, Strasbourg, Rouen, Nantes and Brest.  In the center stands the 3,200-years-old Obelisk of Luxor, which is a pink granite column weighing 220 tons and with a height of 23 meters that comes from the Egyptian temple of Luxor.

 

Looking down the Champs Elysee towards the Arc de Triomphe

Looking down the Champs Elysee towards the Arc de Triomphe

Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde

When we got back to the hotel, we Skyped Cat, Mel, and CJ and said hi to the family at home! J  It was certainly a different Christmas than I’ve ever experienced, but it was a good one 🙂

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French word of the day:
manchot (ma-SHOW)- penguin
Il y avait des manchots qui portaient des sacs à mains dans une vitrine aux Galeries Lafayette!
There were penguins carrying handbags in a window display at the Galeries Lafayette !

 

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