Christmas in Paris is pretty wonderful

Jan 11th, 2019, 10:32 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Christmas in Paris is pretty wonderful

My partner and I decided to celebrate my 70th and christmas in Paris. So we did.

ARRIVAL DAY

We rented an apartment near the Pantheon from VRBO, which ended being a good location for us. The apartment had a great view of the Eiffel Tower and Invalides. (I didn't realize that the Tower and Invalides are both illuminated at night, and that the Eiffel Tower sparkles with blinking lights on the hour (I guess only over the holidays?).

We had a few suitcases and decided to splurge and take a taxi. I'm not sure what happened, but we got placed with a driver who tried to charge us 125 Euros and not the specified charge of 55. I guess I will have to work this out with my credit card company. (To go back to the airport, we lined up a driver from ATS Shuttle ([email protected])-our driver was "Upali" from Sri Lanka who spoke English-it cost 60 euros.)

We paid for a personal introduction to our apartment (20 euro) to learn how to use the washer, phone and TV. It was great having the refrigerator, microwave and washer.

The day we arrived we both slept for about 4 hours from 1-5. I then got up to explore the neighborhood, and my partner enjoyed the apartment. It was unusually warm when we arrived-generally in the 50s the first week during the day and the 40s at night. We slept with the windows open and enjoyed that a lot.

SECOND DAY

I got up and explored the neighborhood and spent some time in Notre Dame.

We went to "fish" for lunch (at 69 rue de seine). We both enjoyed the lentil soup. I also had the blanquette de veau, which also was quite good.
We enjoyed walking around the neighborhood. We spent some time in Saint Germain des Pres. They turned on the lights in the church for a while and I took some photos. The interior of the church has been painted various bright colors, I guess in an attempt to recreate what it was like centuries ago We enjoyed an overpriced mousse and hot chocolate at Café deux Magots. .

I investigated the bus system in Paris for this trip. I decided that we should take a bus and not the Metro whenever possible. So we were tired and (after I bought my first carnet of metro tickets at the metro stop) took a bus back to the Cluny stop. (at almost all bus stops there is a map that shows where the particular bus stops.)

Rosemary is pretty interest in clothes and is surprised how casually most of the Parisians dress.

THIRD DAY

There is a library St. Genvieve in our neighborhood designed by Gustav Eiffel. I have wanted to look at it, but access for other than student is restricted.

Today is Musee d'Orsay. so we had a late breakfast at one of the neighborhood cafés with a view of the Pantheon and then caught our bus on rue des ecoles-i think it was a 63, Solferino stop. Getting into the museum was not difficult-perhaps a 10 minutes wait.. It was wonderful just being able to wander around. My partner and I agreed to meet in the main hall in 2 hours. The paintings and sculptures were spectacular of course. I also enjoyed the art nouveau furniture section. I then discovered an elegant room for ceremonial events.

After I reconnected with my partner we went to the restaurant It as very nicely decorated- a very formal room. We enjoyed a snack and the view. Not to be missed! (by the way we bought a discounted combined ticket for d'Orsay and l'Orangerie)

FOURTH DAY

We decide to try a local bistro in our neighborhood for lunch-Bistro du Perigord on rue st. Jacques. this ended up being one of our favorite haunts. Terrific food, very nice proprietor. ON the first day I had the chevre salad and the beef bourguignon. Both were terrific.

We then caught a bus for l"Orangerie. We went to the Assembly Nationale stop near Place de la Concorde. As we were walking toward l'Orangerie, some scam artist tried to do the "look I found a gold ring" scam with us. I was surprised at how strange it was. Could anyone really be fooled by that?

There was a display about the history of the paintings, and that they were not very popular until the 1950s, when abstract art become more the rage.

We took a bus back to our apartment and got ready to go to 'le coupe chou." It is very close to our apartment. It is comprised of a number of small rooms, with fireplaces in almost all rooms. I had the tournedos and enjoyed it.

FIFTH DAY

It is interesting being in Paris at Christmas. there is much less of a commercial frenzy. Not a lot of decorations, not a lot of christmas carols, not a lot of emphasis upon __ shopping days until christmas. I really enjoyed the difference.


We wandered around Paris today and ended up at "Au 35" on rue Jacob for dinner. We have not yet become parisian in that we seem to want to eat dinner too early. When we arrived at a little after 7 it was empty.
then it began to fill up at around 8.

SIXTH DAY-CHRISTMAS EVE

it is getting colder.

I take the 87 bus to near the Eiffel tower to look at the art nouveau building at 29 ave. Rapp. A pretty wonderful building.

We then walk toward Notre Dame. the whole square in front of the cathedral is closed off by police. they are searching everyone 's bags and the inside of coats. Not sure if this is what happens every Christmas, or if there is a specific concern this year.

We walk to Ile St. Louis and there are many people on the street.

A word about the electric scooters. they are everywhere. People ride them on the street and sometimes on the sidewalk. .

We walk around are area of Saint Germain des pres and find a restaurant that look good for a Christmas eve meal.

DAY SEVEN-CHRISTMAS

I have heard of the organ at St. Severin, so I go to the 11AM mass and hope that there will be some organ playing after the mass.. I am not disappointed! The organ is amazing. The organist played for at least 20 minutes after the service.

As opposed to the US,there are a number of shops open on Christmas day. I buy a bagette. Our local grocery store is open. We go to our new favorite spot for our Christmas meal, the Bistro du Perigord. While there, we meet an Australian woman who has lived in paris for 40 years. We learn that a number of people now living in Paris who have come from England and Australia are having a Christmas get-together.

EIGHTH DAY

Today is to be devoted to Invalides. We take bus 63 to the Invalides stop, which is right at pont neuf, what an amazing bridge, with beautiful statutes and lamps.

We first go to Napoleon's tomb. there is a viewing area on ground level from which you can look down and see the casket, A number of people wee throwing coins toward the casket. No idea what that was about.

We then toured the exhibit about the first and second world wars. All Brexit voters should have to tour that before they vote..

Another dinner at le coupe chou.

All in all, a fabulous trip. My love affair with Paris continues.




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youngtom2910 is offline  
Jan 11th, 2019, 12:26 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 1,234
Nice report, youngtom2910. Always enjoyable to read about wonderful experiences in Paris! We'll have to curb our enthusiasm until our September trip. Sorry about your getting "overcharged" so much by the taxi driver for your trip into Paris! So far, we've never experienced that. Hope it's only a "one off" for you.
tomarkot is online now  
Jan 19th, 2019, 06:00 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 2,059
My brother had a cab driver last Saturday that dropped them blocks from their apartment due to the protest which was not anywhere close to their apartment. Just used it as an excuse. They used uber after that in the evenings if far from the apartment with good results.
Macross is online now  
Jan 19th, 2019, 06:52 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 2,453
I am sorry for your bad experience with the taxi but I am glad you had a good time celebrating your birthday and Christmas in Paris.
cafegoddess is offline  
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