I was lucky enough to be sent to the Netherlands again this year for business, so I routed my return through Paris and spent 5 wonderful nights there! I kept a diary while there, so I'll basically copy and paste my notes (which may sometimes be in present tense).
I stayed at a perfect AirBnB apartment. I almost hate to post it and attract attention, but here you go: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/555028 It's located in the 6th arrondissement, near rue de Buci and the Seine, on an adorable old street full of intriguing art galleries. The building itself dates back probably to the 17th century, and is very charming and quiet. I walked almost everywhere, and the price could not be beat.
My trip took place 2 weeks after the attacks. It felt strange to make a frivolous touristic trip while the country was in mourning - and I worried about another attack. But I ultimately decided to stick with it, because canceling seemed worse, both for me and for France. The city was not as quiet as I expected, and things were back to normal in many ways. People sat at cafes, visited museums and exhibitions, went out to restaurants, and filled the metro. There were heavily-armed guards everywhere, which frankly was a reassuring sight. Bags were checked upon entering any museum, large store, and some restaurants (like Laduree). Passports were checked upon exiting the train from Netherlands, despite the Schengen zone.
But other than that, Paris felt like Paris. It ended up being a beautiful, wintry, relaxing vacation. As the city of lights, Paris really gets to shine at this time of year - the nights are long, Christmas lights are up, and all the important buildings and famous monuments are softly floodlit. Walking down the streets at blue sunset, or after dark, was as gorgeous (or more so) than admiring the architecture during the day.
Anyway, I'll stop rambling for now, and will come back to post my blow-by-blow!
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