paris, france - christmas in the city of light

We took a cheap high-speed train to Paris as soon as I'd submitted my final exam for the semester and Alex's company went on winter break for two weeks (oh, Europe).

We did Paris properly: we stayed in an ancient fifth floor walk-up with floors even more crooked than those in the basement ("garden") apartment I lived in with my pit bull in Brooklyn; we ate French onion soup, pain perdu, mussels, foie gras, croque madames, sardines, a très trendy burger; we washed it all down with Champagne and good red wine and absinthe and grog galore; we shopped in the Marais and stood atop the Arc de Triomphe and climbed up and down in Montmartre.

When we boarded our train back to Switzerland at Gare de Lyon, it was with over-stuffed stomachs, exhausted feet, slight hangovers, and suitcases packed to the brim with new books, clothes and jewelry.

Streets of Paris, France in Winter

Rooftops of Paris, France

Our fifth-floor walk-up afforded us terrific views of those classic, moody Parisian rooftops.

Rooftops of Paris, France

Rooftops of Paris, France

Winter in Paris, France

Roof of Printemps in Paris, France

Academie Nationale de Musique in Paris, France

Streets of Paris, France in winter

I'll always love over-saturated, blue-sky and bright yellow sun, mid-summer photographs the most, but there was a dramatic moodiness to Paris's blue and cream palette. Paris wears winter well. 

Think: California surf babe vs. moody all-black thin artiste waif. Typically I'm team surf babe all day, but artiste waif won me over completely the few days we were here.

Streets of Paris, France in winter

Marais rooftops, Paris, France

Streets of Montmartre in Paris in winter

Doors of Paris

Stairs in Montmartre, Paris

Montmartre is splattered with staircases leading to and fro, making you feel you really earned that croissant with extra butter and nutella.

Marais, Paris

Place de la Republique November attacks memorial, Paris

Our apartment was right near the Place de la République, where there was a tremendous memorial to the victims of the attacks that had occurred about one month prior. It was profoundly emotional to stand in front of this gorgeous memorial and emblem of love, peace and solidarity.

Some argue that it is inappropriate to gallivant around the city drinking Champagne and eating pain perdu and shopping the city dry, but I'll make the same argument that I made when we ended up in Greece during the referendum: these are the times the city most needs our solidarity, support, and, most importantly, dollars. Paris thrives on tourism, and canceling plans affects the vast number of Parisians who make their living off vacationers. Read a more eloquent version of this argument made by a Parisian here.

Palais Royal in Paris in winter
PALAIS ROYAL

Palais Royal in Paris in winter

Palais Royal in Paris in winter

Streets of Montmartre, Paris in winter

Streets of Montmartre, Paris in winter

Streets of Paris in winter

Cafe in Paris in winter

This cafe sits just outside the entrance to the Palais Royal; on our way into the Palais I snapped a picture, and on our way out Alex and I nabbed the table nestled right up against the Christmas tree.

Cafe in Paris in winter
Our neighbor (well-dressed in a tuxedo-collar dog collar), waiting patiently for crumbs.

Champagne at cafe in Paris in winter

A and I promptly ordered Champagne.


Champagne at cafe in Paris in winter

And a croque madame and a quiche to soak up the bubbles, naturally. Lovely view of the square as we noshed away.

Cafe in Paris in winter

Le Consulat cafe in Montmartre, Paris

Streets of Montmartre, Paris in winter

Sacre Coeur, Paris
SACRE COEUR

Sacre Coeur, Paris

Architecture in Paris, France

Tall Handsome Scientist Fiance beaming on Pont Neuf. I will never not scream out lines from Bourne when this bridge's name is spoken, sorry for embarrassing you all those times in the past and future Alex.

Pont Neuf in Paris in winter


Mussels moules entrecote dinner at Chez Toinette, Paris, France
CHEZ TOINETTE - 20 RUE GERMAIN PILON

We'd eaten here when we came to Paris two years ago, also at Christmas-time. Alex had been enraptured and couldn't wait to return; I couldn't remember it for the life of me. Second time was much more memorable: those mussels! The man had entrecôte


Mussels moules dinner at Chez Toinette, Paris, France

Molleux at Chez Toinette, Paris, France

Alex's molleux (molten chocolate cake); I had pain perdu (French toast) for the second night in a row. Breakfast for dessert: yes please thanks.

Paris cafe at nighttime
Sitting in this cafe having an absinthe after dinner, I  suddenly said to Alex: "My god! We're surrounded by young people! Young women!" This tells you everything you need to know about Switzerland's night life.

Cafe in Montmartre, Paris in winter

A girl and her grog au rhum (hot lemon water with rum and honey). Sold at every cafe and an absolute delight in the winter.  

Paris's two big box department stores, GALERIES LAFAYETTE and PRINTEMPS both have rooftops with stunning 365' views over the entire city. The stores are right next to each other and the roofs are free and open to the public, so climb up both and choose for yourself which is superior.

View from Printemps roof in Paris

View from Printemps roof in Paris
Us and Eiffel, bien sûr! More from Paris coming next week xx

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