Joyeux Noel


Notre Dame Cathedral
Virgin Records, Champs Elysees
Column at Place Vendome______________
Printemps Department store side walk decorations
Laduree on the Champs Elysees
Christmas markets with view of Eiffel Tower
Christmas market in Paris

Joyeux Noel - Merry Christmas

     Well, the month has flown by and Christmas eve is here.  I hope everyone has enjoyed the photo's of Christmas in Paris over the last few weeks.  They were pretty, but they can't tell the whole story.  Paris is a large city and is composed of a diverse collection of neighborhoods.  The scenes vary from the elaborate and glorious, to the simple and understated.  There are markets full of shoppers, but there are also regally dressed chapels and cathedrals proudly reminding the passersby to not forget the origin and meaning of the holiday.  You can hear orchestral music and pipe organs pealing from some churches and, if your're in the area of La Madeleine church at just the right time, you may catch a free Christmas concert by a choir from one of the great cathedrals of Europe.  Last year I was fortunate enough to visit La Madeleine when a large and formidable children's choir from Britain was performing.  It was amazing and beautiful.
     If the French patisseries, with all their fantastic desserts, weren't Parisian enough for you, then you should see them at Christmas. They really know how to sweeten-up the holidays.  Even the candy shops specializing in macaroons have decorated their windows and made large christmas trees from stacked confections.  It looks like an elegant, Christmas version of Willy Wonka's factory.  It's funny how the chocolate shops and bread stores are doing pretty much the same things as usual, but the smells coming from their doors seem to be so much more special when the streets are lit by Christmas lights and there are decorations in the windows.  
     The holiday season is also a great time to shop for Christmas ornaments and uniquely french gift items that aren't usually sold until Christmas time comes around.  Shopping is made twice as fun when you have a couple of glasses of warm, mulled wine while out and about.  You can also ride on one of the dinner cruises or visit a music club aboard one of the barges on the river.  It's a perfect time to sit in a restaurant and enjoy a glass of kir royal or champagne to toast the season.  There are bound to be special desserts on the menus for the holidays.  Go ahead - live it up. It's Christmas and you can walk-off the calories tomorrow.
     Whether you're into ice skating, as I wrote in my last post, or maybe a concert or movie, there are always things to do in Paris.  Some venues will be living in the moment and will offer a full holiday experience, but others will be going about their business in routine fashion.  Nevertheless, you will undoubtedly feel how special it is to be in Paris at Christmas.  The charm and beauty of Paris is amplified during the holidays. People seem to be happier, and the sights and sounds of a Parisian Christmas can lift the worst mood. 
     I really hope that the photo's have given you an idea of just how exceptional it is to be in Paris for Christmas, but wherever you are this year, we wish the best for you and your family.  We hope you have a safe and happy holiday and a very Merry Christmas.  When I write my post next week, the countdown will be on for New Years  (St. Sylvestre) celebrations in Paris.  Till then, JOYEUX NOEL.  Mimi


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