Tag Archives: Champs-Élysées

Ahhh, Paris!

23 Dec
The City of Light certainly enhances its reputation at Christmas. Unabashedly celebrating the season, the city is bedecked with myriad trees, dangling lights, kitschy windows and shooting stars. Shopping bags and parcels adorn the arms of many as they hurry to prepare for the coming days of merrymaking.
Hardly needs a caption, does it?

Hardly needs a caption, does it?

We took a 3-night stop on our way to London, indulging in a few fine meals and thankfully about 37 kilometers (22 miles) of walking to atone for the excesses. We were also fortunate to meet Portland friends who know Paris well for lunch one day at the elegant and festive Vagenende on Boulevard St. Germain. If you get to Paris and want a romantic splurge, skip the places you find in the tour books and go here. If you want a fine meal in a low-key bistrot, dark and romantic yet casual, the best Boeuf Bourguignon ever is served at La Cave Gourmande in Montmartre. (During our last trip, we had a lot of marginal meals and only a couple of really good ones. This time we had several winners, I am happy to say.)
I am told the after effects of the terrorist events are being felt in some quarters. I understand some of the clubs and fancier places are not very well attended. There are announcements on French TV with actors telling people to join them and go out, as people are apparently staying home in fear. But we saw young people out enjoying the terraces even in the cool weather of December (which for December was not too cold) and the bistrots we ate in were busy, although skewing to the younger market (30-to-40-year-olds). The streets on Saturday were chockablock with shoppers. Security is high and omnipresent.
Three nights and two days is not enough to “do” Paris, but as we spent a week there last March, we did not feel we had to cram in a dozen museums. Instead, we took long walks through the city, two escorted Paris Walks tours (fabulous!), and simply soaked up the atmosphere, viewed the lights, and enjoyed the city. We treated ourselves to a nice boutique hotel in the 7th, and from our room could see the top bit of the Eiffel Tower. As we usually stay in apartments or little B&Bs, this we a holiday treat with daily maid service, a lovely breakfast, and top notch service in a convenient neighborhood.
We are now in London, also unusually warm, but buzzing with holiday activity. More to come, but probably after Christmas. So for now, let us wish you a simple but heartfelt Happy Christmas! 
%d bloggers like this: