A December Day in Paris

Ah, Paris! The history, the architecture, the food, the wine. Window shopping on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees during Christmas time, spending an afternoon in the Louvre, and stopping for hot cocoa and macarons in tiny corner patisseries. Paris in December is freezing, but magical. The winter grey skies offset the lights of the city and make it all the more cozy to sip wine in the corners of tiny bistros.

I have to admit, I was a skeptic before experiencing Paris for myself. Being a bit of a rebel, I didn’t want to fall in love with the city the way everyone seems to. I like my travel a bit more adventurous and rugged, not so pristine and beautiful. Being married to an Italian didn’t help Paris’ cause. I came to the city expecting glitz and glam, but thought to myself, “There will be no energy there, no rough underbelly.” But somewhere between walking the among the 17th century buildings, eating sauce-laden dishes, and drinking excellent wine, the city began to grow on me. There was a young, hip vibe mixed in with the old and historic–a thread of something seedy among the crisp, clean designer shops and Michelin starred restaurants. I felt there was more to Paris than meets the eye, and that’s what makes me fall in love with a city.

I’m here to tell you that there is such a thing as love at first travel. Spend a day in Paris and you will find out for yourself.

Bon Matin! Macaroons. Tour Eiffel.

Your day begins early, and you leave your hotel to joing the hustle and bustle of Parisians on their way to work…or wherever it is they go to between caffe au laits and long lunches. You take your coffee and croissant in a cute patisserie, with a side of macarons. Because you can’t spend a day in Paris without macarons.

Your day begins early, and you leave your hotel to joing the hustle and bustle of Parisians on their way to work…or wherever it is they go to between caffe au laits and long lunches. You take your coffee and croissant in a cute patisserie, with a side of macarons. Because you can’t spend a day in Paris without macarons.

I like the Eiffel Tower because it looks like steel and lace. -Natalie Lloyd

Once at the top, you’re amazed by the view. The white buildings sprawl as far as the eye can see and are only interrupted by the winding Seine.

He who contemplates the depths of Paris is seized with vertigo.
Nothing is more fantastic. Nothing is more tragic.
Nothing is more sublime. -Victor Hugo

After tearing yourself away from the breathtaking view, you cross the Seine over the Pont d’Lena and walk through the Jardins de Trocadero. You continue on Avenue Kleber, where you find a small bistro and enjoy a delicious cheese plate, paired with a glass of wine and, of course, too much baguette. After your refresh, you continue your walk until you hit the L’Arc de Triomphe.

 

L’Arc. Jardins. Louvre.

Moving east around the roundabout, you begin your walk down the famous Avenue de Champs-Elysees. You window shop the world’s top designers and stop at small roadside vendors before continuing on past the Grand Palais to reach the end of the avenue at Place de Concorde.

After admiring the 75 foot tall obelisk that once guarded the Luxor temple in Egypt, you take a ride on the Grande Rou to enjoy another view of the city. Continuing your stroll, you walk through the Jardin des Tuileries to reach the Louvre, and spend the afternoon admiring the best art collection in the world.

After your afternoon ingesting culture, it’s time to ingest something more nourishing. And what is more nourishing to the soul than a hot waffle, fresh off the griddle? You enjoy the sweet street treat while making your way to the famous island on the Seine, Isle de la Cite, to see where the city began.

 

Cathedrale. Seine. Place Vendome.

The island of Isla de la Cite houses the historic Notre Dame Cathedral. Famous for the exterior’s flying buttresses, the interior is humbling, a little creepy, and a lot breathtaking. You make your way around each alcove, taking in the medieval architecture and surprisingly unorganized shrines and relics. You begin to understand why people have been in awe of this building for nearly a thousand years.

A walk across the Seine take you back to the Jardin des Toulieries and through the Place Vendome, stopping for a look at the Vendome Column, and up Rue de la Paix to finally reach the Galeries Lafayette.

 

Shop. Drop. Eat.

At the Galeries Lafayette department store you do some serious wallet damage. It’s easy to get lost in the massive labyrinth and puts any other “mall” to shame. But after trekking the city and spending next month’s rent on a pair of shoes, it’s time to celebrate the end of the day the only way you would in France–with an extravagant meal.

Everything ends this way in France – everything. Weddings, christenings, duels, burials, swindlings, diplomatic affairs -everything is a pretext for a good dinner. — Jean Anouilh

You hail a taxi and head to the Hotel du Louvre, where you are seated at the Brasserie du Louvre. Oysters, duck confit, and crepes are favorites, and you end dinner with a little creme brulee and Grand Marnier. After dinner it’s off to bed, a well deserved rest after a long day of touring the magical city of Paris.


Bonne nuit!