Christmas in Paris: Pure Magic
Mists slowly rise up from the river.
Confined by stone walls.
Fresh baked baguettes are too hot to pull apart with bare hands.
Grey clouds rush across the sky, pushed by swirling winds.
The chill causes you to pull your chin deeper into a thick scarf and shove your hands deep into your pockets.
Winter mornings are ethereal in Paris.
Daylight hours are depleted wandering through the Musee D’Orsay.
Each piece is unique.
Each one sucks out small pieces of your soul because that is what they do.
Eyes blur, process and record. There is so much to take in.
Hot crepes filled with gooey cheese and smoked ham provide lasting sustenance for a walk up the hill to Montmartre.
Music wafts through alleyways and around cobblestone corners.
Street artists hawk watercolors and charcoal drawings.
Dusty jacketed books, in muted colors, sit stacked on carts, crates and the sidewalk.
Each one hides a treasure in its cracked yellow paper.
Chilly afternoons are delicious in Paris.
As the sunlight starts to fade the lights flicker on.
Shop windows come alive.
Cakes and candies preen under sparkling lights.
Each one entices the viewer.
In front of Printemps, children line up to take their turn on the walkways trying to catch a glimpse of the window displays.
Wrapped in cotton candy colored coats and adorned with furry muffs and patent shoes, they clamor to see the animated characters come to life.
Each window is filled with characters dancing, flying and moving to the festive holiday music.
After a light dinner in a corner cafe, walking through the lobby of the Le Grand – Paris is a feast for the eyes.
A forest of towering Christmas trees each one dressed in green and red and gold.
Swags of pine boughs adorn each column and balcony, held in place by luscious velvet bows.
From the window in your room the last vestiges of early evening light cast a glow sur La Tour Eiffel as it casts a long shadow across the city.
Keeping watch over the City of Lights.
Just before midnight you sit bundled against the cold, in a rickety wooden chair, in the cathedral that rivals all others.
Suddenly, from the rafters the clear, sweet voices of the choir float, like down, slow and deliberate sending tingles up and down your spine.
Adeste Fideles echoes off the ancient stone.
Back and forth across the expanse the pure voices resonate.
The glory of Christmas in song overwhelms your senses. You can’t help but join in the singing.
Christmas Eve is magical in Paris.
Are you ready to go?
Did you stop reading to go look up plane tickets?
Paris will do that to you. It seeps into your soul. It creeps and crawls into the deep recesses and settles there.
An occasional sight or sound or smell will release little Parisian memories. They will flit and flitter across your mind and minutes later you will find yourself standing with a soapy dish in your hand or a brush held up to stroke your hair, and somehow you’ve lost several minutes to the memories of Paris.
One year, in my rather distant past, I was living and studying in Europe. For the Christmas holiday my mom jumped over the pond (she’s very tall!) and we went on an adventure, crossing three countries by train.
We started in Munich, which is a virtual cornucopia of sights and sounds and smells and luscious, glorious tastes during the Christmas season! I told you about the Christkindlemarkt last week and it was amazing. But as good as it was, it was nothing compared to what was coming at the end of an overnight train ride to the “City of Lights!”
I have been to Paris numerous times in my life and experienced it in different seasons, usually summer. But I can say with out a doubt that Christmas is the time to visit Paris.
Some of my favorite places in and around Paris are:
The Eiffel Tower – If you get to go there with your sweetheart be sure to have your earphones handy with a so you can dance to your favorite song. I can tell you from experience, it doesn’t get any more romantic.
Notre Dame – Any concert is worth attending. The acoustics are divine. The history is overwhelming. The colors of the Rose window are intense.
Montmartre – The view from the hill is amazing and the art and culture in the area can’t be beat. Be sure to stop in a cafe up there. It is a great memory-making experience.
Jardin de Luxembourg – I prefer this garden to many of the other more popular gardens in the city because of the neighborhood quality of the place. Families, workers on their lunch breaks and nannies with children can all be observed here and it’s a lovely place in which to relax and take in Parisian life.
La Defense – This is really a business park, but there are a lot of shops and restaurants and young people seem to hang around here a lot. I like to watch the different people groups here. Urban music and dance can usually be found here in abundance, especially in the summer months.
Can’t get to Paris this year?
Here are some goodies for you. It will be just like you are there!
2. Notre Dame Christmas – Adeste Fideles
Ok THINKING GIRLS, put your headphones on and turn this one up. You know the song – O Come All Ye Faithful – the loudest singing is the choir leader directing the congregation to sing along on the refrain. C’mon and sing a long:
Venite adoremus, venite adoremus,
Venite adoremus, Dominum.
3. Here are some of my photo contributions. Enjoy!!