This marked my fourth trip to Paris. I’d been in spring, summer, fall and now winter. Christmas is magical in any town but in Paris, it took my breath away. I walked so much around the city, I lost close to 10 pounds, an added bonus of course. Now that I’ve experienced every season, I think my preference is Spring or Fall as the weather is nicer during these months.
I’ve made it a point to stay in a different arrondissement each trip so I booked a hotel in the 17th. It was great. It’s a mostly residential area so there weren’t any souvenir shops or touristy hangouts, just residents buying their daily baguette at the boulangerie. I didn’t speak unless absolutely necessary so on my casual strolls around the neighborhood, I blended in as if I was a local. I loved it. It bothers me a bit when I’m enjoying a stroll or visiting a shop or restaurant and as soon as they hear the American accent, their demeanor changes, not in a negative way – just different. Even if I spoke perfect Francais, I’d never escape the accent so it is what it is. I’ve never encountered the rudeness the French have a reputation for but I wish the accent didn’t switch up the mood.
I visited as many Christmas decorations and Christmas markets as I could and also left plenty of time to just stroll the streets and see things that a normal tourist wouldn’t plan to do. I made a list of places and restaurants to go and checked them off my list. I arranged for a personal tour for one day and told the guide I’d visited all the major tourist spots so take me to places no tourist would plan to go. It was an interesting day visiting art installations, parks, bookstores, and assorted spots off the beaten path. We capped the experience with a snack at Angelina’s, the most touristy event of the day.
I hadn’t visited Versailles or the flea markets on my other trips so I planned to see those this time. They weren’t my favorites but I’ve crossed them off the list.
For my last day, I planned a food tour through Montmartre. I have been to this arrondissement a few times before but the area is so beautiful and fun to explore, it was a wonderful way to end to the trip. I got up early, walked from the 17th and spent the morning and early afternoon strolling. The tour lasted from 3pm until a little past 8pm and we ate so much meat, bread, wine and cheese I was stuffed. When the tour ended I took one last long stroll around Paris marveling in the decorations, lights, and sounds of the season.
See the full gallery here.