This marked my fourth trip to Paris.  I’d been in spring, summer, fall and now winter.  Now that I’ve experienced every season, Christmas was of course magical but that to be expected in just about any city, so my next visit will be during 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 loaf at the boulangerie.  I didn’t speak until absolutely necessary so 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.  Even if I spoke perfect Francais, I’d never escape the accent so it is what it is.

I saw as many Christmas decorations and Christmas markets as I could.  I 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 of my days 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’ve been here a few times but it was a wonderful 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 around 8pm and we ate so much meat, bread, wine and cheese I was stuffed.  I left and took one last long stroll around Paris marveling in the decorations and lights lit up for the season.

See the full gallery here.

Galeries Lafayette