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Christmas in Paris!!!
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Pesto Man



Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 185
Location: New Orleans Louisiana

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 2:32 pm    Post subject: Christmas in Paris!!! Reply with quote

Got confirmation this morning!!!! We will be in Paris from Dec 8th-28th
We will be staying in a local residence, in the 17th( near the Arc de Triomphe)
Friends of ours living and working in paris, are returning to the states for a visit dutring the holidays and they need someone to sit the cat!
We have never been there, so will be interested in advise on EVERYTHING!! from resturants, shopping, sightseeing, traditional Christmas dinners and customs, getting around, etc
Being a Farmer's Mkt vendor I am most interested in Markets of Paris


THanks in advance, and apologies as I envision me making a pest of myself the next months as my enquiries become more specific can't wait, can't wait..........I guess you can't tell that I anm a wee bit excited Embarassed
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I would like a gin martini, straight up, olives on the side, as dry as my wit, as clean as my conscience.
and... as cold as my heart!!!!
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Rainey



Joined: 29 Sep 2004
Posts: 2498
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm soooo jealous. I've collected Christmas ornaments and other decorations since I first left home to go to college. When I lived in France we left shortly before Christmas. Stores were just beginning to show signs of preparing for a holiday. It broke my heart to leave without having the experience of a provincial French Noël.

We also expected to go back after Christmas at home, but that was a disappointment yet to reveal itself...

I hope and expect that you'll have a marvelous time! I hope you'll be able to find the time to share your experiences with us from Paris.
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Erin



Joined: 18 Oct 2004
Posts: 1654
Location: Within view of Elliot Bay, The Olympics and every ship in the Sound

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pesto Man, check out www.seattlesteve.com. Steve is a fabulous photographer and has spent time in Paris over Christmas, you'll be able to see what's in store.
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Pesto Man



Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 185
Location: New Orleans Louisiana

PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2005 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks Erin, you are right, he is a wonderful photographer it just looks so wonderful, I can hardly wait, I feel like a little kid, "is it Christmas yet" (5 minutes later) "is it Christmas yet? Very Happy Very Happy
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I would like a gin martini, straight up, olives on the side, as dry as my wit, as clean as my conscience.
and... as cold as my heart!!!!
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David



Joined: 30 Sep 2004
Posts: 1855
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 6:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pesto Man, go directly to amazon.com and check out Paris In a Basket, an out of print near coffee table size book covering some 80 of Paris' markets. A delight to the eyes and quite comprehensive. I got a remaindered copy still in it's shrinkwrap for 9.95 a few months back. This will take care of any questions about Paris markets you will have. Enjoy your visit to my favourite city in the world.

(yes, I'm back Very Happy Very Happy , but it will take me a while to catch up!!)
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trilobyte



Joined: 31 Jul 2005
Posts: 39
Location: Athens, Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2005 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pesto man, I was in Paris last Christmas and had a great time. One of my favorite experiences was attending midnight mass at Notre Dame on Christmas eve. I'm not Catholic, but found it fascinating and beautiful nonetheless. My one caution is to get there early. I got there about an hour and a half before midnight and had to stand for the entire service. It was worth the stand though.
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jessa



Joined: 19 Aug 2005
Posts: 7

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll be in Paris for Christmas, too. I was there five years ago or so. Wow. It really doesn't feel like that long.

Anyway, it was lovely. Like last time, I'll be arriving on Christmas morning. One of the things I like about Paris is that it doesn't completely shut down on Christmas, unlike some other cities I've visited at the holidays. I did have dinner at the Hotel du Louvre on Christmas night (I have visions of foodies turning up their noses), but it was really good. I had grilled fish and this chocolate-hazelnut pyramid thing that features heavily in my idle chocolate fantasies. We weren't sure what would be open and, given that we stayed there, it was nice to be able to drag our jet-lagged selves downstairs without searching around. They had traditional Christmas dinner, which looked quite good, but contained things that I couldn't eat. Given that you'll be there so long before, you'll probably be able to scout other locations.

I can't offer much help on dinner options generally, as I'm allergic to wine and it can make eating in Paris not fun (my French is too lacking to adequately explain that I'm not trying to insult the chef by asking for something without sauce). However, I would say that I only managed to consume half a chocolate crepe during my last visit and I'm thinking I need to mainline them on this visit. See also: macaroons. I had really nice ones from a bakery in the 1st, but I'm sure they're lovely all over. For lunch, I got a kick out of a Japanese noodles, which are fully as good as the real Japan ones and way better than the US version, and Le Pain Quotidien, which is oddly much better than the ones in Brussels.

I guess my advice would be to just enjoy it. There's this wonderful light quality to Paris in the winter - it's dark into well into the morning, if not the afternoon. The weather was a bit more mild than Philadelphia and much more so than Chicago (where I came from the last time I visited). Because of that, a nice wool coat makes it fully possible to get around on foot. I walked from the Pompidou to the Arc de Triomphe, swung around to the Eiffel Tower and returned to the Louvre on foot. It was fine. I know people are pro-metro, but I never took it. It was nice to see the city, although I didn't see Montmartre. That's probably the only place you'd absolutely need to take the metro to.

Piggy-backing on the titled poster, I'd love suggestions for inexpensive to moderate places to eat with really good, non-red-meat food that will be open during Christmas week.
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trilobyte



Joined: 31 Jul 2005
Posts: 39
Location: Athens, Georgia, USA

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jessa is quite right, things are open on Christmas Day, but there is not the typical hustle and bustle, which makes for great walking. I spent Christmas day patisserie hopping. Every time I came across an open patisserie I stopped in and tried something new. That was all I ate that day and it was delicious.

Again, I agree with jessa that Paris is a great city for walking. I walked almost everywhere. However, the Metro is also very convenient to use and I had fun riding by train.

Because I was traveling by myself, I din't really do much eating in restaurants, so I don't have many restaurnat suggestions for you. I did most of my eating a la carte from the markets.

I do have a suggestion for a side trip if you have the time. Go to Lille. It's only about an hour train ride from Paris and it is a great little city near the Belgian border. The archetecture is great and the central square has all sorts of shops and restaurants. For the Christmas season there is a carnival/market in the square complete with a large ferris wheel. The art museum there is also quite good. It's much smaller, of course, than the Louvre or the Musee D'Orsay but just as good.

jessa and pesto man, I hope you have great times in Paris.
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Pesto Man



Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 185
Location: New Orleans Louisiana

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

gee guys, thanks... David thanks for the heads up, my wife the librarian, is now in search of a copy of the book!

Trylobyte (love the avatar!) Beeing brought up catholic, Midnight mass is in our plans although I was thinking closer to the apartment, (in the 17th) but Notre Dame hmmmmmmm.......

jessa, thanks and welcome to the forum you are now ofically co-chair Smile
don't know how I aqm going to last until christmas, though, so excited I could bust Embarassed

loving to cook, and wanting to take advantage of real french ingredients, I was planniong to cook Christmas dinner my self. My initial concept would be a dinner of oysters, chapagne, A roast fowl, (perhaps a Capon) with a cheastnut, stuffing, and for desert, a bouche de noel, from a local pastesserie(sp?) suggestions for menu, or indeed where to get the bouche de noel also greatly welcome.

thanks in advance,
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I would like a gin martini, straight up, olives on the side, as dry as my wit, as clean as my conscience.
and... as cold as my heart!!!!
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Pockymonkey



Joined: 02 Aug 2005
Posts: 63
Location: Northfield, MN

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trilobyte, your account of patisserie hopping on Christmas Day sounds like the most delectable kind of present a person can give him/herself. Too bad I can't do my own version of it where I live - just more reason to visit Paris over the holidays!
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Christmas is so much fun here. But it is not like in Australia. They celebrate New Years eve, and 12th night more than Christmas.

In the 17th you will be close to 3 fabulous food markets. Lucky thing!!!

The club I cook for is in the 17th and a lot of the women I am friends with through it live there also. Quite frequently we walk up from the Etoile to Ternes and visit the food market there. It is really nice and the vendors are very friendly. There are also all the major stores there in that street.

Yesterday a group of us girls sat at a (very posh and expensive) cafe in Trocadero and had dessert after lunch at the club. The cafe is called Cafe de l'homme and if you sit on the terrace you are overlooking the park and across the river to the Tour Effiel. Gorgeous on a hot sunny day like yesterday. We had the most scrumptious ice cream sundaes I have ever seen or tasted.

There is a great market at President Wilson (which I can never get organised to go to, but all my friends rave about it), and another on sundays near Passy which is nice.

We have a market near us at Barbes on wednesdays. It sells all sorts of fresh produce and stuff you don't get in the mainstream veg shops.

What street will you be staying on? There is a fabulous boucherie and fromagerie in the 17th. I will have to make a note of the address and you can see if it is close by. Mind you, Paris is only 12km by 9km, so everything is close by in reality. There is also a wine shop which my friend's husband (a real wine buff) goes to all the time - will have to get the name of it for you.

Here in Montmartre we have some fabulous fromageries, boucheries, charcuteries, poissoneries, fruit and veg, boulangeries...... you name it, it is here (Clothide frequently posts about the locla stuff here).

One thing which I have noted is that in the residential areas not everything is open on Christmas Day. You will really only get that in areas with a high ratio of tourists and/or hotels.

You are going to have so much fun and eat so much delicious food!!!!!!!!
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Pesto Man



Joined: 17 Jun 2005
Posts: 185
Location: New Orleans Louisiana

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2005 9:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Debbie...
We will be staying on the Rue de Brunel, (the nearby metro station is Argentine) oddly enough this is the exact area where my sister stayed when she was a student 40 years ago (ok, so I'm old Laughing ) and she has lent us the street map she used in 1965(did I mention she is my OLDER sister !!!)

all the advice I am getting is already going into a notebook so I will be able to access it easily

Wow! the internet is such a wonderful thing!!!!

THanks again Debbie, and to everyone who has been so kind to respond,
your kindness will help add to what I am sure is to be a magical trip
btw like your sig
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I would like a gin martini, straight up, olives on the side, as dry as my wit, as clean as my conscience.
and... as cold as my heart!!!!
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bandit



Joined: 13 Sep 2005
Posts: 2
Location: san francisco

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 8:09 pm    Post subject: christmas Reply with quote

I spent a month there last year at Christmas, here are my top ten favorite- not in any order:

1) Rue St Dominique (best neighborhood decoration)
2) Notre Dame Mass on Sundays (I am not religious or catholic)
3) Tea at Galleries Vivienne after visiting the national library
4) Parc Buttes de Chatmont at sunset, Salivor Dali museum, Sacre Ceour stained glass
5) Champs Elysees walks at night
6) Shopping and food to cook at Bon Marche
7) Dinner at George on top of the Pompidou (most amazing view)
Cool Shopping at the Flea Market at Clignacourt
9) Hang out- Place de la Contrescarpe-Rue Mouffetard (5th arr)
10) Creepy and surprisingly amazing- catacombs
11) Surprisedk more than 10: Le Vieux Bistro for most incredible meal, conveniently located next to Notre Dame. Must make reservation, call or go by there.

:: extra bonus are the christmas sales at the first of the year- Galleries Lafayette and Print Temps !!!!
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Debbie



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 861
Location: Paris

PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2005 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

They have just done some renovation/conservation/restoration works in the catacombs. We went there a week ago. It was closed for so long and we wondered if it would ever reopen.... but it has and it was great.

Now has subtle lighting and a better walking surface. Stairs down and up are still steep and narrow and a killer.... but that is half the fun.

Pesto Man, you are going to have a great time in the area. They have just redone all the cobblestones around the etoile. Traffic was a nightmare (ok, so it is always scary going around there), but now it has settled down a bit and if you catch the buses back and forth around the etoile it is a smoother ride.

We are starting to talk about Christmas lunch at the club. Trying to decide what yummy treats to cook up. There is just so much and I want to cook it all! Might have to ask people to bring a "second stomach" along so I can go all extravagent and over cater (as usual)...Laughing

Jessa, the phrase you have to remember for allergies is, "Je suis tres allergique a ......." in your case it would be "vin". I had to learn that phrase first as I have food allergies that can kill me in seconds. Sometimes I have to stress that I am "allergique a la mort" (allergic to death) to something.... as some waiters can be a bit dismissive. They pay attention though if you really stress your allergy is a killer - they don't want a death or a lawsuit.

Rainey, just reread your post..... after signing up for the secret santa/blog by mail, I know what could be sent you by the person who draws your name.... a Parisienne, food orientated, Christmas ornament!!! Along with other goodies of course Wink
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If you cannot feel your arteries hardening, eat more cheese. If you can, drink more red wine. Diet is just "die" with a "t" on the end. Exercise is walking into the kitchen.
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Deste



Joined: 17 Aug 2005
Posts: 307
Location: Far, far away

PostPosted: Thu Sep 15, 2005 1:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Formidable! Get your hands on the most recent edition of "The Food Lover's Guide to Paris" by Patricia Wells.

I don't know if they still do this, but a couple of years ago, visitors to the Louvre could get discounts on tickets by showing up at 2 in the afternoon (check the museum's Web site). Since your eyes and brain can't take more than a few hours anyway before an overload, that should be sufficient time. The "Mona Lisa" is not particularly interesting and you can't see it under glass and behind all the other tourists trying to take movies of it with their video cameras. DO check out the Ancient Near Eastern section which has AMAZING things (stolen by Napolean et al) including the capital from the top of a column in a throne room in the Ancient Persian palace complex, Persepolis that was burned to the ground by Alexander the Great. While the Musee d'Orsay has most of the well known 19th century paintings, be sure you visit Gericault's "Raft of Medusa," a work that will probably have significance to you now that Michael Brown has stepped down from FEMA. (It's a glorious, massive work of political outrage that records the tragedy that comes from appointing a well-connected nobleman as the captain of a ship despite lack of expertise.) And in the medieval galleries, you'll find a sweet little reliquary all covered with gold, shaped like an apple that divides into slices, each with its own little relic!

Visit The Cluny Museum if you like things medieval: the unicorn tapestries are there. And while there's plenty to do in Paris itself, Chartres is a short train ride away. Make a face at the McDonald's and then walk into town to visit one of the most splendid Gothic cathedrals (1194-1220+; after Notre-Dame in Paris) to survive the ravages of fire and war; it is the only one with virtually all of its original stained glass windows, dazzling in the stark winter light.

Walk across the Pont Neuf.

Try to eat a pain d'amande at Jean-Luc Poujauran, 20 rue Jean Nicot in the 7th...one of the best things I have ever eaten....and just read everything from the archives here!
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