Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Christmas Day in Paris

So it was Christmas, and the sun shone for the first time since I arrived. The pleasant weather was perfect for Day 3 of our European escape. We wanted to see more of Paris, hence we decided to go to the Eiffel Tower. 



Santa Claus paraded with policemen in a motorcycle carriage as we stepped out of our hotel. It brought a smile to all the pedestrians who came out under the nice weather.


We strolled around the area of Saint Michael before heading underground. The fountain of Saint Michael  didn't have water since it was freezing.


We went back to Notre Dame to see what was going on there. There was really more people out on the streets, just enjoying the bright sunshine.


We made it underground in the Cite Station just opposite the Notre Dame. We took the RER to Tour de Eiffel,  and after following the crowd, the most famous tower in the world showed up.


The Eiffel Tower was packed with tourists and there were a lot of vendors hawking their wares - miniature versions of the tower and Parisian souvenirs.


The sun was constantly on an angle, so my photos looked very nostalgic. We wanted to go up the tower, but there was a long line, and it was freezing, so we decided to skip the experience. Rather, we ventured into the side streets looking for a cafe to hang out in. However, most were closed for the holiday, and so, we decided to take the train back to see Champs Elysees.


We alighted at the Jardin des Tuileries just beside the Lourve. Since we didn't get to go up the Eiffel, we decided to ride this ferris wheel just outside the park. The view from above was nice, and I got to see Sacre Couer in Montmarte from afar.


We then began our walk to Champs Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe. We passed by a roadside market that sold several food items and stuff from various European cities.


It was a pleasant experience, walking through the seemingly endless row of stalls. We had crepe, fabulous mushroom soup, and German sausages as we went up the road.


We landed at the start of Champs Elysees, and noticed that nearly all of the stores were closed. The restaurants were open though, which gave us a sigh of relief. The car showrooms though were all open, from Citroen, Toyota and Peugot.


It was a long walk from the Jardin des Tuileries, and as we approached the Arc de Triomphe, we decided to take the "in the middle of the street" picture.


We passed by the Louis Vuitton flagship store which was of course, closed. We visited it again towards the end of our trip and saw a long queue that surprised me. It was like a tourist attraction, but then again, most of the people who lined up bought something in the store. Amazing.


We were looking for an interesting restaurant to have dinner in, but as soon as Kats saw the Leon sign, she pulled us to the popular Belgian restaurant.


Leon is known for its mussels from Brusells. They were huge, and were served in a big pan. You could choose from several sauces for the mussels.


Champs Elysees transformed at night, when all the lights sparkled. The famous boulevard was filled with more tourists, who obviously came from dinners from the restaurants around the area.


It seemed that Christmas in Paris was a non-event, especially since most of the shops and all the museums were closed. We awaited the next day to explore another side of Paris: Montmarte.

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