Christmas in Paris

After New York in 1999, London in 2002, Rome in 2004, and Amsterdam in 2008, we decided it was high time to add another episode to our "Christmas in major cities" series. As we had anticipated three years ago, Amsterdam would be the last time we could do this with David and Eric. Indeed, David couldn't get time off work, and Eric was visiting Rome, Venice, and Berlin with a friend. Be that as it may, neither Vicki nor I had ever been to Paris around Christmas, so the choice of destination was rather easy, especially considering that our last trip to Paris was back in November 2008!

We flew up to Paris early on December 22, which gave us most of that day in the capital. We walked quite a bit: lunch on the west bank, a visit to Notre Dame, watching the ice-skaters in front of City Hall, admiring the Stravinsky fountain by the Pompidou Center... This fountain was created by Jean Tinguely (who made the black sculptures) and Niki de Saint Phalle (who crafted the colorful ones). Each sculpture represents a Stravinsky work, or a part thereof. We then made our way to the major department stores, taking a few minutes to admire the Galerie Vivienne, one of many passages, i.e., covered shopping areas. Finally, we went to the Trocadéro to see the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas market.

Click on any image to see a larger (1500 x 1000 pixel) version!


Notre Dame seen from across the Seine View from the Pont Saint-Michel

Notre Dame seen from across the Seine

View from the Pont Saint-Michel


On the 'Parvis de Notre Dame' The nave The Saint-Michel fountain

On the Parvis de Notre Dame

The nave

The Saint-Michel fountain


Ice-skating in front of City Hall The Stravinsky fountain next to the Pompidou Center...

Ice-skating in front of City Hall

The Stravinsky fountain next to the Pompidou Center...


...was created by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle. Each sculpture represents a work by Igor Stravinsky

...was created by Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle.

Each sculpture represents a work by Igor Stravinsky


The 'Galerie Vivienne' Wine shop in the 'Galerie Vivienne' Here one can shop in style!

The Galerie Vivienne

Wine shop in the Galerie Vivienne

Here one can shop in style!


The Christmas tree in the 'Galeries Lafayette' Three days before Christmas, the store is getting busy

The Christmas tree in the Galeries Lafayette

Three days before Christmas, the store is getting busy


The Christmas decoration of the 'Galeries Lafayette'... ...and those of 'Au Printemps'.

The Christmas decoration of the Galeries Lafayette...

...and those of Au Printemps.


Not your typical department store! Café Triadou Haussmann 'Rue de Caumartin'

Not your typical department store!

Café Triadou Haussmann

Rue de Caumartin


The Eiffel tower seen from the Trocadéro The Christmas Market at the Trocadéro Not much to buy, but nice ambiance

The Eiffel tower seen from the Trocadéro

The Christmas Market at the Trocadéro

Not much to buy, but nice ambiance

We began our second day of sightseeing at the Louvre, emerging from the Palais Royal metro station around 11 AM. We spent some time strolling around the gorgeous Louvre courtyard with the Pei pyramid, went down to the Carrousel du Louvre shopping area, and then wandered off into the Tuileries gardens, past the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, not to be confused with the much more famous and larger Arc de Triomphe located on the Place Charles de Gaulle. After a delightful lunch Au Vieux Comptoir we crossed the Seine and walked along its left bank to the Musée d'Orsay, a favorite of ours. When we left the museum after a most enjoyable visit, night was falling. We walked to the Place de la Concorde and then up the Champs Elysées all the way to the Place de l'Etoile from where we took the metro back to our hotel.


'Palais Royal' Metro station The courtyard of the Louvre

Palais Royal Metro station

The courtyard of the Louvre


Heading towards Pei's pyramid A window into the Louvre Looking into the pyramid

Heading towards Pei's pyramid

A window into the Louvre

Looking into the pyramid


The Louvre and the pyramid In the 'Tuileries' gardens

The Louvre and the pyramid

In the Tuileries gardens


The 'Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel' The quadriga, a copy of the Horses of Saint Mark

The Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

The quadriga, a copy of the Horses of Saint Mark


The 'Musée d'Orsay' seen fron the 'Tuileries' Yayoi Kusama's 'Flowers that bloom at midnight'

The Musée d'Orsay seen fron the Tuileries

Yayoi Kusama's Flowers that bloom at midnight


The inverted pyramid in the 'Carrousel du Louvre' The 'Carrousel du Louvre' shopping arcade

The inverted pyramid in the Carrousel du Louvre

The Carrousel du Louvre shopping arcade


The 'Pont des Arts' Along the 'Quai Malaquais'

The Pont des Arts

Along the Quai Malaquais


Evening view off the 'Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor' The obelisk at the 'Place de la Concorde'

Evening view off the Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor

The obelisk at the Place de la Concorde


Christmas window at Maxim's Christmas Market on the lower 'Champs Elysées'

Christmas window at Maxim's

Christmas Market on the lower Champs Elysées


Christmas decorations on Franklin D. Roosevelt Square On the upper 'Champs Elysées'

Christmas decorations on Franklin D. Roosevelt Square

On the upper Champs Elysées


The 'Maison d'Alsace' on the 'Champs Elysées' Looking down the 'Champs Elysées'

The Maison d'Alsace on the Champs Elysées

Looking down the Champs Elysées

The next day, we missed the last guided tour through the Paris Opera, but we were able to purchase tickets to visit the place on our own, and, as it turns out, tag along with some tours already in progress. The building is truly spectacular; it was built between 1860 and 1875 by Charles Garnier, a (then) unknown 35-year-old architect. The light in many of the areas accessible to the public is really poor, so photography is a bit of a challenge. Since it was Christmas Eve, the gates closed at 12:30 PM and we had to leave. We strolled to the Place Vendôme and then headed for Montmartre. Having climbed the countless steps to the top, I was quickly surrounded by a group of several young women who waved petition forms in front of my face. Though I managed to protect my wallet and camera, they succeeded in getting away with my iPhone, so we spent a good portion of Christmas Eve in a police station so that I could get the report I needed for my insurance company. Needless to say, this put a bit of a damper on the rest of the day, though the scene of this incident is, I suppose, vaguely humorous: Place Calvaire (Ordeal Square).


The Paris Opera Detail view of the Opera building

The Paris Opera

Detail view of the Opera building


The main lobby and stairway The auditorium

The main lobby and stairway

The auditorium


The Chagall ceiling and the 8-ton (!) chandelier The Grand Foyer

The Chagall ceiling and the 8-ton (!) chandelier

The Grand Foyer


The rear of the Opera building The 'Place Vendôme'

The rear of the Opera building

The Place Vendôme


The artwork next to these steps in 'Montmartre' is free... ...but the one on the 'Place du Tertre' is not.

The artwork next to these steps in Montmartre is free...

...but the one on the Place du Tertre is not.


'Basilique du Sacré-Cœur' in 'Montmartre' Looking over the city from 'Sacré-Cœur'

The Basilique du Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre

Looking over the city from Sacré-Cœur

On Christmas Day, we went back to the (closed) department stores to see and admire (we thought) the windows; we figured there would be no one around. Wrong! Evidently, many people had had the same idea, so it was not easy to get close enough to actually see anything. The content of the windows was also a bit of a disappointment, as was the glass: it was so reflective that even with a polarizing filter, there was not much I could do. This is why no photos of the fourth day appear on this page. However, the photos shown here are only a subset of the one hundred posted on our gallery, so please check there for additional images.





<< Previous

Trips Home

Next >>

Home | Site Info | Family | The Area | Trips | France | Work | Rants | Odds & Ends




This page was last modified on July 24, 2012
Send feedback about this page to feedback@kiechle.com
http://www.kiechle.com/trips/parxmas/index.htm
(optimized for Retina display)

All contents © 1999-2017 The Kiechles