Signs of Christmas

Cast your mind back to another decade. It was a bleak time of terrorism and tsunamis, but we got on with life as best we could. The decade was the the 2000s (sometimes called the naughties, but we can only hope that stupid name is forgotten with the passage of time).

The year was 2009. December 2009. I went on a journey to distant lands and failed to report comprehensively at the time. So cast your mind back and allow me to finally tell you about the week I spent in Paris.

View from apartment in the Marais

Look out the window

What’s the first thing you do when you arrive at new accommodation? I think I look out the windows. It was certainly the first thing I did when we got to our apartment in the Marais. Other possibilities might be a) sit on the bed, or b) check out the bathroom.

And in the other direction

Now look down

Our apartment was a few doors up from the Place des Vosges which made for a quite excellent neighborhood park. We shared the space with the ghost of Victor Hugo, whose maison was on the corner of the park.

Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges

There hadn’t been many signs of Christmas is Rome before we left. Some street lights were going up, but we left on the same day that Rome went into Christmas overdrive.

Fortunately, we only had to walk about three metres from our apartment before we saw signs of Christmas in Paris.


Take a closer look at the pretty decorations

The cafe of steak tartare fame

MJ and I headed out to lunch one day early in our stay and found this cafe whose specialty was steak tartare. When I caught up with Sushi a few days later and told him how much I enjoyed the dish of raw meat, he made the point that the Japanese have always known that everything is best when served raw or almost raw. After my great ceviche obsession of May 2009, I realise I definitely subscribed to that thinking.

Christmas tree at Notre Dame

Holly for Christmas

On our second last day in Paris, MJ and I stumbled upon this market near Bastille (we were on the way to the cemetery). It wasn’t a quaint, seasonal Christmas market. It just looked like a regular market, but with signs of Christmas like special food and buskers playing carols. Like this lady, carrying real holly. It’s not even plastic! Hooray for Christmas in winter.

Falafel may not be special Christmas food but it should be.

Falafal at market, Bastille

On the way to market

On the way to the market we saw these people queuing for something. Can you believe we didn’t get in line and find out what they were waiting for?

And one more Bastille delight.

Cinema Majestic Bastille

To get to Bastille we would turn right as we left the apartment. If we turned left we’d get to Centre Pomidou.

Centre Pompidou

Alas, a strike saw us only enjoying the exterior.

On strike

Outside Centre Pompidou

Outside Centre Pomidou

Outside Centre Pomidou

Speaking of strikes that focused our attentions on the exteriors of buildings…

Strike near Sainte-Chapelle

I don’t know if these people were protesting the same thing that closed Sainte-Chapelle but the did adequately represent the striking mentality of Parisians.

Tea at Le Bon Marche

If we couldn’t get in to any museums, well, we had to find alternative means of entertaining. Afternoon tea at the glorious Le Bon Marche and walks along the river.

The river

Sometimes in Paris, it turns to night and you go out. And sometimes you remember to take photos. Mostly that happens when you pass a charismatic tap dancer.

Tap dancer in Montmatre

Dancing for the camera

And when you find yourself in a metro station as beautiful as this one.

I love subways

7 thoughts on “Signs of Christmas

  1. Rowan

    I LOVE PARIS! Swooooooooooon.

    Surely your photo of the cows on the roof of the van should win some sort of international art prize?

    Thanks for this lovely post that somehow makes Melbourne feel utterly antipodean and humdrum by contrast. Worth it though.

  2. Anonymous

    The Tap-Dancer ones are really good, very very good, that’s my feeling, it’s like the heart’s open

  3. Sarah Fortuna Post author

    Sushi, that link is brilliant! This is confirming my commitment to an epic tour of the world’s subways.

  4. SevgiN

    When I walked into my hotel room in Paris, the first thing I did was check out the bathroom. Do you think it’s universal? (The bathroom was gorgeous by the way.)

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