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Terri's Travels: Christmas in Paris

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Do you want to go to Paris for your birthday? Well, my husband Ron did not have to ask me that twice! How exciting to get to go to Paris to celebrate and to see this most romantic and beautiful city at Christmas time.

Paris has a special magic at this time of year. Streets are trimmed up, department store windows come to life and Paris’s finest monuments are illuminated. No doubt, Christmas is definitely approaching!

Paris has an array of festivities and special events for its visitors during this time of year. There are: Christmas markets; Nativity scenes; open-air ice-rinks; merry-go-rounds; festive shows and concerts!

There are many holiday markets and they are all very picturesque, but our personal favorite was the Christmas Market on the Champs-Elysees. I felt like we were in a movie as we strolled through this scenic area. We saw tens of thousands of tiny lights hanging in the giant trees that illuminated this iconic avenue which is crowned by the magnificent Arc de Triumph.

The Christmas Market is a winter wonderland of Christmassy chalets stretching from the Place de la Concorde to the Champs-Elysees roundabout. With more than a hundred wooden chalets, stallholders will be selling arts and crafts and delicious specialities from various regions of France and other Christmas delicacies from all around Europe.

The Christmas Market offers custom holiday treats like mulled wine, gingerbread, sausages and specialties from various regions of France that are an essential part of celebrating Christmas in Paris.

This is a great opportunity to pick up some French delicacies to enjoy over the holiday period, such as champagne, truffles, chocolate, foie gras, cheeses and meats. At the market you can also enjoy freshly made crêpes and waffles, and warm up with a hot chocolate accompanied by delicious cinnamon biscuits. If my suitcase had only been bigger I could have stocked up on delicious traditional foods, handcrafted toys, clothing and other unique items.

Free shows are held at the Christmas Market every day, and Santa visits the market in person, delighting kids of all ages. There was definitely a magical charm of the Christmas season at the Christmas market on the Champs-Elysees!

Another must see this time of year is Notre-Dame de Paris. It’s over 800 years old! This cathedral is widely considered to be one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture and is the largest and one of the most well-known church buildings in the world. They

had a beautiful Nativity Scene that runs the months of December and January.

Ron had heard of a fun and interesting bell tower tour of Notre-Dame that is not widely publicized. Of course, we did that and what an adventure it was. This was backdrop for the book and movie, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame. All I could think about while on this fascinating tour was Quasimodo, the bell-ringer of Notre-Dame, who was a barely verbal hunchback. Ringing the church bells had made him deaf. Quasimodo’s life was within the confines of the cathedral and his only outlet was ringing the bells of Notre-Dame. Well, one thing is for sure he had a fantastic view of Paris. We were fascinated with this roof top tour – one of our most memorable tours ever!

Outside of Norte-Dame we could hear Christmas carolers. I could not believe they were singing many of our traditional and beloved Christian Christmas songs, many in English. We listened for a while and then they invited me to sing along. One of my favorite memories is singing Silent Night with the carolers near Norte-Dame.

And not to be forgotten, the Eiffel Tower is always exciting to see but at night it is one of the greatest sights of Paris and shouldn’t be missed. At Christmas they really show off with extra twinkle lights that are memorizing to watch. Taking the elevator to the top in this iconic structure is so much fun and it’s truly the quintessential “Parisian view”. I just could not get enough of the Eiffel Tower.

Paris is always spectacular but at Christmas time it’s even more beautiful – if that’s possible. It’s simply unforgettable to see Paris come alive with the Christmas spirit!

Terri Guthrie travels the world with her husband, Ron, an airline pilot, and occasionally find time to share her travel experiences with our readers. If you have any questions about traveling overseas or want to know about a specific place, send an email to dawn@crosstimbersgazette.com and we’ll be sure to get it to her. For more photos of Paris during Christmas, visit The Cross Timbers Gazette Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ctgazette

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