City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks

Shortly before heading home to the States for the holidays, I took a long walk in Paris, soaking in the Christmas décor.

My first Christmas in France, I went to almost all the Christmas markets in the city (there are about a dozen). I strolled around the decked out department stores. I saw the impressive Nativity scene at Notre Dame. I attended a couple of Christmas parties. My friends and I had a Christmas dessert fest and exchanged presents. In the middle of the week, a friend and I took a day trip to Strasbourg, where the Christmas market originated. We also went to Lille and saw the lights and decorations.

This year, I have been busy at work and either prise in the evenings or tired and ready to go straight home and have dinner. I still visited the main Christmas market on the Champs-Elysées one Saturday night at a friend’s prompting, where we shuffled alongside the crowds and enjoyed the outdoor Christmas music (in English!) and a glimpse of the Père Noël. I certainly gazed at the streetlights whenever I passed by them on bus or foot. I attended one lavish party and one wonderfully homey one. However, on the whole I certainly didn’t devour Paris at Christmastime as I did two years ago.

Hence, the Saturday before Christmas, I ventured out in search of festivity. I started in the Marais, the oldest part of the city, to check out French artist Mathilde Nivet’s lit display at Hôtel Jules & Jim. The hotel is so inconspicuous that I passed it and doubled back to find the entrance. Inside was a lone receptionist in a quiet and deliberately dim compact woodsy lobby. Nivet’s work was fun and international.100_7453I continued to the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) where figures built of Christmas balls adorned the façade. This girl looked ready to party.100_7455The Hôtel de Ville is really quite something. It dates from the 14th century.100_7456I hopped on the metro and got off at Sèvres-Babylone to see the decorations at the department store Bon Marché and watch the crisscrossing escalators.100_7457Outside, the sun set over the illuminated city. 100_7460 100_7461The lights and sparkle and spirit were still there this year, I just needed to go find them.

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2 thoughts on “City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks

  1. Cute. I don’t think I saw many lights and decorations this year, they didn’t do any in my neighbourhood or around work. It does really make a difference on the long winter nights

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