Sunday, November 21, 2010

Paris T minus in the teens

Honestly it feels like I've just done this: gathered the trial sized items, started to pile up the city map and travel guides, wondered how much really will fit in my carry-on. But here we are, only two more weekends between us and Paris. Can it be?

Of course I'm excited about the Monet exhibition, the whole reason we're going, but now I'm growing more excited about seeing Paris at Christmastime, something I've never done. Hell, I've never been to Europe later than early November before! I've seen pictures, so I know what I'm in for. It looks truly stunning. I want to share them with my Dear Sister Traveling Companion but I want her to be surprised. Already she said of one of the Christmas markets "I want to have my picture taken with the French Santa Claus". Oh boy, does he know what he's in for?

So on the agenda, we have Monet at the Grand Palais, Monet at the Marmottan, a Louis Vuitton exhibit, a David Hockney exhibit and perhaps a stroll through the Louvre. But other than that, I feel like we're pretty open. I wouldn't mind strolling the markets, drinking mulled wine, finding that foie gras on toast and really drinking in the Christmastide.

Now to see if three days of clothes really can fit in my carry-on....

Saturday, November 6, 2010

T-Minus a little less than five weeks

Since I last wrote I've had the surprising addition of my Dear Sister to my long weekend excursion to Paris. She lucked out with her three day delay between the time I floated the idea by her and booked the trip myself when she said she couldn't go and the time when she became cash flush and could go. The fare went down nearly $100.

So I've changed the hotel room to accommodate us both and bought her a ticket to the Monet exhibition. As time draws closer, I get more excited. I love the fact that we've both seen the main sights in the city and can concentrate on a few art exhibits (Monet both at the Grand Palais and the Marmottan, the Louis Vuitton at the Musee Carnavalet and the David Hockney iPhone exhibit at the Foundation Pierre Berge-Yves Saint Laurent). That will allow us time to enjoy all that is Christmas in Paris and maybe just a leisurely stroll from patisserie to patisserie.

I've sort of abandoned the idea of taking a day trip to Rouen. As much as I want to see the town, I've found there's more to Paris this time of year than I expected. I did a bit of research and it seems that there are neighborhood Christmas markets during the month of December, one of which is right in the neighborhood where our hotel is, near St. Sulpice church. The three main department stores also have large window displays for the holidays and the Champs Elysses is lit up as well. I've never been to Europe so close to Christmas before and am excited to have a sort of non-commercial holiday experience.

I'm also beyond excited to eat. Let's not kid ourselves here, Paris is the best city in the world for food. And wine. And pastry. So I'll be partaking in all of the above, and maybe some crepes and croque monsieurs as well. Diet be damned. You only visit Paris once. Well, maybe seven times...but you get my drift.

Last time Dear Sister and I were in Paris, she was dreadfully sick with pneumonia. We (or maybe I) had no idea how sick at the time but I'm hearing now that she didn't enjoy it as she should have. Here's raising a glass (Kir Royale) to making sure she does this time.