Although I’ve had a long exhausting relationship with the holiday season, I somehow manage to rally and celebrate, regardless of its madness. To be perfectly clear, it’s not that I dislike Christmas per se, but unless you’re in the right mindset, it can be overwhelming and stressful at times.
Naturally, last year’s holiday was no exception.
In fact, I was recovering from covid and losing my patience with yet, another Christmas defunct due to a pandemic. I needed a change and something to look forward to.
And so, while scrolling through my Instagram feed (as you do), there it was. Flashing like a beacon, I stumbled upon a beautiful two-bedroom apartment to rent in Paris. The chic Apartment La Fayette was just what I (we) needed. So, without giving it too much thought, I booked it! An entire month in Paris for Christmas and New Year’s 2022.
The mere idea of spending Christmas in Paris brings me much excitement. I mean, it’s Paris! This is, hands down, one of my larger bucket list items. I’ve forever envisioned a twinkly-lit Paris with elaborate holiday decorations, Christmas markets, mulled wine and pretty cafés, a buzz with locals and tourists alike. Ooooh, and let’s not forget the delicious food worthy of an uncorked bottle of French wine at all times.
It’s as if the universe waved a wand…
My older son and his girlfriend were accepted into a master’s program at different fashion universities in Paris and moved there last fall.
What are the odds?!
The universe is definitely working in my favour.
Now to convince my younger son, who’s more of an outdoorsy fly fishing, hiker, backcountry skier, camper kind of guy, that Paris will be A M A Z I N G 😉
Thankfully, it didn’t take much convincing; he was in. Bien sûr!
So, for the first time, our family will be celebrating the holidays away. In Paris!
The year flew by…
I arrived in Paris at my pied-a-tier on rue La Fayette in the up-and-coming 10th arrondissement, Canal Saint-Martin, and a brand new area for me to explore. My sister-in-law joined me for a mini girl’s four-day trip getting us into holiday mode. Not that we needed it:) My younger son arrives on Christmas eve, and my guy will be here the week before. I can’t wait to get the place ready for them.
In the meantime, it felt so great to see my son, who is currently living in Paris. I missed him! We hit the ground running with no time to waste; we wanted to take it all in. But not before we stopped for a light snack. Wine, anyone?
While we wandered around the narrow streets, it struck me how beautiful the lights and decorations were from one neighbourhood to another. Even better than I could have imagined. Each area seemed to have its unique style of garland strung across the streets. So pretty to see at night; I particularly love the Eiffel Tower garland above.
Place Vendôme is one of the city’s most illustrious and beautiful squares; it’s also home to many luxury brands, such as Chanel, Dior and Bvlgari. But, if your budget doesn’t align, definitely do a little window shopping (I seem to be a seasoned pro at this).
However, not to be missed are the beautifully decorated trees in the square. Gorgeous!
The Ritz hotel also resides here; however, unless you have a reservation at the restaurant or arrive at the bar’s opening, they won’t allow you to “look” around. Security is tight. That said, there are many other fabulous places to enjoy that are less expensive, less touristy, and have an authentic Parisian vibe.
Read “Tasting and Sipping in Paris” blog.
If you don’t mind braving the crowds, then step right up! It’s a zoo, don’t let the cramped metro ride deter you. The trip to visit the holiday decorations at Galleries LaFayette and Printemps is worthwhile. Also worth visiting, but on the other side of the city, La Bon Marche and Merci.
There’s no shortage of festive displays on the streets of Paris, large and small, elaborate or minimalist; you can’t help but admire them. The French know how to decorate. This is no secret. Even a simple twig on a window ledge seems incredibly chic. In addition, Christmas trees of all shapes and sizes are distributed around the city and trimmed with pretty red baubles and bows. The attention to detail and continuity was not overlooked. I thought it was beautifully done, adding an elegant touch.
Sometimes, more is more, and Paris does it best.
We visited a few Christmas markets filled with holiday crafts and delicious treats made by local artisans. My first week in Paris was unseasonably cold, freezing, to be exact. So the hot mulled wine was much appreciated as it was delicious, warming my insides. The markets are free and prettier to visit during the evening to get the full effect. However, if you’re trying to avoid crowds, daytime is best.
With Christmas around the corner, it was time for me to purchase a small tree and start decorating. Most flower shops, grocers and markets have a good selection of trees, the smallest size starting at around 30 euros. I also discovered this adorable little store Il était une fois, in the Marias, carrying a large selection of new and vintage decorations.
Le BHV, a much less crowded department store than its counterparts, was an excellent resource for additional decorations, as well as holiday gifts. It’s one stop shopping at its best.
And voila! The tree is decorated, and I’m ready for the holidays and my guests to arrive. However, with one cancelled flight, lost luggage and a snowstorm in Vancouver, it was nothing short of a miracle that everyone finally arrived.
We’re in Paris!
Everything aligned perfectly, making this one of the most memorable holidays spent together.
More to come on all things Paris 🙂