Twas the day after Christmas
And all through the flat
Not a creature was stirring
Except me, how weird is that?
Bonjour from Paris, mes amis! It’s about 8:40am local time, and I’ve been awake since about 8, pondering why, after spending yesterday day kicking some pretty serious jet lag’s butt, I’m not still sleeping. And why I appear to be awake when my flatmates/travel buddies aren’t, since that’s NEVER the case.
So, jet lag. What a bitch she can be. For example, I’ve gotten a bunch of sleep, and still feel mildly hungover (I had ONE glass of wine last night, quit judging). We had a great day yesterday, but there were multiple times when I honestly felt my eyes crossing as I tried to stay awake.
Briefly, the reason for this was that our flight left Dallas at about 5pm Dallas time, and arrived 9ish, Paris time. Paris is 7 hours ahead of CST, for those keeping track. Anyway – 9 hours on the plane with about 1 hour of sleep over that time – and then we decided to push through and have a full day in Paris so we’d get ourselves onto Parisian time.
So, we hauled our baggage up stairs, onto buses, onto the metro, and back to the flat. For the first few days, we all have our own room, which is BLISS! Then, we headed to Cathedral Notre Dame de Paris for the 12:30 Christmas Mass.
The entire service was in French, so I spent much of it pondering the incredible architecture of the space, and the very real fact that, over the 850 year history of the cathedral, thousands of people have sought God there. The inside of the cathedral is beautiful and awe inspiring, but I couldn’t help but feel that, for this non-denominational yet spiritually seeking girl, God, in whatever form you choose to worship, is just as present in the cathedral of the woods as he/she is in places like Notre Dame. We can build places to inspire wonder, and we do, but they also exist in nature.
Anyway, lest I get too philosophical, let’s continue.
The next few hours were spent wandering the streets looking for shop windows. Allow me to explain. Most of the big department stores in Paris have huge windows facing onto the street, and at Christmas they deck them out in delightfully bizarre and creative displays that both highlight whatever fashion they are promoting and draw crowds to see the puppets and artwork. Here are two of my favorites:
Next, we headed to the Musee Jacquemart-Andre, where we skipped the museum and headed straight for for the tea room for some much needed sugar and caffeine.
Then, we headed down to the Champs-Elysees, that most famous of boulevards in Paris, with the Arc de Triomphe on one end and the Place de la Concorde on the other. The street was dripping in lights, and there was a pretty impressive Christmas Market going on both sides of the street.
There were big crowds, cheesy Christmas music, and the smells of hot wine, churros and roasted nuts. We strolled from one end to the other (and also saw La Tour Eiffel sparkling like crazy for the holiday) and then headed to Goumard, which according to their website, is one of the most famous seafood places in Paris. Thanks to a coupon, we ate there and didn’t blow our entire budget, and the food was tres yummy (although I spent most of the meal trying not to nod off into the superior fish).
And then, back to the flat where I passed out within moments of lying down. And now, Day 2. My fellow creatures are definitely stirring, and it’s time to see what la jour has in store. My goal for today? Not to feel inadequate about all the French I’ve forgotten since the last time I was here, 15 years ago.