Dec 072010

December 6 (Day 5)

I think today was the laziest vacation day we’ve had in a long, long time. You know what….lazy vacations days are a superb way to spend a day on vacation. =)

The weather outside was cold and rainy/snowy, so we slept in very late, and didn’t do anything until about 4pm. It was absolutely wonderful.

When we finally bundled up to hit the outside, most places that were even open on Monday (Monday is typically the day everything is closed) were already closing up. We started by strolling in the Latin Quarter and ducking inside a few of the many science fiction/comic book stores in the area. Yes, the do carry about the same things as the US ones do. Then, we jumped on the metro and headed to La Defense/La Grande Arch. This is more the business district of Paris and by the time we got there all the crowds were office drones heading home for the day. The Grand Arch was closed to visitors for unknown reasons, but the Christmas Market down below was in full swing. The view from the Arch down the Champs-Elysees was worth braving the cold winds to take photos.

The Christmas Markets here were much better than the ones on the Champs-Elysees. For one thing, there was more variety and more handmade items. We still didn’t see a lot that we were interested in buying, but it was fun to window shop. We did hit the jackpot when we found a place selling Christmas decorations. Mark had been wanting lights for his room in Algeria, but we’ve been unable to find a shop that carries them. Thankfully, here we found some lights that would work perfectly.

Of course we also had to get a chocolate crepe and a tartiflette from 2 of the booths. We also picked up some roasted chestnuts to munch on while we listened to (of all things) a Peruvian band play. Neither one of us has had chestnuts roasted on an open fire. Jack frost was indeed nipping at our nose while we ate them, too. =)

In the Christmas spirit, we then headed towards Boulevard Haussmann where 2 big Paris department stores typically decorate their windows (much like I would believe New York City’s department stores to do so). This turned into quite an amusing experience. The Printemps department store windows alternated between animated windows and non-animated windows. The animated ones featured flat, almost two dimensional, stuffed people dancing around with their limbs connected to strings much like a marionette puppet. I really can’t even begin to describe the windows as none of them were Christmasy at all. In fact one featured ghosts chasing after people with spooky music.

The next department store over was full of lively windows. Here, the Galeries Lafayette windows were in a theme, Show Chaud Noel, basically meaning show music. The most hilarious windows were the two blaring Mama Mia songs (sung in French of course) with various dancing figures. One window was full of teddy bears in scuba gear singing Mama Mia while the other had dolls jumping out of a cake. There was a window with Mary Poppins singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious in a French accent. Still more were Caberet, West Side Story, and the Rockettes.

After strolling through the streets of Paris, we found ourselves back at the Place Concorde where the huge ferris wheel and oblesik is located. Here I stopped to take more photos with the tripod since we had it with us. We also decided to hit up the Christmas Market booths we missed last time we were here. Of course we ate more tartiflette, too. Nice easy meal. =)

And by now it was late and time to head back to the apartment. All in all, a great day in Paris.

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