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One Day in Christmas Paris

December 24, 2012

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Paris always fascinates me. It’s the city that is resistant to any transformation yet it feels a little different every time I visit. With its monumental landmarks and eternal classic architecture, Paris nonetheless has many faces. It’s like a talented actress that can be dramatic when you expect it from her, or cheerful, or posh, or foxy, or even sad. Depending on what season you visit in or what mood you bring in with you, you’ll meet your own Paris, and will probably keep it like that in your memory forever.

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My first visit to Paris happened to coincide with fall, and to me this city will always stay a little dramatic, like the piercing wind that followed me around while I was getting acquainted with its beautiful sites.

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I also visited Paris in spring, when the chestnuts along the Champs Élysées are blooming and spreading the magnificent aroma covering the entire city; I’ve been there in summer when it’s so hot and steamy that all you can be thankful for is that there are no usual crowds of tourists around you; and this time I happened to visit Paris in December, all set to celebrate Christmas.

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Having only one day off that I was able to extract from my work trip to France, I tried to concentrate on just walking around the city, soaking up its joyful Christmas spirit, as opposed to hitting my favorite sites. Numerous sparkling balls alongside the Champs Élysées and the lit up Eiffel Tower made the city very festive, and the incredible aroma of freshly baked crepes and waffles in the kiosks set up on both sides of the avenue, accompanied by tasty steaming gluhwein made for one very memorable day.

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Having my family come down from Russia to celebrate my 27th birthday in Paris made that weekend even more special. After a shopping extravaganza on Avenue Montaigne, we had an amazing lunch at L’Avenue famous for its beef tartar followed by an even more chic dinner at Lasserre famous for its decadent foie gras-stuffed roasted pigeon. If you ever happen to dine at this restaurant, don’t be shocked by several cages with doves at its entrance. They serve a purely decorative purpose – you won’t be eating those beautiful white doves but rather special farm-raised pigeons.

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The next morning I walked my favorite route: Champs Élysées down to Place de la Concorde through the Tuileries Garden to Place Vendome, saying goodbye to one of the most captivating cities in the world… Who knows when I will visit it again and what mood I will be in to rediscover Paris for myself in a new light?

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