29 November 2010

Live on Coffee and Flowers.

Paris is cold.  Officially.  Despite the fact that Parisians of all shapes and sizes have been bundling up since the beginning of September (as far as they're concerned, back to school/back to work also means back to winter), it has officially become necessary to keep one's face half-hidden beneath a huge knit scarf.  Worse still, it is occasionally required that one wears leggings under one's jeans -- a look that is both unflattering AND uncomfortable... But warm, all the same.

I took these photos at the Canal St Martin using
a new iPhone app.  Not sure how I feel.

My first glimpse of snow in Paris, from my office window.
Paris is also ready for Christmas.  Over the past ten days, Christmas has been unveiling itself in the streets, little by little.  Considering that this is generally acknowledged to be one of the more attractive cities in the world, Christmastime in Paris is magnifique.  The Champs-Elysées is hosting an adorable Christmas market, where I've already spent too much time and money (I can't say no to hot wine and churros...).  The lights are gorgeous, and they give me little butterflies - both because they make me love Paris even more than before, and because they remind me that Christmas, and my reunion with my family, is just around the bend.

Champs-Elysées at night
Christmas display at Galeries Lafayette department store
I've been fortunate though, and haven't been short of familiar faces of late.  My little sister, who is seventeen and fabulous, was in Paris last week for five days.  Her visit overlapped slightly with the visit of two good friends from Villanova.  The four of us even got to climb the Eiffel tower, on a beautifully clear day - something I always enjoy, no matter how out of breath it makes me!  Unfortunately, I still had to work while Meg was here.  We met up for lunch every day, sampling the finest of French cuisine (read: Eating tuna sandwiches sitting inside a mall), and saw each other after work as I stayed with her at a tiny budget hotel in the 13th.  It was so nice to have her -- my two sisters are the two people around whom I feel the most comfortable, and so needless to say it was a pleasure to be with Meg.  Only 19 days until the three of us are together again!

Having my baby sister here in Paris with me was a great time.  Better still, during her stay we got to see The National in concert at the Paris Olympia.  The National, as you might know, is my very favorite band.  I was lucky enough to see them play in June in Philadelphia, and when I learned they'd be playing in Paris I jumped at the opportunity to see them again.  They really are phenomenal - if you're not familiar and you're curious, check out their website here.  The venue was great, their setlist was incredible, and I got to see them with my little sister!  What more could I have asked for?  Maybe I could have asked for the lead singer to come down into the crowd, and stand right next to me while he sang.  But oh wait! I got that too.

View from the halfway point

Last Thursday, Megan and I had a busy day and managed to cross a few things off my Paris must-see list.  The most notable of these was our trip inside the Palais Garnier!  I've been awestruck each time I pass the Opera house from the street, but to go inside was a different level of awesome altogether.  Gilded wall moldings, marble floors, chandeliers at every opportunity -- to imagine how it must have burst with energy in its heyday was vraiment enchanting.  It's not hard to imagine how Gaston Leroux found inspiration to write his famous novel.  
Can you imagine this filled with gorgeous dresses etc.? Ah!
Always worth every penny.
I woke up this morning to a dusting of snow -- not the first snow I've had in Paris, but waking up and realizing the world has been blanketed overnight is always a magical feeling.  This week, the remainder of the Christmas decorations and festivities are due to start.  I look forward to seeing as many of them as I can -- Who knows the next time I'll get to be in Paris around Christmastime?

My snowy walk to work this morning.
With less than three weeks to go, my stomach is tied in anxious knots.  I am, of course, looking forward to home and all the things it brings with it (my two precious cats, my two not-so-precious sisters, and lots of home-cooked food!), but I am also experiencing a bit of stress about how little time remains to me.  Three weeks from today, I will be back in Pennsylvania.  It all sounds so terribly boring to me, at the moment.  Keeping this in mind, I've realized that it is most definitely time to panic and do as many Parisian things as I possibly can in the time that remains.  It's crunch time, chers amis.  While my friends at home begin thinking about cramming for finals, I'm preparing for a different sort of cramming altogether.  I think I may have gotten the better end of the deal, but that can be decided after December 18...

While the wind whistles outside my window in the 11th arrondissement, I have three wonderful suggestions to lift your spirits (and mine too!).  I know that the weather has been nothing short of frightful all over the world (though when I called my good friend in Ghana yesterday, she was wearing a tank top and shorts on her balcony...).  Rather than letting the gloomy weather bring you down, why not listen to this catchy French song?  It might just lift your spirits.    If that doesn't do the trick, then this blog's wonderful pictures might be what you need.  Still feeling blue?  Try one or two of these hilarious stories.  I'm almost sure the combination of these three will do wonders for your mood.  If not, go and buy yourself a warm baguette from the local boulangerie - works for me every time.  A bientot xo!


  1. Nice post and great photos Niamh.

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