Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Our morning begins with a walk down the street to the local bakery-Le Boulanger des Invalides Jocteur. It’s a cozy corner café that’s both charming and inviting with its traditional décor of polished brass, marble, painted ceiling and of course the golden cockerel looking out from the window. The marble top tables and stools add to the laid back atmosphere.
The scent of fresh baked bread wafting throughout the café makes me want to just sit here all day and try every item behind the counter! Everything simply looks divine and elegantly made with lots of love. You can sense the amount of happiness and pride that the owner has from the way he arranges the flowers in the vase to the way every baked item is set perfectly in its place for customers to see. It’s a wonderful feeling to have and a great way to start the day!
The coffee, chocolate croissant, apricot tartlet and plain croissants are excellent!
The plan for the day is to head out to the right bank of Seine River and walk towards the Christmas Market along Place de la Concord and continue up Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe.
From the bakery, we head east on Rue de Babylone; a street in the 7th District of Paris in the Invalides neighborhood. This narrow street runs for about half an mile from Boulevard des Invalides to Boulevard Raspail. The sights along this street begins with a cinematic theme; from the La Pagode-a movie theater housed in an antique Japanese pagoda built in 1896 to Cineimages-a gallery selling original movie posters, photos and documents.
The street continues pass small specialty retail shops, patisseries, cafes and the Jardin Catherine-Labouré-a park of about 7000 square metres with a community garden.
We make a stop at The Conran Shop; a popular department store selling an eclectic array of knick-knacks, furniture and housewares.
Rue de Babylone ends at Boulevard Raspail; this intersection is lively with many outdoor cafes and the hustle and bustle of cars and people.
We walk along one of the most fashionable and expensive areas in Paris; on Rue de Sevres and Rue des Saints Peres. These two streets are a fashion’ista’s playground with high-end boutiques from Hermes, YSL, Alain Mikli, Prada and Sonia Rykiel to Ralph Lauren.
On the left bank of the Seine along Quai Voltaire, book sellers/bouquinistes ply their trade from green boxes that house old books, journals, stamps and trading cards.
We cross over to the right bank of the Seine on the Pont Du Carousel bridge.
Pont Du Carousel leads us through the Pavillion de Lesdiguieres to the Cour Carree; the grand courtyard of the Louvre Museum. From the open courtyard, you can see the different wings of the Louvre and the Louvre Pyramind.
We continue around Pl du Carousel and walk through the Arc de Triomphe de Carousel into the Jardin des Tuileries between long rows of manicured trees and trimmed hedges to the open promenade and gardens.
Numerous modern and 19th century sculptures adorn the large square of the Tuilieries Garden.
We begin our stroll through the Christmas Village from Place de Concorde; this open Christmas market runs from mid-November to early January alongside the Champs-Elysees gardens. It stretches between the Place de la Concorde and the Rond Point or roundabout, halfway up the Champs-Elysees.
The vendors in the white wooden chalets offer up handmade crafts, decorations, jewelry and other Xmas items. The food stalls are amazing; it’s a wonderful feast for the eyes and stomach! The charcuteries have a diversity of cured prepared meat products from bacon and ham to salamis. There’s enough chocolate here to feed the entire city!
The foot long red sausage has a nice bite and is nicely tucked inside a toasted baguette-delicious! The salted German pretzel yielded a soft and chewy texture with every bite-yum! The Belgium Frites are super crispy and served with a variety of flavored mayo and of course plain ketchup. I love eating different foods, there’s so much more to taste but my stomach is only so big.
We continue walking west along the Avenue des Champs-Elysees; one of the world’s most famous street and most expensive strip of real-estate in the world! If you like to shop, this is the place for it! The street is lined with chestnut trees with trendy boutiques, luxury specialty shops, cinemas, restaurants and cafes. There’s something for everybody! Watch out for groups of gypsy girls bumping up to next to you with clipboards-they’re pickpockets!
The Arc de Triomphe is one of the most famous monuments in Paris at the west end of the Champs-Elysees; it honors those who fought and died for France in the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars.
From this end of the Champs-Elysees, you can see the lights spinning around the Ferris wheel at the Place de la Concorde-beautiful! At this point, we cross the street and leave the hustle and bustle of this busy street for a more leisurely less crowded walk on Ave George V.
Ave George V is located in the Golden Triangle which is one of the most upscale shopping districts in Paris. Here you will find every designer of haute couture from Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Jean Paul Gautier to Givenchy and Chanel! Besides all these luxury boutiques, there are also many luxury hotels, restaurants and nightclubs.
Our day ends with a stop at the Le Boulanger des Invalides Jocteur, (the same place we went for breakfast) to pick up some fresh baked baguettes, vegetable soup and a few pastry items for dinner.
It was a fun filled day of grazing and browsing through the Christmas Village, we even got to see a few of the top tourists’ attractions in Paris!