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Have a healthy happy holiday 🙂

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Happy Holidays or Joyeuses Fêtes :)

As I sip my hot tea and nibble on shortbread cookies, I am very grateful to be indoors on one of the many cold and rainy days of winter. A “mild” temperature of 40-50 F is still cold to someone who has lived the last 20+ years in Los Angeles 🙂 I’ve learned to cope with the cold by wandering through the splendid “passages”, from the Vivienne, to Choiseul. These were the “malls” of old Paris and they retain their charm today as unique shops and cafés still exist inside while global chains predominate everywhere else.

Last week I meandered through three passages that connect, starting with Passage Verdeau, extending to Les Panoramas, and Jouffroy.

The Hotel Chopin is tucked into the corner and although it definitely shows its age, the location is charming.

A marvelous little tea salon, Le Vallentin serves light bites and sweet treats in an elegant setting in the Passage Jouffroy.

Decorations for the holidays were simple, but added a colorful note.

Yes, people were eating ice cream cones when it was 40 F outside!

Stepping out into the cold between metro stops, there were some hearty souls playing music in the Marais. Another band a block away had a tuba but I couldn’t get close enough for a picture with the throng of people and cameras!

Another way to spend a cold day is in one of the smaller less well known museums, like the Carnavalet, where permanent exhibitions are always free (along with a free coat/bag check).

This municipal museum was once two townhouses, but now you may enjoy the grounds and the collections without having to pay the heating bill 🙂

Last year was my first Christmas in Paris, and I went to the most well known big Christmas markets, the Champs-Elysées, and Trocadéro by the Eiffel Tower.

This year I went to the one at La Défense, the business center of Paris. A huge holiday village in the center of the industrial complex, with the omnipresent kitsch, like miniature Santas in various poses in all Christmas markets, but also a nice place to wander and shop. If the weather hadn’t been cold and rainy, I would’ve taken more pictures of the stands, which reflected more of what residents would want to give as gifts and eat. There was a lot of Iberian ham and raclette, warm cushy throws, hand tooled leather journals, kitchen gadgets, and of course all kinds of toys and books for children.

No matter which exit from the metro you choose, you’ll be greeted with a lit Christmas tree, this one  is near the Grande Arche, next to Santa’s house where he greeted children (because it was much too cold to stand outdoors for long)!

A giant red ball illuminated one of the main entrances to the Christmas village.

 The little wooden “chalets” were a stark contrast to the modern high rise buildings.

 Once inside the village you really forgot about the skyscrapers.

Angels lit the walkways along both sides

 and the light angels framed the Arc de Triumph between them at the other end of the Esplanade.

 The other huge Christmas tree of lights

 had a walkway underneath so you could literally stand under the tree of lights:)

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