Thursday, December 4, 2008

Back home.... um, I mean in Paris ;-)

After a very brief, but great visit to Florida for my birthday, I flew back to Paris Tuesday night. When I arrived yesterday and got back to my apartment, it wasn't as strange of a feeling as when I got back to Florida last week. But I was still a little out of sorts - probably more due to the jet lag than anything else. I slept 12 hours last night and woke up today ready to resume the Paris Adventure. I am so happy I brought back lots of warm, and fairly stylish, Paris-looking clothes. My outfit du jour... don't I (sort of) look Parisian?!?

First stop was the American Church in Paris. This church is famous for being sort of a social hub/community center for American expats living in Paris. They have bulletin boards with notices posted for housing, employment, social gatherings, etc. The ACP was the first American church established on foreign soil (in 1814) and the present building the church occupies has been in operation since 1929.

Next Saturday night the church is having a special Candlelight Christmas Concert and I bought a ticket to attend - I can't wait! There will be a choir, instrumentalists and handbell players - songs will be in French and English. (Little known fact: I played in a handbell choir for about 3 years in my early teens).

After my visit to the ACP, I made my way over to the Hotel des Invalides (note "hotel" in French when referring to a site, usually means hall or large building - not a place to rent a room). Anyhow, the Hotel des Invalides is where you find Napoleon's Tomb. This is another one of those sites that I've tried to get to on previous trips but somehow never visited.

Napoleon's coffin is HUGE. Actually, he is inside 5 coffins all of which are inside a giant sarcophagus! The most interesting thing about visiting Invalides - at least to me - was the inside of the beautiful gold dome that is so visible on the Paris skyline and is immediately above Napoleon's tomb. On the grounds there is also a military museum (but I didn't go in that part - mostly because it was close to closing time).

The plan for after visiting with Napoleon was to go to the Musee Orsay (you know, I have yet to visit a museum since I've been in Paris!). But as I walked in that direction - and stopped to get a piping hot Crepe Fromage - I saw a small street that was all lit up with Christmas lights. So like a moth to a flame, I walked towards the bright, shiny lights :-) The area was Rue Cler and there were so many cute shops that I decided to just wander around this area tonight and visit the museum another time. Such a festive atmosphere! After a couple of hours, I headed back home after making a quick stop at the market for a fresh supply of Brie and Coke Light ;-)

During the week I was in Florida, Christmas decorations started going up in Paris. Around every corner is a Christmas tree, beautifully decorated store window or as in the case above, whole streets decked out with lights. Holiday spirit is definitely in the air - especially with the cold weather. Now it just needs to snow while I'm here!

I brought a little Christmas tree back with me, so between that and the xmas lights I strung up a few weeks ago, my studio is looking quite festive and cozy. I have a scarf wrapped around the base of the tree - kind of like the Charlie Brown Christmas where Linus wraps his blanket around the base of the sad little tree Charlie Brown brings back for the Christmas play :-)

Click here to view all of today's photos (12/04/08)


Anonymous said...

Yes, you do look quite stylish and parisian.
Love, Mom

J. Sterling said...

Hey Gina.... looking very tres chic these day... can't wait to see more photos of Paris during the holidays, wish i was there with ya :-) ttyl - Jeff

Garcia said...

Hand bell! Love it! :)