|Opéra Garnier by night|
|Galeries Lafayette, glowing with Christmas lights|
|One of the windows from Galeries Lafayette|
|Another Galerie Lafayette window|
Right next door, the displays at Printemps were spearheaded by Chanel and encompassed fashion capitals throughout the world. 11 cities were showcased, such as L.A., New York, Paris, Tokyo, Moscow, Venice and Shanghai, among others. These windows were a strange alternating mix of more marionettes and other displays with mannequins, perfume, jewelry, and yes, even taxidermied animals. Because when you think of Christmas, who doesn't think of a giant stuffed moose or deer?
|Chanel's interpretation of Paris|
|Another window showcasing Paris|
|In the window about the seaside French city of Biarritz|
|Don't remember where this was supposed to be - I think I was too wrapped up in the fact that Chanel put a stuffed moose in their display|
|Even Bambi had to show off his fashionable Chanel jewelry!|
After having a good laugh over the bizarre sights found throughout the designer Christmas displays, we headed towards Place de la Concorde, where every year a giant Christmas Ferris wheel gets set up - La Grande Roue de Paris. For a mere 10 euro (about $13.50), you can go for a ride to check out the city and all its Christmas lights by night. While I'd never pay that much to ride a Ferris wheel at home, this one was actually really, really big, and we couldn't not go, I mean we're in Paris after all!
|Tada! La Grande Roue et moi!|
|My genius attempt at modern art photography, or just a cool-looking blurry shot of the Eiffel Tower ?|
|View of Place de la Concorde & the Champs-Elysées from the top!|
The smell of food was wafting down the street, and one of the first stands we happened to stumble upon was selling vin chaud (hot wine!). Never needing an excuse to indulge, we bought some wine and warmed our hands while we walked around. You can find everything you'd ever think of here - hot food to eat while you're busy buying regional food specialties like foie gras and cheese, all sorts of ornaments, scarves, gloves, fancy soaps, chocolates - you name it, they probably sell it here! I'm anxious for the other markets to open up so I can pick up a few more little trinkets before I leave.
|Kaitlin and I enjoying our hot wine!|
I went with a few of my friends to Ladurée (right off the super ritzy Rue Royal, in between Place de la Concorde and la Madeleine) to taste-test their famous macarons. Not to be confused with coconut macaroons, French macarons are meringue-like treats flavored with almond paste and about any other taste that you could possibly dream of. Monsieur Ladurée decided to sandwich two of them together with jam, chocolate, caramel, etc. way back in 1862, and thus the macaron was born.
|Our macarons: framboise (raspberry), pistache (pistachio), chocolat (chocolate), caramel au beurre salé (salted-butter caramel - my favorite!), and noisette (hazelnut)|
These little pastries (literally the size of a half-dollar) are packed with flavor but don't come cheap - it will set you back 2.20 euro ($3) for just one! While it was delicious, I can't afford to come here all the time - paired with Ladurée's signature hot chocolate (which was literally as thick as mud & absolutely delcious) which only costs 6.50 euro, I don't want to think about how much I spent on this mid-afternoon snack but am glad that I finally made it to this reputable restaurant and got to sample such a delicious treat. I'll stick to my corner bakery that sells macarons for 80 cents a piece!
|My expensive snack!|