Thursday, December 11, 2014

Carousels, Boats, and Two Bottles of Wine

After an amazing Thanksgiving celebration, I had to step back through the looking glass for just a little while the following morning. While I was off at work for a few hours, my family wandered around the gardens of Paris. When I was finally released from the shackles, I met them across from the Eiffel Tower, where my wee nephew was anxiously awaiting a ride on the carousel... Avec moi! The two things he knew about Paris before actually coming here were the existence of the Eiffel Tower and the fact that I live here. This of course explains why, when they first landed in the city and were en route to their apartment, he walked up to a man in a tour group and asked, "Are you going to Auntie La's too?"... Perfection. That being said, I was pleased as punch that this fickle young lad was so interested in riding the carousel with me and me alone! He had his heart set on manning a small airplane, so I placed myself regally upon a traditional horse by his side.

Following this delightful escapade, we took some pics of the Tower itself, then set off in search of refreshment. My sister-in-law had read about a good pizza place in the neighborhood, and while the original idea was to take a pie with us back to the park, it ultimately became much easier just to plop ourselves down at the restaurant and feverishly nourish. Nephew was a little too fixated on the idea of ice-cream while the adults wanted real food first, but we were able to keep him calm long enough to fill our deserving tum tums with (even more!) cheesy carbs. We planned on taking a cruise down the Seine post-Tower, which turned out to be a perfect early evening treat. Though it was getting progressively colder as the sun set, the night was clear and we were able to see the sites from the river during that magically sweet hour when day fades into night. My amazing nephew simply loved being on the boat, and since he was a bit too cold, we bedecked him with gloves from mama, scarf from papa, and hat from Auntie La... He was pretty much in heaven.

Our icing on the cake for the evening was a pre-planned romp down the Champs Elysées to experience the delights of the Christmas Market. Like so many other Christmas markets, it is filled with fatty foods, cheesy carnival rides, overpriced crafts, and many many tourists. However, it also has a certain charm quite specific to Paris. The fact that it's on the great avenue and ends at the Place de la Concorde with the giant sparkling ferris brightly lighting everything up is pretty spectacular. It's also peppered with strange taxidermy-inspired animals for folks to fawn over (Or one folk, as my dear nephew likes to say... Hey! That folk is in my way!). But most importantly, most blissful, most enchanting of all is the hot hot wine. In NYC and many states in the U.S., drinking out of open containers in public is now allowed. One of the many reasons why I prefer France. As we made our way through the street traffic and the twilight, we warmed ourselves with steaming cups of mulled wine. Maybe not two bottles, but certainly the equivalent.

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