Monday, December 31, 2007

Three days before Christmas

It was 10:30 when we hopped on Vélib bikes at the Bastille, and rode down rue St. Antoine. We were bundled up for a cold winter's day, but the sun was working hard to keep us comfortable. On rue de Rivoli we passed the Hôtel de Ville, with it's skating rink out in front, and we turned right on Boulevard de Sébastopol to return our bikes to a Vélib station near the Beaubourg. We were going to our French/English conversation group, for a little Christmas party, and then to a nearby bistro for their plat du jour.

It was a perfect winter day in Paris. The sky was blue and the air crisp as we crossed over the Seine after lunch.

All of the shops were dressed for the holiday season, and street artists were helping Santa to spread his Christmas cheer.

We walked for hours, wandering in and out of shops, going to outdoor Christmas markets, enjoying the sights, and joining the crowds in front of the department store windows. Everywhere we went people were wishing each other "Joyeux Noël" or "Bonnes Fêtes".

After we walked through the Marché de Noel in front of l'église Saint-Sulpice, we went into the church to see La crèche de Caltagirone. At l'église St. Germain des Prés, the organ was playing during a service, and we stopped to listen for a moment before going across the street for an expresso at Les Deux Magots.

As night fell, Notre Dame was magnificent under a full moon. We stopped to try to capture that beauty on film, and surrounded by tourists, we enjoyed hearing so many different languages being spoken in such a peaceful setting. As we headed home across l'île Saint-Louis, we felt pleased for ourselves and for all of the visitors to Paris who were blessed with such a beautiful day.

The gift of love. The gift of peace.

The gift of happiness.

May all these be yours at Christmas.

Bonne Fête de Noël dans la paix et la sérénité


The last night of the year

On vous présente tous nos voeux de bonheur pour l'année 2008

We wish you a happy and prosperous 2008

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