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Winter Strolls: Three Itineraries for Soaking Up the Festive Atmosphere + Giveaway

Winter Strolls to Soak Up the Festive Season

Passage Jouffroy; Lily Heise

There’s something particularly special about Paris over the holidays. Of course there’s the sparkling street lights, the enticing window displays, the abundance of heavenly holiday treats, but it’s also something more than that. Spirits ride on this wave of joie and les parisiens can’t help but have a little extra joie de vivre. Here are three itineraries that will take you away from (most of) the crowds and allow you to take in that same joy, guilty pleasures, and offbeat sites that will make the holiday season in Paris truly shine.

Hip Shopping, Food and Culture in the Marais

Skip the mayhem of les grands magasins and do your holiday shopping as you take this creative meander through the Marais. Embark on your foray at the trendy concept store Merci, where you can pick up some of their carefully selected holiday ideas and perfect stocking stuffers like a candle version of their trademark red fiat bearing a roof-load of presents or a Christmas tree, thin garland thread, offbeat snow globes and an vast array of other cool gift ideas.

Winter Strolls to Soak Up the Festive Season

Merci Concept Store; Lily Heise

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Posted in Food, Markets, Shopping, Travel | 10 Comments »

Strolling in Paris: Let Me Count the Ways…

Strolling in Paris: Seine River BankMadcowk

Flâner has always been one of my favorite French verbs. The dictionary definition reads “se promener sans but précis” (to walk without a precise goal). Since aimless wandering is basically my raison d’etre in Paris, I appreciate that the French have a word dedicated to the act.

But here’s the kicker: they don’t have just one word for it. My thesaurus indicates that flâner has twelve synonyms. TWELVE synonyms, all of which convey the idea of slowly walking for the sake of walking. I’m the first to admit that walking rules—in fact, I do it quite often—but twelve synonyms? Surely the French have crossed the line into excess.

But no, my friends, no! Spend some time in Paris and you will quickly understand how many different types of strolling there are—I would argue that twelve is, in fact, a vast understatement. In addition to flâner, we have déambuler (to stroll), errer (to march here and there, at random), se promener (to walk oneself… as if you were your own French bulldog), vagabonder… you get the idea.

And in addition to the twelve official ways of walking, I’ve developed a few of my own “walks” that don’t yet seem to have formal labels:

Strolling in Paris: Banks of the SeineKari Geltemeyer

The backwards walk. This comes in handy when I need to head east, but the Eiffel Tower is doing its sparkling thing, so rather than turn my back on it, I just walk backwards until it’s done, trying my best not to stumble off a bridge.

The “I’m not lost” walk. Naturally, I do this one when I’m lost. The key is to walk really slowly so you appear to be flâner–ing (just taking it all in… nothing to see here), but really you are retracing your steps, or turning in circles, or wondering if that’s the same Franprix you passed twenty minutes ago. It’s ok; wherever you’re going, you’ll get there eventually, and in the meantime, you’re lost in Paris. How romantic!

The walk of NO shame. The sun is up, and yet, having hopped from bar to bar, I have not yet gone home for the night, and my outfit now seems highly inappropriate. Rather than running for cover, I simply stroll through whatever open-air market I come to, eying the produce like the savvy early-morning shopper I am pretending to be. (Then I buy a baguette and eat it in bed before I fall asleep for the rest of the morning). Continue Reading »

Posted in Parisian Living | 11 Comments »