France and England: Part 5

Christmas day in Paris! We had a late start in the morning since it was Christmas day. We spent the morning just wandering around the city. Mostly everything was closed but people were out and about.

We went to Luxembourg gardens nearby and enjoyed the little bit of nature. The grass was still green, which is always amazing to me since Chicago is usually a barren wasteland of ice and snow by mid-November. Along the gates of the park, there is always a photography exhibition. One year it was political cartoons, another year it was animals of the jungle. This time, the exhibition dealt with bees and beekeeping practices around the world. I have a soft spot in my heart for bees (a hobby I plan to take up in my retirement like Sherlock Holmes) so this was really neat.

On the way back to the hotel, we saw a cafe or bar that seemed to specialize in broadcasting lucha libre. I’m seeing more and more Mexican restaurants in France, which is interesting. I’ve only tried Mexican food once in France (in Nice incidentally) and it’s a mistake I’ll never make again. The signs on this cafe/bar though are pretty swell.

Lucha Libre Bar

That afternoon, we attended the Cirque d’Hiver again! This was our third year going to this Paris institution. Again, we were the only people without children with us. The main clown was a clear homage to Jerry Lewis and the show began and ended with him putting on and taking off his makeup and clown clothing. The circus was top notch as always. This time the show started with tigers. Very odd to see tigers jumping and sitting up on their hind feet. What beautiful creatures. There was also a guy with trained parrots, which was pretty cool. One drove a little car!

Cirque d’Hiver

The best piece was this duo acrobats who did foot juggling but with a person instead of a ball or a chair. Very impressive as the one acrobat flipped the other through the air with his legs and feet! There was also a cool trio hand-balancing act where they did things that seemed impossible. I love when circus does that!

I thought the flying trapeze with a 1920s Parisian theme was really quite good. I’ve seen a fair amount of flying trapeze acts and they don’t give me the same thrill anymore. But this one had a special energy or something that made it stand out from the rest.

On the way home to the hotel, we did pass Bataclan theater where people had died in the terrorist attacks in November. People were still putting flowers and other memorials nearby the theater. What a tragedy. We also passed the Place of the Republic where people are putting memorials near an impressive statue of Liberty. Incredible.

That night, we had our Christmas dinner at Le Procope, the oldest restaurant in Paris. It actually started out as a coffeehouse and was frequented by the stars of the Enlightenment. It has both Rousseau’s and Voltaire’s desks. Also, the founding fathers, like Benjamin Franklin, also frequented the place. In the foyer, they have Napoleon’s tri-corner hat on display; apparently, he left it as collateral for an unpaid bill!

My mom and I opted for the giant sea platter for our Christmas dinner. I love love love oysters. This platter had four different types of oysters including weird black inky ones that stained my skirt. THere were big shrimp, langoustines, and tiny tiny shrimp. So good!

Our Christmas Feast

After dinner, we decided to go to a movie, a recent tradition on our European winter holidays. Past years, we’ve seen the Hobbit movies. So this time, we saw Star Wars VII even though we had already seen it. It’s a fun experience going to a movie theater in a foreign country. It’s a different experience. Aside from France, I’ve never done it anywhere outside of the US. We had to wait outside for the movie (kinda like NYC). The commercials are all in French which is fun and strange. You get to see trailers for movies that may never make it to the US. THe movie was fun the second time around. It was in the biggest screen in the movie house but it was far from full. The Big Short, in contrast, was sold out.

That’s all for now. Tomorrow I’ll talk about our trip to the Louis Vuitton Foundation and a French Revolution walking tour!

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