Christmas 2013, my best friend Janelle and I were wandering the streets of the West Village talking about our wishes for the coming year. We made a pact that we would do something different and spend Christmas together abroad. So when I got the opportunity to do an apartment swap mine (NYC) for an apartment in Paris, I couldn’t believe my lucky stars that our wish would come true.
Since it was my second time in Paris (read here) and Janelle’s first, we definitely had different ideas of what we wanted to do and to see during our time. I had visions of sitting in a cafe all day drinking coffee and eating croissants while writing in my new journal-yea, that didn’t happen. Janelle obviously wanted to see all the sites and be a tourist. Paris to me is a lot like New York, the experience is completely different than the last. I actually wanted to go see some of the sites again because I was seeing them with my best friend.
What made this time in Paris different was that I wasn’t overwhelmed with the amount of things I needed to do, to see, and to eat. I felt like I got the touristy-bug out of my system the first time I was in Paris so this time I felt more relaxed. I also knew the city better and felt comfortable navigating the metro. We were also staying in an apartment versus a hotel which made us feel like locals and we were able to cook a lot of our meals at the apartment which was very convenient.
Before I went away, a lot of friends and family asked me if I thought it would be weird spending Christmas away from home. My answer was that Christmas is how you create the experience and the memory. I already had my best friend with me and together, we created the perfect Christmas Eve scene: We had a roaring fire, Christmas songs playing in the background while we ate tons of our French cheese, French bread, French pâté, and French wine. Christmas morning we went to Notre Dame, walked the Seine River, and saw the Eiffel Tower during sunset. On our way back to the apartment, we stopped by Rue Montorgueil for a drink and to people watch. Montorgueil is a pedestrian street in the center of Paris with all these amazing markets where you can buy everything meat, seafood, cheese, wine, flowers, and desserts. We sat there for a couple of hours because what’s the rush? We’re in Paris. We sat there thinking that this was one of the best Christmases we’ve ever had.
Sometimes, it’s good to break away from home and start new traditions because you’d be surprised at the new kind of memories you can create. I rarely go to the same place twice because the world is just too big for repeats but Paris is a place that just keeps getting better with every time you visit.