Where would I rather spend the holidays? Well, I'm spending them here in Paris, but as with everything, there is beauty to be found both here and in the U.S. this season. I have family and friends on both sides of the Atlantic so it's a given that whether I am here or there, I will miss someone…
To celebrate the best of both, I've put together a list of my five favorite things about the Christmas season in Paris and in the U.S.
1. The City of Light really lights up! (The biggest displays are on the Champs-Elysees, and inside and outside of the Galeries Lafayette department store. But I prefer the more modest strings of lights along neighborhood streets and the big Christmas tree that takes up residence in my neighborhood.)
2. Being offered a cup of rich, creamy hot chocolate as I wait in line at the Maison du Chocolat for my special treat: a miniature Yule log.
3. The Christmas markets, where I can buy ornaments for the tree and handmade candies from Alsace.
4. The austere beauty of Notre-Dame Cathedral and its Christmas crèche.
5. The scents of chestnuts, fireplaces, good wine and roasted turkey.
1. The camaraderie of Christmas cookies. OK, over here I can make them on my own, but it's not as much fun as with family and friends. And the fancy French Yule log always seems to upstage them… sigh…
2. "The Nutcracker" at even the smallest theater. My favorite ballet is not the classic holiday show here in Paris. Thank goodness for DVDs!
3. Watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas," "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" and "It's a Wonderful Life" for the millionth time. Again, thank goodness for DVDs.
4. The many holiday parties thrown before Christmas. (Here in France, Christmas is Christmas. We're talking Dec. 24 and Dec. 25. That's it.)
5. A few moments listening to Christmas carolers as they stroll by. In Paris, I rely on my Christmas CDs.
Happy Holidays to all!