Shiny and modern, the Legend is one of the really lovely hotels in Paris, so I was happy to call it my home for a few sparkly Christmas days in the City of Light. I was greeted by an elegant and enchanting decor featuring clever owl lamps, artful tree branches, minilights and friendly front desk staff who appeased me by letting me practice my French skills.
Upon check-in, the staff gifted me a bottle of Taittinger Champagne, with two glasses because “on ne sait jamais.” But I was in Paris on my own for these days, a short escape from my current place of residence in Rouen, and a chance to fulfill what may well be the fantasy of most women—Christmas in Paris. I had a plan, and that plan included creating some unforgettable Christmas moments in this incredible city and at this wonderful hotel.
That afternoon, I left the Montparnasse shopping district where the Legend is located and headed directly to the Christmas market at the Champs Elysées to wander and absorb the bustling atmosphere, drink hot mulled wine and catch a glimpse of the schedule of the Grande Roue de Paris for the next day. I had every intention of riding that famous Ferris wheel first thing Christmas morning.
I returned in the early evening to my garden-suite room, my peaceful escape from the surge of the city, and devoured a dinner of chocolate fondant cake and Champagne while I readied myself for Christmas Eve mass at Notre Dame.
The moon was fantastic and the queue to enter the cathedral not long; it was a beautiful night. I found myself well seated among locals and tripists, everyone wanting to share in this holy night in this magical city. One hour later, the boisterous organs piped us out of the church with spirit while new crowds filed in for the next service. I wandered along the Seine, enjoying a late-night crêpe, and watched Christmas go by in Paris.
Notre Dame and the Seine at night.
Like a child on Christmas morning, I awoke early, and after a typical, yet always delicious, French breakfast of pastries, fruit and strong coffee, I set off to take a spin on the Grande Roue de Paris. This was my first time seeing Paris from such heights, and the perfect opportunity to snap a few photos of the fascinating and complex city spread out before me.
The Grand Palais from the Ferris wheel in Paris.
As the day grew brisk and cold, I was thankful for my afternoon plan, to cozy down in one of the movie theaters on the Champs Elysées and lose myself in Life of Pi.
I still had one day left in Paris and looked forward to one more sleep in my lovely room, with a vast menu of pillows and comfort, and one more delicious breakfast at the Legend. The next day I decided to tackle Montmartre, far from the 4th Arrondissement; Montmartre is a place I had not been to in 15 years. Like many parts of Paris, it is relatively unchanged, still vibrating with life, art, music and tripists.
I discovered another Christmas market at the foot of Sacré Coeur, and after another cup of hot wine and more amazing views, the sun was beginning to set and so was my energy; I knew it was time to put Christmas in Paris away and head westward, home to Normandy.
Disclosure: While my stay in Paris was made absolutely dreamy and totally possible thanks to the new Legend Hotel and the Girls’ Guide to Paris, all words, thoughts and photos are my own.
Jeanette Kramer is author of the blog Love & Passport.
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