Ok, this blog entry comes late . . . very very late . . . I know !
First, it was on hold, because during the first subsequent weeks to this trip but I couldn't find the right motivation to write about it, and then it simply slipped out of my mind.
The positive thing about that: at least I didn't get upset anymore about this 'failed trip'.
Fortunately, from a distance now I would say 'it was a great trip - just as our family trips always are' !
I really hope you enjoy the nice pictures and the story of our latest trip to Paris.
These past three years we have been to the Christmas Market in Paris on Champs Elysées after New Year, as it is among the only Christmas Markets in Europe still being open after Christmas, even after New Year.
This years Christmas Market @Champs Elysées was scheduled from November 11th 2016 to January 8th 2017.
Because of recent incidents and the attack @Berlin Christmas Market in December 2016, I decided to wait and book only last minute, so that I could make sure the Christmas Market in Paris was not canceled.
It wasn't, so I booked the TGV train tickets and the hotel rooms late on Friday evening December 30th.
On Wednesday January 3rd, we left for Paris.
We had to go by car to Luxembourg city railway station due to the suspension of our train connection for maintenance work. Then we had to take a detour because of road closure and nearly missed the train. Weather was sh** in Luxembourg city, and we were soaked wet when we boarded the train.
Were these already the signs predicting a bad trip?
Nooo . . . .
Because honestly the trip was not so bad....just a compilation of minor incidents.
But there have also been positive aspects: such as the new TGV trains and our hotel.
Fortunately, the railway connection between Paris and Luxembourg is now served by double deck TGV trains which offer more seatings and more comfort. Previously there have always been issues with overbooking, overcrowded trains, conductors never made any controls and were not to be seen during the journey. It was nearly impossible to reach the toilet because the corridors and exits were always crowded by people without appropriate ticket & seat booking. So I really hope that these double deck trains will be maintained, as well as police/army control on board wich made us feel more secure on our trip with kids.
Once we arrived in Paris, we went by Metro to Rue de l'Opéra to leave our luggage at the hotel.
As we are constantly trying new hotels in new locations in order to find the perfect match (well, actually it's just me, because I am the one who organises the trips, choses hotels and does all bookings), I had booked two rooms at Hotel Opéra Choiseul on Rue Daunou, only steps away from the Opéra.
The hotel's website stated:
'the best location in Paris' - yes it is!
'elegance in the heart of Paris' - I agree.
So far this was the best hotel in regard to the location, the price offer, the facilities and again : all about the location.
So, after leaving our luggage at the hotel, we headed south to have lunch in our beloved Japanese Restaurant HIGUMA on Rue St Honoré , a restaurant we discovered on our previous trips to Paris in October 2016.
Unfortunately, on the way to the restaurant our son had one of his tantrums, which was an unexpected happening as we thought we had left these behind, because there have not been any tantrums for about the past 2 years.
Nevertheless, I love Higuma's veggie soup Yasai Lamen.
But love my extraordinary son even more, my eldest son too and my daughter likewise!
After lunch, we passed the Louvre on Rue Rivoli direction Ile de la Cité Notre-Dame, crossed Seine at Pont Neuf and headed to the Quartier St Germain.
We had wonderful 'tea time' at Maison Pradier on Boulevard St Germain.
It's a lovely little shop, great selection and good quality. Additionally to some seatings downstairs, there's a lovely lounge upstairs were you can chill or work on your laptop.
Absolutely to be recommended.
Then we continued our tour along Boulevard St Germain towards Place de la Concorde.
It was nice to see this part of Paris with it's winter lights and decoration.
But then disappointment hit us !
When we reached the Champs Elysées, we saw a deserted ice rank ... no people...all the stalls closed !
I tried to find somebody to get some information but the person I asked just snapped at me 'C'est fermé depuis le weekend' - 'it's closed since this weekend'!
So we left . . .
Later I tried to get some information at the hotel reception and on the internet, but obviously the Major of Paris had simply cancelled the authorisation and closed the Christmas Market on short notice on Monday - two days prior to our arrival.
Everybody was extremely disappointed. I felt so sorry for the kids and was angry at myself that I had missed that information about the early closure of the Christmas Market.
We had take away dinner at our hotel room and chilled on the beds and watched some cartoons.
I had hoped for a good nights sleep, but before I could lay my head to rest, my son had another of his tantrums, and it took me over one hour to bring him to sleep.
The next day we enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and left to explore some more of the city.
I showed my family the Place du Marché St Honoré with the Passage des Jacobins, then we walked along Rue St Honoré, passing the Eglise St Roch, the Palais Royal and Conseil d'Etat, the building of Ministry of Culture & Communication with it's steel mesh on the facade, the Protestant Church of the Ovatory of the Louvre before arriving at the Bourse des Commerces and the gardens of Les Halles.
The kids immediately explored the playgrounds, but unfortunately one was still closed in the morning during winter months, so the kids decided we absolutely had to come back in spring or summer to check out this playground too.
We strolled through the park and Nelson Mandela Garden, Church St Eustache and visited the Forum des Halles shopping mall with a wonderful LEGO® store as well as the surrounding streets and Fountain of the Innocents.
Les Halles, its gardens and surroundings are definitely a nice place to spend some time with kids.
Before noon we went to a close by underground station and drove to Gare de l'Est by Métro. We had a quick lunch at Pizzeria Bistrot Lorrain before getting to our train.
We found this restaurant too when we last stayed in Paris, because we tired of the overcrowded and expensive food hall inside Gare de l'Est. Pizzeria Bistrot Lorrain is a cosy restaurant with reasonably priced dishes only two minutes from the Gare de l'Est on Rue du 8 Mai 1945.
And off we went again . . . back home.
Dear PARIS we'll be back soon.