If it’s Friday, it must be France …

Joyeux Noël! Have you taken some time to enjoy beautiful light displays in your neighbourhood? Some of the set-ups around our place have been spectacular. Perhaps it’s to make up for the shortage of snow? It was definitely a green Christmas in the Toronto area this year although I’m happy to say it is snowing tonight. Finally!

Here’s a little history about Christmas lights. In 1882, the first Christmas tree was lit by the use of electricity. Edward Johnson was one of Thomas Edison’s muckers, an inventor who worked under his direction. He lit up a Christmas tree in New York City with eighty small electric light bulbs and created the first string of electric Christmas lights that were then mass produced around 1890. By 1900, department stores started using the new Christmas lights for their Christmas displays.  Johnson became vice-president of Edison’s electric company.

The use of lights for Christmas decorations is popular around the world. Our guest blogger today is going to take us on a stroll through Paris to look at the holiday displays there.

I’m really pleased to introduce you to the fabulous Nicole Basaraba,an adventurous  young Canadian blogger/writer, living in Brussels, Belgium at the moment. Nicole shares many of her travel experiences on her entertaining and informative blog Nicole Basaraba’s Uni-Verse-City. Make a point to stop by some time!

Growing up in Western Canada, Nicole Basaraba was always skipping to her own beat. Not being a hockey fan, having no skills in skiing or snowboarding, always being cold, and having never tasted maple syrup, she is what you might call a “bad” Canadian. Having studied some history in university and always dreaming of seeing Europe, Nicole moved to Brussels, Belgium to live, work and travel of course. She soon discovered that there is more to Belgium than just its delicious chocolate so she decided to stay in Europe for an undetermined period. Working in print publishing and website content management by day, she writes travel articles, book reviews and other lifestyle/culture articles about her fun and crazy experiences in Europe by night.

Here’s what Nicole has to tell us about Christmas in Paris:

If you haven’t been to Paris for Christmas, you’ll enjoy seeing some of the traditions there. Every town and village in France has a Christmas market and Paris is no exception.

When you think of Paris at night, the first thing that may come to mind is the Eiffel Tower glittering in the dark. At Christmas time, there are so many more lights to enchant you in this beautiful city.

The first place to start is the Champs Elysées. The entire boulevard is lined with trees decorated in dancing lights, blue, purple, green, red and orange. The trees sparkle with the light reflecting off the diamond-like strings of circles hanging from the branches.

While admiring the lights show, you can wander past all the booths lined up bearing Christmas goodies, food and gifts. Fresh meats, cheese, Gluhwein or vin chaud (warm mulled wine), delicious pastries, wooden games, stuffed animals, winter wear; there is sure to be something for everyone on your Christmas list.

The Champs Elysées, being one of the most popular areas for tourists, has the more commercial Christmas market. When it gets darker the area becomes even more enchanting with the purple lights.

If you want to see a Christmas market that is more reminiscent of the original German style, take the metro to La Défense and enjoy the over 350 chalets. In a small village on its own standing between the modern mirrored skyscrapers, it’s a clash of tradition and modernism that works so well together. The Christmas market in La Défense has more chalets, including many from around the world such as Canada and Germany.

Don’t forget to stop at Notre Dame to see the beautiful Christmas tree in the courtyard. It’s a great place to stand and enjoy the Christmas spirit as you snap photos.  I’m sure it would look stunning from a boat cruising along the Seine.

You can’t visit Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower. Whether you go to the top or not, you can admire it looking like the most glamorous tree you’ve ever seen.

 Thanks for that stroll past some of the Christmas lights in Paris, Nicole!  I’m looking forward to reading about more of your adventures and travels in Europe in 2012! Happy New Year to you!
Christmas markets in Paris and elsewhere in France have their origins in the northern Alsace region, which has belonged to Germany at various junctures in history and therefore draws on German Christmas market traditions stretching to as early as the 14th century. The most famous– and largest– marché de noël in France is in Strasbourg, the capital of Alsace.
Are there Christmas markets or something similar where you live? How about spectacular light displays?
Check this one out. The music is heard on a radio station and there is a box for donations to the local hospital.  Happy holidays!
My sincere thanks and a big holiday hug to each and every one of you for taking the time to visit my blog. Some of you I know and many I don’t, but your interest is so appreciated and very motivating. You can’t imagine how satisfying it is for bloggers to see the “clicks” on our site statistics continue to grow. Thank you, thank you! May 2012 bring the best of health and happiness to you and yours! MUWAH!

Published by patriciasands

Patricia Sands lives in Toronto, Canada when she isn't somewhere else, particularly the south of France. With a happily blended family of seven adult children and, at last count, six grandchildren, life is full and time is short. Beginning with her first Kodak Brownie camera at the age of six, she has told stories all of her life through photography. Much to her surprise a few years ago, she began to write and has now published three novels, including two that are part of a six-book series set in the south of France. Love France? Love her work! Check out her website She is particularly drawn to the rewarding friendships of women and the challenges many embrace once their families are grown. "It's never too late to begin something new," she enthuses. "As the saying goes, just do it!"

15 thoughts on “CHRISTMAS IN PARIS

  1. I simply must plan a trip to Paris for Christmas! Those lights and the market stalls are so gorgeous. Thanks for sharing Nicole’s story with us, her blog posts are always fascinating!

  2. Oh my, I would love to be in Paris at Christmas! What gorgeous sights. Perhap Tameri and I can go together. Thanks so much Nicole and Patricia, just what I needed on this long winter’s night. Happy New Year!

  3. Patricia, you and Nicole could rule the internet with your gorgeous pictures of France Belgium, Germany and wherever else your travels take you. Nicole, I love learning about the Christmas markets and hope someday to visit one of those beautiful countries. thanks, ladies for a great post!

  4. Je t’aime Paris!!!! I’ve been in summer and fall but never for the holidays, that is going on my bucket list as of….now! 🙂

  5. I’ll never forget going to spend a Christmas with a friend in Germany who lived near the french border and she took me to the Strasbourg Christmas market – I had never seen anything like it (I am from NZ originally – Christmas in summer – imagine), the ambiance was fantastic and I would never have believed that I would come to live in another french town with a similar tradition all these years later.

    Here in Aix en Provence, we have the beautiful Cours Mirabeau with Christmas chalets, fountains, lights, numerous food festivals and activities for children during the period leading up to Christmas.

    I hope you visit again soon Patricia!

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