Our flight in on New Year's Eve was delayed, so we only had a few hours of daylight to check out Notre Dame. We did make it in time for the last showing of 'Lumen de Lumine' of the year, which was beautiful. It's an audiovisual show projected on a large transparent screen over 100 m² stretched across the altar. Presented for everyone, this is a presentation about the Mystery of Christmas with the liturgy of the Nativity and great works of art: painting, sculpture, architecture, icons, stained glass....all shown with background music from the grand organ of the cathedral and the choir of the Notre-Dame de Paris.... translated from l'officiel des spectacles magazine.
After that we did a walking tour of historic Paris through Saint Chappelle and the Latin Quarter and ate some delicious mediterranean food. Afterwards we stopped in at the monoprix and picked up some snacks and champagne for New Year's Eve on the Champs d'Elysees. We took the metro to the Arc de Triomphe, and the whole Champs d'Elysees was just gorgeous with all the trees lit up all the way down the avenue to the ferris wheel. We walked down the avenue through the massive crowds and ended up in the middle of it all at the stroke of midnight. We toasted 'Bonne Annes!' and enjoyed the festivities there before calling it a night, er, morning.
After our long day of traveling and ringing in 2009 until the wee morning hours, we slept in on Thursday and then headed straight to the Eiffel Tower where we spent many hours taking in the gorgeous view from the Champs de Mars. We stayed until dusk and when the sun went down the tower lit up a beautiful golden color and then every hour on the hour all night long it would burst into a shimmering display of glittering blue lights. We took a video to share with you all, because pictures don't do it justice:
After we got our fill of the tower, we did another walking tour - this time of the River Seine bridges. Each bridge is different and there's one every block or so. They're all so beautiful. You'll see plenty of pictures of them in our album. We had a romantic dinner at Chez Clement Marbouef off the Champs d'Elysees and enjoyed delicious frommages and of course canard l'orange and creme broulee!! It was sooo yummy and we absolutely recommend this restaurant - they have multiple locations, excellent service and delicious food. They even have english menus but it's not a tourist joint.
On Friday we woke up to a blanket of snow outside our balcony and headed back to Notre Dame so we could see it in the daylight and climb the tower. Unfortunately the towers were still closed because of the weather, but we did enjoy taking in the beautiful detailed facade and the stained glass windows. The Latin Quarter ended up being our favorite area so we spent most of the morning there and enjoyed delicious crepes from a street vendor. They made them right in front of us and we ate them piping hot - sooo good. After a picnic lunch of baguette au pate, we headed to the Louvre to wrap up our Paris adventure. We spent some time walking around outside and through the jardin tuilleres and then headed inside the museum for the long haul :) . We listened to a great podcast by Rick Steves which you can download free here if you're interested. After the louvre, we walked down Rue St. Honore and had dinner at a great cafe near the Place de Concorde.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip and we fell in love with the city of lights. It was a beautiful romantic city and very tourist-friendly. We had no problems navigating the city streets or metro and everyone we encountered was friendly and helpful. We used our few key french phrases like champs!