Noël à Paris

I usually spend Christmas in London with my parents and some family we have there. Sometimes we go to Cyprus, but this year as I will be in Paris until the beginning of January, I thought I would spend Christmas here, with my parents. Lucky for us, we spent Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our family friends and enjoyed a Christmas, trés Parisien.

The night of Christmas Eve, we went to our friends who live just outside of Paris. The house was filled with people, the food smelled amazing, the Christmas tree nearly disappeared with the amount of presents that was under it and even Father Christmas came by for a quick visit…

After glasses of champagne, dinner consisted of smoked salmon blinis with homemade radish sauce, followed by fois gras accompanied with a special wine, then a type of chicken with marrons (chestnuts, which the French normally have at a Christmas meal) green beans and potatoes. Of course, all this was finished off with a big cheese plate and a salad. Dessert was a traditional Yule Log chocolate cake and homemade gingerbread biscuits. The night was a pleasure, as we continued drinking and chatting and taking photos into the night.

On Christmas Day we went to a Greek-Cypriot and French family’s house for lunch. A friend from Cyprus who married a French man, promised us a mix of Greek and French delicacies, and we were not disappointed. To start, we had Greek avgolemoni soup (an egg and lemon soup that tastes better than it sounds!) fois gras, then a traditional French dish of Coquilles Saint-Jacques, which is a baked scallop dish. This is a rich mixture of butter, cream, mushrooms and Parmesan cheese baked in a scallop shell.

It wouldn’t be a French meal if cheeses weren’t on the menu… My parents liked the cheeses so much, we went to Le Grand Épicerie the next day and stocked up to take back to the UK.

Le Bon Marché, Rive Gauche, is the most beautiful and well stocked labels, department store in Paris. We went here to look at the accessories and Homewear. Right next to it is Le Grande Épicerie, the go to place for anything food and drink related.

This homemade Christmas cake was the best I have ever tried. I am not really a fan of it, so I only had a bit and took some home; instead I went for the Greek pastries of Baklava, Kataifi and Melomakarona. We also stayed here until late when the time came to go home and watch the best show there is on Christmas Day with my mum, Downton Abbey.

Restaurants:

Unless we are invited somewhere to eat, we usually dine out. Here are some of the places we went to and enjoyed.

Ralph’s

After my parents settled in for a bit at my apartment, we went for dinner at Ralph’s, the restaurant at the back of the Ralph Lauren store on Boulevard Saint Germain. Ralph’s combines a typical American character with the spirit of the Rive Gauche. Their menu is rich in the nation’s gastronomy; Lobster from Maine, crab from Maryland, Black Angus beef from the USA, steaks and fillets from Ralph Lauren’s own ranch in Colorado, exclusive for the Parisian designer restaurant.

Hôtel Costes

A boutique hotel located on the Rue Saint Honoré, it is part of the Costes group, which is run by brothers Thierry and Gilbert Costes. The interior is extravagant and luxurious with a rich purple and gold theme, chandeliers and heavy wood, with a beautiful terrace. We went during the day, where the atmosphere was self-contained, with up-market clientele, whereas the evening brings coolness and exclusivity.

L’Avenue

Also part of the Costes group, is a restaurant my parents are I have been coming for years, every time we are in Paris. It fitted well that we came here on our last night together. Located on the exclusive designer shopping street, Avenue Montaigne, the interior is dark and chic, the waitresses and hosts are dressed in the city’s latest fashions and the food is delicious and so are the cocktails.

Our Christmas adventures are not over, as we also went to the Ballet and the biggest Antique and Vintage market in Paris. More on that to come later!

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