Day Into Night: Greeting a New Year in Paris

After a hurried holiday breakfast and a few lingering embraces with the rest of our family, my daughter and I headed for the airport and boarded a waiting plane to Paris – traditional Christmas celebrations would have to wait until next year. I’ve always wanted to experience life in Paris during the holidays, and a plan slowly came together which captivated our daydreams for months until the sudden jarring news of the November terrorist attacks. After a brief pause amidst real concerns, we continued with our plans, an affirmation that life must continue in the face of adversity. After all, we will always need this iconic French city, and now Paris needed us back.

A strongly persistent tail wind agreed, pushing our plane forward and swiftly delivering us to our destination ahead of schedule in the pre-dawn hours to our beloved city of light. The full moon resting low in the sky guided our driver easily through the streets still twinkling with holiday decorations and deposited us curbside to a vacant Place Vendôme and a sleepy hotel desk manager. As we waited for our room, we didn’t understand that by stepping into the balmy pre-dawn night we were making an unspoken and unexpected agreement with the travel gods that we’d be up and very awake for the next 24 hours. Giddy and energized, we greeted the day with a few other travel vagabonds, and wandered the streets for hours until our dinner at the Eiffel tower and the ride to the top finale. It was the start of a week to remember, seven days between Christmas and New Year’s, a welcome return to a city we love and I think especially this time, a city that truly loved us back.

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Our week in Paris was a meandering, window shopping, café lingering, schedule-free visit of sorts, and there were days that no cameras were allowed.  A see-with-your eyes only rule was temporarily instated until a visit to lovely Montmartre. The small artist enclave once surrounded by vineyards is of course now a popular tourist destination, especially on beautiful sunny winter afternoons. This hilltop village is like being on top of the world, the vast views almost begging one to spread their wings and fly.  Once grounded, the labyrinth of crooked streets come alive with interesting street scenes begging for capture.

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The icing on my Parisian travel cake will always be the captivating Eiffel Tower, and upon reflection, it made perfect sense that on New Years Eve all roads seemed to lead to the Champs de Mars. United in purpose, the slow march from the Champs Élysée with thousands of other revelers will be forever etched in my memory. Strangers became friends, united by the pull of the great structure in our need to celebrate a night of new beginnings, an optimism normally taken for granted. The toned-down light show was more exciting than the greatest of firework displays and the exuberant cheers and happy chorus of voices is a sweet sound that I often hear in my daydreams. Cheers for happy memories, and for now, a belated Bonne Année to all.

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95 comments

    • Thank you Sharon! I’m always tinkering around with my blog, and sometimes I wish I could leave well enough alone…although change is good, right? Eleven Summer Roads, the first letters stand for my initials. Crazy. Stay warm!!

      Liked by 2 people

  • gorgeous images, Elisa… ’cause very familiar, too, as we lived in Paris for several years and our 2 “old babies” were born there! ❤
    * * *
    we spent the X-mas vacation in California – between Frisco and Death Valley… with our close and loved ones!!! 🙂

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      • Elisa, if you ever come back to France, try to visit our pittoresque région Midi-Pyrénées, you’ll love it… Toulouse is just 1h-flight from Paris! 🙂 less than 2h-drive from the Mediterranean and from the French-Catalan Pyrénées, 3h-drive from Barcelona, olé! 🙂

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        • Mélanie, thank you for the advice. We always do return to France and try to head out in new directions. I’ll let you know the next time we go!

          Elisa

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  • A most ambitious holiday plan you had, Elisa. And, glad it worked out for you and Annie. But, it’s a good thing I wasn’t your travel consultant. 🙂

    Votre ‘photowork’ est absolument magnifique. I’m pressing my limit on my French. Talk with you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha, you would have been impressed with the security on New Year’s Eve, but I admit that I was a little concerned that evening. The time leading up to that was calm and restful, and the security around the city was visible but fairly low key. I’m sooooo glad we stayed the course and continued with our travel plans. And thank you!

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      • I heard the security on NYE was very tight in Paris. One of my friends, his daughter was there when the attacks happened as an exchange student. Understandably, she came home quite shaken by the experience, and opted not to return.

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  • Ah-ha! You’ve re-invented yourself again, Elisa 🙂 And very beautifully, as I should have known. You couldn’t have a better subject. I sighed and sparkled right along with you. Welcome back! 🙂

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    • Thank you, Linda. It’s a new blog theme for me, and was thankfully easy to navigate the set-up process. So Glad you enjoyed the Paris pictures, too. Makes blogging all worth while!

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  • Awesome to see you again Elisa and what a return this is! Fantastic trip diary through your stunning photographs, I loved every minute of your trip. My brother-in-law used to live in Montmarte and my sister in Paris across from the Eiffel Tower where you shot the beautiful blond woman – a lot of great memories came flooding back with your wonderful post. Welcome back!

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    • Oh Mary, it’s always so nice to hear from you. I remember you once telling me of your visits to your sister in beautiful Paris, and I’m happy that you revisited your memory bank. The shot near the Eiffel Tower was taken with my old iPhone believe it or not…and the woman is my daughter. It took me a minute to absorb that yes, she truly is a woman now, and will be celebrating her 21st birthday this month. Thank you so much for visiting with me this time! Take care and have a wonderful week!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi there, and thank you for traveling along with me to Paris! I’m glad you stopped by and look forward to seeing you around WP. Take care,
      Elisa

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    • Hi Nora, thank you! it was fun, but I have to admit that fun follows whenever our daughter is around, no matter where we are! So glad to see you, take care and have a great week.
      Elisa

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  • Oh my, Elisa, these photographs are truly stunning! We have friends here who are international authors/speakers/journalists who attended the climate conference, arriving, as you did, in the fray of the attacks. And I agree, Paris must have needed all of you. Lovely work, and Aloha!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Superb photo-story and great new blog theme, Elisa. Eleven Summer Roads sounds like a wonderful novel, congratulation! 👍🏻😊

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    • Dina, I’m still smiling over the thought of that flying pink lipstick, and the dry delivery of Drake’s commenter. How I do live for a good laugh at the most unexpected moments. And thank you, I’m glad you like my new look and name – the words stand for my initials! It took me 3 days of nonstop thinking to come up with it. Exhausting! Actually, it was my daughter who encouraged me to commit to blogging, and I’m glad she did. I do enjoy it, and I enjoyed hearing from yours well! Take care, and have a wonderful week.
      Elisa

      Liked by 1 person

      • “A good laugh is sunshine in the house”, good old Thackeray said, how true! 🙂
        “I wish I could always look like I’ve just finished a really good laugh.” That’s not me either (Diane Lane), but I like the feel of it! 🙂 I love Drake’s humour. So glad that makes two of us, Elisa. Stay a cheerful, happy blogger.:-)

        Liked by 1 person

  • Thanks Elisa! We never got to Paris last year when in London, but you certainly have showcased it beautifully, and give me the desire to visit next time should it occur:-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, I’m happy to be the latest cheerleader for beautiful Paris. I look forward to following your other travels until you touch down in the City of Light. Take care,
      Elisa

      Liked by 1 person

  • Oh this is the Paris I was longing for! I went to Paris in late May 2011, and didn’t find THAT Paris. Instead, I found the overcrowded Paris with long queues 😦 I actually felt disappointed, assumed that Hollywood, perhaps, had oversold the city. Your pictures have revived the Paris I was longing for, hopefully one day, I get the chance to return to Paris especially off-peak season 🙂 Cheers.

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    • Hi Kat! Your comment brings up a good point, when is the best time to visit Paris? My husband and I spent a week in Paris at the end of October, beginning of November 2015, and I was surprised (and a little disappointed) at how crowded the city felt. I’m beginning to think that it’s become a 52 week popular destination! Fingers crossed that you find the perfect window and have the Paris visit of your dreams. Take care and have a great weekend,
      Elisa

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  • A fabulous post with some stunning shots. I share your love of Paris and whenever I am there with my wife a feeling of being in a very special place surges up inside every time. I loved your idea of no camera days – a tough decision as you never know when that perfect shot will reveal itself. I guess there is always the smart phone back up! I look forward to touching base again. Wilbur.

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    • Hi Wilbur, and thank you! Yes, the camera issue is a tough call. When I bring it, in consideration to my travel partner I rush and end up with some weird compositions and blurry photos. One solution is to go out alone at dawn and wander around, but it is sooo hard to get out bed that early when you’re on vacation! Take care and have a great weekend,
      Elisa

      Liked by 1 person

  • Lovely photos, looking forward to visiting Paris again. I went in February last year and it was perfect without all the crowds. I didn’t make it to Montmarte though 😦 Next time. Cheers
    Heather

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    • Hi Heather, I think we’re on to something with our winter Paris travels. We didn’t spend as much time as I would have like in Montmartre, I feel as though I’ve only scratched the surface the few times I’ve spent any time there. There is ALWAYS a next time, though…I hope!! Take care, and have a great weekend!
      Elisa

      Liked by 1 person

  • Absolutely beautiful Elisa! That winter light is just stunning and you have captured it magnificently!!! So jealous, Melinda and I are always talking about when we are going to get back to Paris… Love the blog theme btw.

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    • Thank you, Michael! A friend of mine and I always thought it would be a reasonable plan to visit Paris at least once a year. Why not, we’d always say. Unfortunately, not only has it not been reasonable, but almost impossible to schedule. I’ll take what I can get, though, and hope that you and your wife are able to make a return visit soon. Your photographs will make up for my annual lapses! 🙂

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  • Hi Elisa. What a lovely post. Places of course, but above all you managed to capture a fabulous winter light. Good job. Where you had dinner at the Eiffel tower is still the Jules Vernes? A hotel Place Vendôme has to be nice. And I know the Brasserie, if I,m not mistaken. Facing the Louvre right? Glad you did not postpone the trip. (I almost booked a flight after november. Wanted to be there)
    Look forward to more posts. (Need to check my reader, don’t know why I haven’t seen your posts?)
    Ye be good naw ye hear? 😉
    Brian

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    • Hi Brian! Thank you so much for the visit, and for your kind comment. You’ll be in Paris before you know it, I’m sure! And not to worry, you haven’t missed my posts I don’t think…I’ve become the very occasional blogger these days. Less posting is the only thing that works for my schedule these days. Hope you had a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  • Great photos and narrative. Actually, a week in Paris at any time of the year would be quite a welcome opportunity, but overcrowding may be an issue. 🙂 I’m in the process of relearning some french now, in preparation.

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    • Learning French is a smart idea, that way you will owe it to yourself to practice “live!” So happy to see you, and hope you had a great weekend!

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  • So beautiful! I truly loved all of your pictures and it brought me right back to when I was in Paris last year in September. Truly what a special city.I’m glad I’ve stumbled upon your blog and now I can keep up with your journeys! Like you, I love to travel and I absolutely love a good glass of wine! 🙂 Happy Sunday! I hope you have a great day!
    -Katrina

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    • Hi Katrina, I just returned from a visit to your wonderful blog. I look forward to reading about your adventures in Romania…and who knows, maybe a another side trip to Paris. Have a great week, and cheers!
      Elisa

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Elisa!
        Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words! I look forward to seeing more of your travels and yes, who knows, a side trip to Paris could definitely be in my future! 🙂
        -Katrina

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  • What a fabulous way to ring in the new year, Elisa. Wonderful images to go with your story and your fantastic Eiffel shot to top it all off! Memories made with family last forever.

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  • Wow, I feel like I’ve just been on the most extraordinary trip to Paris — thank you Elisa! Your photos are really exquisite, and the love you feel for Paris and mankind shows through warmly in your narrative.

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    • Ha, I do enjoy it when we’re all typing and reading at once, unified by the great blogosphere! And thank you, it touches me when someone connects with what I’m trying to say on my posts. Sometimes my point isn’t as clear as I’d like it to be, but Paris seems to make everything come together. Take care, Jet, and have a great weekend!
      Elisa

      Liked by 1 person

  • Stunning images, takes me back to our stay in Paris just before the November attacks. I would love to spend Christmas in Paris or at least some of the festive season in order to see the lights and do a bit of shopping.

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  • Beautiful images, Elisa. Like you, I love Paris and I can’t wait to go back. I’ve been away for far too long. What’s your next trip?

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  • Paris over the holidays must have been an unforgettable experience! Your pictures are gorgeous – they show how interesting Paris really is… 🙂

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  • So glad you went To Paris 🙂 one of these picture has Been taken 1 mn walk From my place In Paris ( The one With your daughter ). And Ï Love The word meandering 😉

    Like

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