As I’m writing this, London is covered in a thick blanket of freshly fallen snow.
I don’t know, maybe it’s because we don’t normally get snow in Buenos Aires (although, by some miracle, we did get a snowfall two winters ago, even if I wasn’t there) but I’m hopelessly delighted and fascinated by this phenomenon.
This is invariably met by sarcastic/annoyed remarked from whoever listens to me this side of the globe. Admittedly, snow is a lot more enjoyable cuddled up in the coziness of your apartment and, as someone mentioned, if you don’t have to go out to work for example. Still, a lot of snow will have to fall for me to get tired of it. I don’t think there’s anything comparable to the peace I feel whenever I am in the presence of silently falling snow.
Last year, I was lucky to spend Christmas in France once again. And I was even more lucky to go to Paris for the day on the 23rd December, just in time to see the Christmas lights lighting up the city. It wasn’t until I was on my way back that evening, and the coach was driving along the river Seine that the penny dropped and I fully understood why Paris is called “the city of lights”. It couldn’t have been more beautiful. I went with a very dear friend, we did quite a lot that day. Of course I couldn’t leave out food-related stuff. We bought some macarons at Ladurée, had lunch at a very charming little bistro (very French), the likes you don’t see much anymore now and finished out Parisian day by popping into La Cure Gourmande, an artisan biscuit shop that was a pleasant discovery for me.
If you have to choose just one place to taste French macarons, why not go to the very place where they were created for the first time? Ladurée has shops in several places in Paris and, fortunately for us, they were not far from where we were. But, let me tell you, going to Ladurée on the eve of Christmas Eve (which the French celebrate rather than Christmas Day as they do in the UK), is probably not the best move if you are pressed for time. I was surprised to find Paris rather deserted for that time of the year compared to London, let’s say. Well, it seems that everybody I did not see in the streets was queuing up in front of me to do their Christmas shopping! But you can’t blame them. Those macarons were the absolute best I have ever tasted. I particularly liked the cassis violette and the fruits rouges ones.
By pure chance, we ended up in Montmartre at what was, in my opinion, the best time to go, at sunset. The view of the Basilique du Sacre Coeur was breathtaking.
And I can’t fail to mention the marrons chauds street vendors. Although you can also see them in London at this time of the year, there is something ultimately Parisian about hot roasted chestnuts or, marrons chauds.
Montmartre was the first place in Paris I got acquainted with in my first proper visit to the French capital (I can’t count what I had done as a backpacker as a proper visit for I walked Paris for 15 hours and still I managed to miss quite a lot in the miserable rain we had that time. Still, I thought that was possibly going to be my only visit ever to Paris. Luckily, I was wrong). As I was saying, Montmartre was one of the first things I properly saw in Paris and its bohemian atmosphere still blows me away.
I wish we had spent more time in Montmartre but we had a bus to catch. Fortunately, we arrived at the meeting point with some minutes to spare. Even more fortunately, the meeting point the bus driver had instructed us to be at was right in front of La Cure Gourmande.
La Cure Gourmande has the most delicious berry-filled meringues I had ever tasted. That alone makes it worth going there but I could also indulge in my tin collecting passion for they had the cutest biscuit jars one of which came promptly into my possession.