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Joyeux Noël! Christmas in Paris. La carte postale

“Open every Sunday.” Just one of the many reasons to love Paris.

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Joyeux Noël! Christmas in Paris. Quatre

I woke early enough to spot Jupiter or perhaps Mars outside the window, a little before dawn. Tony cautiously asked, “How are you feeling?” My head felt like the size of the Hindenburg, but the rest of me felt human. Four cups of tea and some remaining Bûche de Noël later (Hey, feed a cold and starve a fever, right?) and we were all cheerily bundled and heading to the Festival du Merveilluex.

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Joyeux Noël! Christmas in Paris. Trois

Just as they have done for the past 16 years, the “children” woke at 0500 to see what Santa had brought.

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Joyeux Noël! Christmas in Paris. Deux

Christmas Eve. There is always something to do in Paris that has not been done before.

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Joyeux Noël! Christmas in Paris. Un

While chatting with a friend in late autumn we mutually discovered that her visiting family was looking for a place to stay over Christmas, while we were looking for someplace to travel for the holiday. The plan was born.

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Flannel and Fur. Saint Petersburg! Postcards

Scenes from the 56th parallel north.

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Flannel and Fur. Saint Petersburg! The Hermitage

The State Hermitage Museum. Somewhere around 3 million pieces of art spread across more than 1.000 rooms, the second largest collection in the world after The Louvre. The National Museum of China; The Met; and the Vatican Museums round out the top five, in case you wondered.

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Flannel and Fur. Saint Petersburg! II

Once again we awoke to a (partially) sunny day, and with a full agenda. Breakfast accomplished in under 20 minutes, we set out for the Peter and Paul Fortress, its highlight being the Cathedral and the burial place of all but two Russian Tsars. Tour group swarms were light, the good part; but they were rather obnoxious in how easily they became agitated with those of us independent travelers who wished to view the highlights of the cathedral.

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Flannel and Fur. Saint Petersburg! I

This first morning dawned…sunny! We put ourselves together and hurried to the morning meal. Breakfast is the one meal I seldom look forward to at home because all of us take a different approach to the start of the day, so it’s either three preparations or someone is left unsatisfied. When we travel, though, I can have salmon and cucumbers; Tony can have fried eggs and bacon, and everyone is happy.

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