A Parisian Christmas – Paris.France – December.2012

I know… it’s already three months later, and I’m still writing about Christmas in Paris.  Life gets to you and you get caught up in the daily grinds of things.  But it’s nice to reminisce once in awhile, then plan for future adventures…

After a week in Paris, we were beginning to feel comfortable, almost “at home” away from home.  We understood the Metro, we knew which direction we were going, and we picked up a few basic words and sort of the right pronunciations.  And now it’s Christmas.  Jay and I both agreed that we’d stick to the Asian side of Paris, mostly because we knew that these businesses would be open on Christmas.  Plus, we aren’t very religious, and the churches were probably going to be the most crowded that day.

We started off our late morning heading over to Chinatown.  Except, when I Google Chinatown Paris, there’s not a specific street or section identified with Chinatown, or at least I wasn’t clear on it.  So we took the Metro to Tobiac (line 7) and walked down Avenue de Choisy, looking for somewhere to have lunch.  It was on the early side, around 11am and most restaurants were just opening up.  We pretty much walked the whole street and found this place – Tricotin (15 Avenue de Choisy).

Restaurant Tricotin

Restaurant Tricotin

Jay's dish - Vermicilli with spring rolls and a Vietnamese Iced Coffee

Jay’s dish – Vermicilli with spring rolls and a Vietnamese Iced Coffee

My dish - roast duck

My dish – roast duck

a drink... don't know what it is, though, but it was yummy.

a drink… don’t know what it is, though, but it was yummy.

What we started to realize is that a restaurant labeled as a “Chinese” restaurant is actually a restaurant serving different types of Asian foods – Chinese and Thai and Vietnamese.  Then there are restaurants that only serve Korean food, and restaurants serving only Japanese foods.

Anyway, we walked back up the street to the Metro and passed by Pho 14.  We actually should’ve eaten here as the line was super long!!

pho 14.  pho 13 was just a few stores down, but not nearly as crowded as this place.

pho 14. pho 13 was just a few stores down, but not nearly as crowded as this place.

We then headed to the Eiffel Tower.  I figured, “Not a lot of people can say they were at the Eiffel Tower on Christmas.”  But when we reached there, I realized that at least a few thousands can say that!

me trying to pose like the other tourist trying to hold up the tower.... since we were taking a pic of ourselves, it was hard to line up

me trying to pose like the other tourist trying to hold up the tower…. since we were taking a pic of ourselves, it was hard to line up

our Merry Christmas from Paris photo

our Merry Christmas from Paris photo

overlooking the Christmas Market

overlooking the Christmas Market

lined up with trees

lined up with trees

how many pics of this tower can one take???

how many pics of this tower can one take???

So as we were walking over the bridge to the tower, there were all these clusters of people.  I take a look and notice people doing the ball under a tin and mixing it up, and you gotta guess which tin the ball is under.  Then I notice these women who were betting.  Ah, tourist traps.  Yes, but looking from the outside, this is what I see:  there was at least one woman in each cluster who was betting.  There were all betting at least 50EUR (like $65).  And they were winning.  What we concluded was that these women were part of the act.  It was like, this is easy enough and I double my money!  So then a stupid tourist would try and then lose.  Stupid tourist!

my undercover camera skills

my undercover camera skills

Worth mentioning as well – During our first couple days in Paris, Jay and I was walking down the street.  A lady was walking towards us in the distance.  When she was a few feet in front of us, she bends down and picks up something.  She was surprised as she looked in her hand and saw a gold ring.  She looked at us and asked if it was ours.  We continued walking without saying a word.  I turn back and see she’s crossing the street.  She does the same thing to another couple walking towards her, but I didn’t see if they stopped to converse with her or not.  Don’t be a stupid tourist.

old and new mini

old and new mini

Jay loves his cars and we noticed a lot of old Minis driving around Paris.  I think if we could find one back at home, I’d let him buy one of these – it’s cute.

close up

close up

So for the rest of the afternoon we spent it at home.  For dinner we knew we’d go back to Auciel, the Chinese hotpot place we went to a few nights prior and didn’t realize it was an all-you-can-eat place.  We’d decide to go back to get our money’s worth.  They open at 6:00 and the lady told Jay that no reservations were taken, first come, first serve so come early.  We planned to get there by 5:45, which we did.  But when we turned the corner, this is what we saw:

holy moly, look at that line!

holy moly, look at that line!

We decided to stand in line and hope for the best.  We were also deciding if we didn’t get the first seating, do we wait for two hours, or find somewhere else to eat?  The doors opened and the line started to move…. then, with about 20 or so people ahead of us, it stops.  Oh crap, we didn’t make it, now what?  The owner steps out and starts to speak in Mandarin (yes, Chinese speaking in Paris.  Take in mind that this restaurant is FILLED with Chinese).  All of a sudden I see Jay’s hand go up and he grabs me and says, “Come on.”  Huh?  We actually got the last two seats available!  Everyone in front of us had three or more in their group.  Lucky ducky!

the best thing about this place is that you get your own pot and jay could make his extra spicy and eat all the lamb he wanted to

the best thing about this place is that you get your own pot and jay could make his extra spicy and eat all the lamb he wanted to

Look, all Asians.  Not a single French person.

Look, all Asians. Not a single French person.

I would definitely recommend this place… but only if you speak Mandarin, or you’re with someone who does.  Maybe French too, but I didn’t hear them speak it at all.

After dinner we went back to the Eiffel Tower to see her all lit up and stroll around the Christmas Markets.

She shines for us.

She shines for us.

hot wine on a cold night

hot wine on a cold night

Christmas Market stalls

Christmas Market stalls

All in all, a very good Christmas.  Mele Kalikimaka (Merry Christmas in Hawaiian) from Paris.

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