This was my square at this year’s Christmas Chalk Walk in Aliso Viejo.
It’s a gingerbread man with hot chocolate and a candy cane!
2017 Christmas Chalk Walk from Grasiela Rodriguez on Vimeo.
I arrived home the following day.
Unpacking all of my little souvenirs from the places I had visited gave me much joy. I have been truly blessed and can’t wait to go back.
This was my last day in Europe, so I made the best of it before my flight home.
I spent the morning at the Eiffel Tower, a wrought iron lattice tower on the Champ de Mars in Paris. It’s named after the engineer Gustave Eiffel, who designed and built the tower.
The tower has three levels for visitors, with restaurants and gift shops on the first and second levels. This is the view from the first level, overlooking the city.
At lunch, I headed over to the Sacred Heart of Paris, commonly known as Sacré-Cœur Basilica, a Roman Catholic church, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
The dome inside the church has a giant mosaic of Christ in Glory by Olivier Merson, H. M. Magne, and R. Martin and is one of the largest mosaics in the world. It represents the risen Christ, clothed in white and with arms extended, revealing a golden heart. Surrounding him, in various sizes, a world of adorers is represented, including the Saints who protect France: the Virgin Mary and Saint Michael, Saint Joan of Arc, as well as a personification of France offering her crown and Pope Leo XIII offering the world.
I had lunch at Place du Tertre Montmartre, which is an area known as the “Painter’s Neighborhood”, its small and steep narrow streets are home to the oldest cabarets. This area is also full of restaurants with terraces and painters selling their work to tourists and locals.
Had the best Crème brûlée dessert in this neighborhood.
After lunch, I had a few hours before my flight home so I walked through the streets of Rue de Steinkerque at the bottom of the hill, which is filled with souvenir shops.
I couldn’t leave Paris without a visit to my favorite chocolate shop, Maison Georges Larnicol for souvenir chocolates and macarons. This is a beautiful chocolate which has a mold of The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, The Moulin Rouge, and The Arc de Triomphe. I picked this up for my brother who asked me to bring him chocolate from France.
I also picked up chocolate Eiffel Towers for my nieces and nephews. Goodbye France, I will miss you!
Posted in: Vacation
Tagged: Basilica of Sacred Heart of Jesus, Champ de Mars, Crème brûlée, Eiffel Tower, France, Maison Georges Larnicol, Painter’s Neighborhoo, Paris, Place du Tertre Montmartre, Rue de Steinkerque, Sacré-Cœur
On Monday, we spent the day in Colmar, France. We took the train, it’s an hour away by the train, going east.
Colmar is a town in the Grand Est region of northeastern France, near the border with Germany. The town has cobblestone streets lined with half-timbered medieval and early Renaissance buildings. It is also known as “Little Venice”.
The whole city looks like a page out of an old fairy tale with churches, cobblestone streets, cute houses, and canals. It’s not very big so everything is walking distance. The city is quite charming.
Colmar is also the birthplace of Auguste Bartholdi, who created the Statue of Liberty in the New York Harbor. A replica of the Statue of Liberty greets visitors in the middle of town. The copper-green resin replica stands 39 feet high in the middle of a busy roundabout at the north end of town. So whether you’re driving in from Strasbourg on the D83, or heading into town from the Colmar airport, you’ll be welcomed by a lovingly rendered homage to the work of a local boy who made good.
The town also has little metal markers throughout the city to help guide your walking tour, although they lead everywhere and I didn’t notice they took you anywhere in particular. It was still fun to follow them.
At the end of our day trip, we took the train back to Paris and visited the famous Arc de Triomphe. Many people do not realize that you can go to the top, if you look at the picture closely, you can see people standing at the top of the arc.
This is the view of the Eiffel Tower from the top of the Arc.
The view from the top of the Arc looking towards the western end of the Champs-Élysées at the center of Place Charles de Gaulle.