New class: InDesign in 30 minutes

InDesign-in30minutes-Skillshare-ASDInDesign in 30 Minutes is an easily digestable class that can be taken on your lunch break to help build InDesign skills and it’s my latest Skillshare class that is now online. All Skillshare classes are project based, and in this class you’ll recreate your favorite magazine spread. There are even some helpful PDF cheat sheets I’ve created that you can download in the class resources. Sign up here + if you have friends who may be interested, share this link: http://skl.sh/1Kf8vk9.

For those looking for other InDesign options, I also teach a Basic InDesign class (which is a longer form version where I walk through a few other features), as well as a Redesign Your Résumé (or any professional document to make it less boring) class. For something a bit more “fun” there’s Map Making and Travel Posters.

Jean Jullien, Petit Appétit

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Collaboration is one of those words that has come to be overused, or used in the wrong way (particularly when you’re a blogger and get asked to do a million things for nothing). But when it’s done right, it can be awesome. Case in point, French illustrator Jean Jullien‘s latest collaboration with Fricote Magazine, a French urban food magazine published in French and English, and Colette, the long running Paris concept store in the 1st. Jean’s latest work, Petit Appétit, a playful look at food, was for a double show at Colette, and l’Imprimerie with a handful of other delectable collaborations embedded in it. If you’re in town, definitely stop by l’Imprimerie (16 rue Saint Merri 75004, near Centre Pompidou) while the show is still up for the next two weeks. And if you’re not in Paris, I put together this post to give you a taste of Petit Appétit!

jeanjullien-petitappetit-3Now open

jeanjullien-petitappetit-4Full house

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jeanjullien-petitappetit-5jeanjullien-petitappetit-6jeanjullien-petitappetit-8DJ booth with cool changing screen in the downstairs “cave”.

jeanjullien-petitappetit-9Posters for sale.

jeanjullien-petitappetit-910Jean Jullien x Abois

jeanjullien-petitappetit-10Jean Jullien x À la mère de Famille chocolate shop

jeanjullien-petitappetit-11

jeanjullien-petitappetit-1Jean Jullien x Olow

jeanjullien-petitappetit-12Fricote Magazine spread showcasing Jean’s latest show. The magazine will be on newsstands in Paris next week. (Look for the cover with the cherry eyes and pea smile).

jeanjullien-petitappetit-coletteColette’s basement water bar.

jeanjullien-petitappetit-ralf2Jean signing a copy of his book Ralf for me at the Colette opening. French illustrators are seriously the most creative book signers!

Bon Petit Appétit!

For more of Jean Jullien’s work check out his website and shop, Handsome Frank (UK agent), and follow @jean_jullien on Instagram!

 

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, Travel Posters, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable! Don’t miss my new Paris Posters Tumblr!

Paris Poster Tumblr

parispostersMy theme for 2015 is EXECUTE as a way to encourage myself to actually do all these projects I’ve talked about for years. A couple months ago on a Sunday afternoon, I decided to sit down and finally create a Tumblr (pretavoyager.tumblr.com) as a way to showcase many of my favorite posters I’ve documented over the years. Putting something like this together is something I’d been pondering far too long.

Yes, I not only love public transportation for getting from place to place, but I’m constantly inspired by the posters around me, and love how everyone is exposed to art even if you never make it to the museum. I’ve long cited my first trip to Paris when I was in high school, and seeing that design could be smart from the posters on the halls of the metro, as one of the first hints that I wanted to become a designer. Now I not only photograph my favorites, but I’m the person that goes to the bottom right corner and also tries to document the name of the illustrator whenever possible. I’ve hashtagged all the posters by general theme, specific venue/event, and illustrator – it’s fun to see them adapt over time. Also, they tend to serve as a good reminder of places I want to go or shows I want to see.

In terms of hobbies it all feels a bit Amélie to me in the way that Nino used to collect footprints and laughs before starting his albums of discarded photobooth photos, but it brings me joy and a way to share my inspiration. I’m always adding more posters to the collection (which is more impressive on desktop than mobile, FYI). Click here to view the full collection!

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, Travel Posters, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable! I also penned the Paris Small Shops Herb Lester map!

Paris Small Shops : Herb Lester Map Guide

parissmallshops-pretavoyager-herblesterI’m so excited to announce my latest project: a Paris Small Shops map guide! Herb Lester makes the coolest maps, so it was such an honor when they reached out to me late last year to work on one for Paris. I wrote the guide, curating the the 40 shops, both new and old, while the amazing team of  Crispin Finn illustrated it (all of their work is red and blue, which is so cool!). The best part was that we all got to meet when I was in London in February, which truly felt like a match made in heaven. The crazy thing is this is the first Herb Lester map they’ve made where the entire team has met together in the same room, as they work with talented folks around the world (both the Herb Lester and Crispin Finn teams are British). I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! And while so much of Paris – and the world – sometimes feels the same to me these days, I’m thrilled to celebrate these places that are truly one of a kind. I hope they’ll stay in business forever :)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA perfect pocket-sized travel companion or souvenir, Paris Small Shops celebrates 40 of the best independent specialty shops in Paris! You can pick up your own copy on herblester.com (only 4£!). They’re hot off of the presses, so they may not be in shops just yet. If you’d like to see it stocked in your local shop be sure to let them know!

 

Top image by me (on Instagram), others courtesy of Herb Lester.

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, Travel Posters, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

The Art of Travel Posters

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There’s a really awesome feeling when you realize that so many things you’ve worked on the past come together to form another project. This week I kicked off my latest Skillshare class, The Art of Travel: Create Your Own Tourism Poster. For years I’ve been taking pictures of posters on the walls of the metro that inspire me. One of those posters for Morocco even inspired my thesis on tourism and new media in Morocco. After my Map Making class was such a hit on Skillshare, I wanted to do another travel-inspired class. I love that my classes become a community that welcomes both designers and non-designers who get creative in their own ways. In my new class we look at a brief history of travel posters as well as contemporary tourism campaigns to help inspire you to create a travel poster for the place of your choice. (My poster was inspired by my #pariscafechairs series on Instagram – I explain more about my thought process on my project board on Skillshare). The entire class is less than an hour broken down into easily digestible video lessons, which leaves lots of time for your own exploration!pretavoyager-Skillshare-ArtofTravel-title-600So here’s what you need to know about Skillshare. 1) I’m addicted and it’s my favorite online learning platform. I love not only the classes, but the teachers. They’re totally my style. They’re everyday professionals like myself to some of my design idols like Ellen Lupton and Debbie Millman. 2) All classes are project based so there’s incentive to work towards something and learn in the process. 3) Skillshare classes can be a great way to connect with others by sharing your work on an online project board, and commenting on the work of others. I’ve discovered some really cool designers that way! 4) There’s a new $9.95/mo membership model which allows you to take as many classes as you want (unlimited access). There’s even a free 15 day trial if you want to test it out. In other words, it’s completely affordable, and there’s no excuse not to learn something new.

I’ll be sharing some student work here on my blog once that class really gets rolling (you can also follow along with #ArtofTravelPoster on social media). In the meantime, I’m focusing on spreading the word. If know anyone who may interested, just share this link: http://skl.sh/11RQ8Ig (It was thanks to blog readers like you that my first class went viral!)

My other Skillshare classes are ongoing and I still give feedback to students who upload their work to the online classroom:

Holler if you have any questions. Don’t you just love learning!?!

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, Travel Posters, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

Jerry Gretzinger’s Imaginary World Maps

pretavoyager-jerrymap-palaisdetokyo-1A few years ago I happened upon the magical mini documentary about Jerry Gretzinger who has been making maps for decades. While the places he maps don’t actually exist, the maps aren’t aimless by any means. He has a systematic way of making them, where a special deck of playing cards tells him how the next map card will develop. It’s fascinating.

So you can imagine my excitement when on @PalaisdeTokyo’s Instagram I saw that part of his map (3,200 cards, I believe) is in the Le Bord des Mondes exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo (one of my favorite museums for many reasons, but mainly because it’s open until midnight). I could stare at it forever. It was hard to pick my favorite photos to share, but the Vine I took gives you a sense of it and the different details.

I’m just sad I missed it when Jerry was here for the installation.

pretavoyager-jerrymap-palaisdetokyo-2Check out Jerry’s official site here.pretavoyager-jerrymap-palaisdetokyo-3

Speaking of maps, if you don’t already know, I teach map making on Skillshare (super affordable!) where one of the class exercises to to make an imaginary city. Stay tuned because I’m launching a new travel related class this week!

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

Roald Dahl Museum & Story Center

pretavoyager-roalddahl-characters
My last two trips have been inspired by my favorite childhood author, Roald Dahl. Without really realizing it as a kid, I started collecting his books, which I loved for their quirkiness. Each book was illustrated by Quentin Blake, and thinking back to it, he was the first illustrator who I was able to identify by style. I probably never really realized that was a real job growing up. I’m definitely one to take advantage of good travel deals, but my most recent Eurostar 69€ round-trip deals (sign up for their newsletters and follow Eurostar on social media!) were the perfect excuse to revisit some of my greatest inspiration from my childhood. Creative pilgrimages are THE BEST! Go see what inspires YOU!

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Roald Dahl Museum & Story Center. Characters pictured above also found inside.

Back in October, I took a day trip to The House of Illustration, a new “museum” near King’s Cross Station in London that celebrates – you guessed it – illustration. The inaugural exhibit was ‘Quentin Blake: Inside Stories’ and despite being small, it made me very happy. The show ended in November, but you can read all about it on The Paris Review and The Financial Times. The exhibition was far more than Blake’s collaborations with Dahl, but his style remains distinctly his own. (Here’s my peek inside on Vine).

pretavoyager-quentinblakeinsidestoriesIt was thanks to this expo and following the museum on Twitter that I discovered that there was a Roald Dahl Museum. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine a magical place like this could exist! What luck! It’s a 45 minute train ride out of London in Great Missenden where Dahl lived. I decided to save it for my most recent excuse to go to London. To get there take the Chiltern Railways from London Marylebone to Great Missenden. My ticket was 11 Pounds round trip, and the museum is a charming, short walk from the station. Trains leave twice an hour.

If Vine is not appearing correctly, click here to view.

The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Center isn’t particularly large, but it’s full of charm and small details. It made me laugh because the website says it’s aimed at 6-12 year olds. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much! There’s a look at his childhood and schooling (the school groups there were VERY excited to try on his school uniforms) with letters from the archives. Starting at boarding school Dahl would write letters to his mother every week, a tradition that continued, and she saved every one of them. Then a look at his life as a pilot in the Royal Air Force, where he experienced a plane crash that caused him to have back pain for the rest of hist life, along side a re-creation of his Writing Hut, complete with chair that had a hole cut out of it to lessen the pressure on his back. If you look hard enough you’ll even find drawers with fingers and fake teeth – how many museums can claim that!?! The final “story center” section of the museum is more interactive. It reminded me of Kaleidoscope in Kansas City where I grew up (part of Hallmark!). There’s a chair to sit on, part of the set of Fantastic Mr. Fox, things to cut and color and make. It’s absolutely delightful. I also wanted to sneak into “Ms. Honey’s Classroom” with the school group that was visiting the museum, but resisted.

pretavoyager-roalddahl-storytellerpretavoyager-roalddahl-writinghutHis Writing Hut was meticulously re-created. 

pretavoyager-roalddahl-mrfoxpretavoyager-roalddahl-storycenterTo my surprise there was still more! With your entry fee they also give you two map brochures with local walks. The village walk is much shorter and closer. I never knew that I was going to visit his grave, but with mention of footsteps from the BFG nearby, I knew I had to. The area is beautiful! There is also a countryside walk that takes a bit longer. I’ll have to do that next time!

pretavoyager-roalddahl-villagepretavoyager-roalddahl-greatmissendenThe Village is charming.

pretavoyager-roalddahl-BFGFound the BFG’s footprints on the way to Dahl’s grave site. People had left various gifts and mementos, but most touching was a letter RD had written to the people of Britain to encourage vaccinations after losing his daughter Olivia to the measles at a young age. Both The BFG and James & the Giant Peach are dedicated to her.

pretavoyager-roalddahl-redpumpThe Red Pump which inspired the garage in Danny the Champion of the World.

And if that all wasn’t enough, plan a visit to Café Twit. I of course had to have a slice of their signature Bogtrotters chocolate cake with mini marshmallows and candy on top! It only seemed appropriate. I picked up a copy of Dahl’s memoirs, Boy and Going Solo in the bookshop. They’re amazing to read because instead of trying to cover his whole life, they’re snippets of his childhood (Boy) and life (Going Solo), that make his books came alive. Candy definitely played an important role, and you can see so many characters unfold.

pretavoyager-roalddahl-twitcafeI already asked this on Instagram, but what’s you’re favorite Roald Dahl book!?! I re-read The Twits on my train ride home, and I do remember that one being a favorite alongside The Witches and The BFG. But little did I know that Dahl also wrote adult fiction. I picked up Kiss, Kiss as my first one (thanks to a tip on Instagram)!

pretavoyager-roalddahl-bookspretavoyager-roalddahlmuseumThe Roald Dahl website is extensive. Follow the timeline of his stories, read through his archives, or plan your visit to the museum. There is even a Marvelous Children’s Charity in his name, and a percentage of the proceeds from his books benefit his charity.

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

Paris After Charlie

pretavoyager-nogozonesTomorrow marks 1 month since the Charlie Hebdo attacks, which in many respects feel much longer ago than that. I’ve been wanting to post about what happened for some time, but haven’t found the words, nor time until now. In short, I was very impressed how Paris handled everything. A few weekends ago I Instagrammed the photo above. The caption read:  Strolled through Fox’s “no-go zones” which are my favorite areas in Paris. I love how diverse and international Paris is and I can learn a lot about the world without going far. I feel safe here. #paris75018

At the time I followed the developments of Charlie Hebdo offices closely thanks to Twitter. A journalist from Yahoo Travel reached out to me. Only a short comment I sent over made it into the final piece, but I thought I’d post my full reaction I had sent her below, and expand on a few observations. While Paris feels back to “normal” I still felt it was important to share.

When I first studied abroad in Paris I arrived two days before 9/11. As an American it was strange to experience it abroad, but I felt safe here and received compassion from strangers. As bizarre as it sounds, soldiers with machine guns in the metro were never anything I saw as fear inducing so much as protection. You still see men with machine guns all over – particularly in front of Jewish institutions. Am I the only one who worries they are not warm enough with their close shaved hair cuts and small hats? It’s been very cold lately.

On January 7th I was on my way back from the pool on metro line 8 when I heard that the stop Richard Lenoir (line 5) had been closed by the Prefecture of Police. That is different from the typical closure announcements, so I should have known it was something serious. It wasn’t until I got off at my stop and got outside that I received a text from a French friend who was on holiday, asking if I was OK because she knew I didn’t live far. She did make the point to say that the events seemed targeted to the newspaper, Charlie Hebdo. I immediately pulled up Twitter and saw what had happened. I told her I was fine and headed straight home, even skipping my plans to pick up groceries. I realized later the metro where I got off essentially runs parallel to line 5 in that area and I walked across the same street where they [shooters] had driven away. After the video emerge the next day I recognized the location where the police officer lost his life, as I know Richard Lenoir, because I often walk to the market there on Sundays. It was a reminder of what a small “big” city Paris is. There is never an excuse for violence of this kind, but the realization that it was a highly targeted attack seemed a stark contrast to many of the headlines in the US regarding attacks.

I spent the majority of the next few days in my apartment glued to the internet, tweeting and sharing what I learned, along with a few observations when I eventually ventured out (sirens, sirens, sirens, sirens…). My goal was to stay educated and aware, looking for facts before sharing rumors.

That Friday I met a friend for lunch in central Paris, and when we left I looked at my phone to see the news of the hostage situation at Hypercacher. I know Paris is a small city, so I decided to walk home, taking the long route avoiding any place that had the slight chance of being a target. The thing that made it scary is how many sirens I heard around Hotel de Ville, while not knowing what was really happening. I’d look around and see tourists smiling and going about their own thing. That’s what made it eerie to me that day. But a couple weeks later I was walking that same route alone at night, and realized I really do feel safe despite feeling scared that day.

pretavoyager-mondearabe-charlieThe city of Paris reacted fast from making Charlie an honorary citizen with ‘Je Suis Charlie’ banners in black and white outside Hôtel de Ville (city hall) to this Je Suis Charlie installation in French and Arabic going on the Institut Monde Arabe the day of the march.

What I think impressed me most was Friday night after the hostages had been freed I watched the French news (FRANCE24 is international news from a French perspective in English, French and Arabic channels). Myself and so many of my American friends in Paris noted how refreshing the news coverage here was vs some fear/terror inducing headlines I saw coming out of the US. The reporting in France was clear, smart, and didn’t point fingers or overly speculate. The French style of news often involves a panel or debate, and I heard from experts in terrorism, negotiation, about the French police and more. It was enriching and reassuring, in a way that is not easy after such a dramatic and traumatic series of events. As I see headlines shared by friends around the world, I do still think that so much that happened in Paris is hard to grasp if one doesn’t view it in context and take into consideration the French perspective (and history). The conversation needs to continue. pretavoyager-charlie-march-Jan11I just know I refuse to live in fear, and I think the January 11th march proved an incredible solidarity amongst the people in France. I found myself over a mile away and everyone was going the same place. The crowds were packed so deep, and it was truly moving (not to mention you could barely move). The turnout was incredible. From posters to pencils in pockets it was a huge relief that it was a peaceful march. I don’t handle crowds well, but did do the full march later in the evening to see what remnants and reminders were still around. pretavoyager-charlie-pencilsFor me, I was also reminded of cultural differences in surprising ways. Many Americans may have been surprised to see “Waldo” in the crowds, but in France he goes by “Charlie” (in the UK he’s “Wally”). Hence he became another way to say we are “Tous Charlie” – we are all Charlie.

pretavoyager-touscharlieIt’s still hard to fathom that week in January. As hard as it sounds, it did bring France together. Solidarity is the first word that came to mind for me. Now, a month later, it is the stories of hope, like the Malian man who helped hostages escape at Hypercaher (he later received French citizenship), which are the stories that stick out in my head.

pretavoyager-pencil--charlieFor additional reading, here are some of the articles that I found interesting at the time:

parsonsparis-pencils-600-xx-2I was proud to get to work on the Parsons Paris holiday card this year. Alongside my colleagues this was our response to Charlie.

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

Christmas in Strasbourg (& Metz)

pretavoyager-placekleberEvery December my life seems to get quite hectic, so I don’t have much time, or energy, to plan for the holidays. I don’t travel internationally because it’s too expensive, and too many delays. This year with one day notice I booked a train to Strasbourg – near the France/Germany border – to check out the Capitale de Noël (Capital of Christmas) famous for their marché de Noël – there are 11 Christmas markets in Strasbourg alone! Lucky for me, my friend Alison has been living in Strasbourg and working as a teaching assistant (the same program I did years ago, but in Paris), and she was my awesome insider guide pointing out things like the popularity of the stork in the region, the best vin chaud (mulled wine), best crêpe, best hand made ornament stand, and things I probably wouldn’t have noticed, like they also serve vin chaud blanc, because the region of Alsace is known for white wine. Alison wrote a great post herself about Christmas in Alsace, so be sure to check that out too!

The one downside in my lack of ability to plan ahead is that the price of train tickets was much higher than desired (it also is peak season). It was one of the pricier tickets I’ve paid to go a mere 2 hours from Paris, yet, still it was completely worth it. (Note: I find Capitaine Train much nicer to use to buy train tickets than SNCF). I also would have saved a bit of money had I not missed my return train because I went to the wrong train station (the trains to Paris leave out of  “Gare Centrale” not “Gare Strasbourg” as I mistakenly looked up on my Google map — the ticket just says Strasbourg). On my train to Strasbourg it was slightly cheaper to change trains in Metz. I had never been, so I thought the ~1.5 hour layover would be a good excuse to scope out the city. The Pompidou–Metz is in easy walking distance of the train station, however, it did not open until 11am, and my train left around 11:20. So instead I explored the old city and happened upon their holiday market, which was delightful. I definitely will go back. In fact, I think Metz will be more appealing in years to come because it doesn’t have quite the hype of the Strasbourg Christmas markets as a tourist destination.
pretavoyager-metz-christmas-4Christmas market in Metz. 11am before crowds (but generally much calmer than Strasbourg).

Overall, I was away from Paris for less than 24 hours, but my “day trip” (I did stay the night, but left very early the following day) was exactly what I needed to get in the festive mood from decorations to lights and vin chaud. Also, both Metz and Strasbourg had far superior Christmas markets than Paris, which even tourists have told me they’ve been disappointed by during their visits. For more about Christmas in Paris, see this post. Maybe next year I’ll try to venture to an even smaller city – I think the less publicized markets are probably the best!

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pretavoyager-strasbourg-christmas6pretavoyager-strasbourg-christmas7pretavoyager-strasbourg-christmas3Strasbourg Christmas market near the cathedral

pretavoyager-strasbourg-christmas9Christmas lights in Strasbourg

pretavoyager-strasbourg-christmas4Vin chaud blanc d’Alcase

pretavoyager-strasbourg-christmas5Bread ornaments

pretavoyager-strasbourg-panoPlace Kleber

pretavoyager-strasbourg-snowflakeLit streets in Strasbourg

pretavoyager-strasbourg-christmas14Typical architecture in Strasbourg

pretavoyager-strasbourg-oranmentsHandmade ornaments in Strasbourg

More after the jump!

 

Read The Rest

Christmas in Paris

pretavoyager-christmas-in-parisAlthough Christmas has come and gone, it will inevitably come again next year, so I wanted to compile some of my favorite links for future reference. And most of the decorations won’t come down until mid-January, so it’s not too late to catch the festive spirit. This year I stayed in town, and had several tours, so I really got in the spirit – or at least knew what was going on.

Every year the holiday windows at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps along Blvd Haussman in the 9th arrondissement are a huge draw, and every year the crowds get crazier and crazier. I either recommend going early in the day, or late in the evening after the stores are closed (the downside there is that you can’t visit the 6 story Christmas tree inside Galeries Lafayette — this year it was upside down! [opening image]). Ever year the windows have themes, and this year Galeries Lafayette was “Noël Monstre” and Printemps was a voyage with Burberry. I visited on several occasions, and almost got trampled each time. Visiting on Christmas Eve was the calmest time I experienced. If you’re traveling with kids, realize that the crowds can be very overwhelming, and try to avoid strollers and big bags. If you cross the street it is much calmer, but the catch is you can’t see the moving window displays up front.

Ice skating in front of Hotel de Ville (city hall for Paris) is another tradition, and for the second year the impressive Grand Palais off of the Champs-Elysées has become an ice rink (buy tickets online – every year it picks up momentum after Christmas and is super crowded the final days; late night is more of a club vibe). The later you get into the season expect longer lines. A couple years ago skating at Hôtel de Ville was a bit overwhelming with a few teenagers who had brought their skates (it’s free entry that way) and were pretty aggressive. This year it was much calmer when I passed.

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Rue Montorgeuil (2nd)

If you love to walk like I do, dozens of streets around the city are decorated with lights through ~20th of January. Some of my favorites are Place Vendôme (1st arr), Rue Cler (7th arr), Rue des Martyrs (9th), Rue Lepic (18th), and Rue Montorgueil (2nd). The city kindly put together a map marking all the illuminated streets for 2014, which doesn’t change much from year to year. The “grande roule” giant ferris wheel also gets set up at Place de Concorde (and the base of the cringe worthy Christmas markets along the Champs).  

pretavoyager-christmas-paris-vivienne Galerie Vivienne (2nd) pretavoyager-christmas-paris-marais Rue Francs-Bourgeois (4th) pretavoyager-christmas-vendome Place Vendôme (1st)

Christmas day most museums are closed, but the Centre Pompidou remains open. This year we were happy to visit right when it opened as it only got more crowded. It was very cool being able to get a bit of culture – Jeff Koons, Marcel Duchamp, and Frank Gehry exhibits are currently on. Even if you don’t like modern art, the views from the Pompidou are stunning! pretavoyager-pompidou-koonspretavoyager-pompidou-christmasMy friend Alison was in town and we were surprised how much was open on Christmas day, particularly in the Marais. Yes, it is the Jewish quarter so falafel was open, but we even enjoyed lunch at Le Loir dans la Théière. We had way more options than we expected. I think Christmas dinner is probably a bit harder in terms of what is open. Every year Paris by Mouth compiles a handy list of restaurants open around Christmas and New Years. pretavoyager-strasbourg-christmasmarketStrasbourg market

When it comes to Christmas markets in Paris, many tourists I showed them were a bit overwhelmed. Over time they’ve definitely become more commercial and have lost much of their spark. The marché de Noël at St. Germain is probably your best bet for finding anything handmade. There are also markets along the Champs-Elysées and Abbesses, amongst others. The locations may change slightly from year to year. Also, the Marie (Mayor’s Office) of every arrondissement is always festivally lit up.

For a more “authentic” market plan a trip to Strasbourg (I finally did this year, and highly recommend it) which is known as the “Capital of Christmas” were there are 12 Christmas markets in a very walkable city, or other small towns in France (such as Metz), or cross the border to Germany. For me the best part of the Christmas markets is vin chaud (mulled wine)! UPDATE: See post here.

pretavoyager-christmas-paris-vinchaudAnother treat during Christmas season are the “bûche de Noël” and every year boulangeries seem to get more and more creative with this log-like cake. This year Picard the frozen food store even created ice cream igloos and trees that were creatively packaged. Aux Merveilleux de Fred a delight to see being made (see below).

The further you get away from city center the less crowded/crazy many of these places will be. It’s also the perfect excuse to explore a different side of Paris. One place not to miss is the Festival du Merveilleux at Musée des Arts Forains in the 12th arrondissement . I visited last year and it was truly magical. The museum is closed most of the year except if you book a private tour, but the Festival des Merveilleux is so fun when all the old amusement rides and games come alive again. Once again, I recommend going when it opens, as it will only get more crowded throughout the day.

Here are some more links for planning to spend the holidays in Paris:

Follow me @pretavoyager on Instagram + Twitter + Medium! I teach MAPS, InDesign, and Redesign Your Résumé on Skillshare, and give Paris tours through Vayable!

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