Parisian Holiday: A Few of My Favorite Things (#Winophiles)

Right now, I’m sitting in front of my computer listening to French Christmas songs. Ahhh, the holiday spirit has landed! I think it wafted through my open windows on the balmy Miami breeze.

Bah! Humbug!

Despite having spent a dozen winters in South Florida, I’ll never get used to the idea of tropical temperatures when it’s time to deck the halls. Don’t get me wrong – I’d rather be on this side of a snowstorm, thanks very much. But I find myself waxing nostalgic over holidays past; when we lingered by the fireplace, snifter of brandy in hand, to warm our hearts as well as our bones.

One take-away from my WSET Spirits class: I quite like Armagnac!

No surprise then, that my thoughts turn to Paris, where my husband and I spent our fifth anniversary – as well as Christmas and his birthday. The weather was appropriately chilly, the city’s welcome surprisingly warm, and our experience in the City of Light, delightfully magical.

Love the name of this place: The Crazy People in the Neighborhood.

As it happens, I’m not alone in dreaming of a French-style season: the #Winophiles gang has chosen it as our theme for December. Lynn from Savor the Harvest, our host this month, set the stage with her invitation post, conjuring up visions of holiday markets, culinary treats, and local traditions. Give it a read and transport yourself directly to France.

The tiny, yet well-stocked bar at Le Comptoir in Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

Whimsical décor at Le Comptoir.

And, as we do every third Saturday, the #Winophiles will meet for a Twitter chat at 11 am ET on December 15th to share our favorite stories and celebrations. We’d love for you to join us! Just follow the hashtag (#Winophiles) and make sure to add it to your tweets.

Take a look at what we’ll be talking about during the chat:

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla whips up “A French #Winophiles Fête: Foie Gras, Pain d’Épices & Champagne Drappier.”
Jill from L’OCCASION shares “How To Bring French Holiday Traditions Home.”
Gwen at WinePredator has “Season’s Greetings French-Style.
Wendy at A Day In The Life On The Farm gives us “A Holiday Gathering with French Foods and Wines.
Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog  shares “A Taste of French-Inspired Holiday Food and Wine.”
Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen writes about “Ants Climb a Tree with French Wine.”
Michelle of Rockin’ Red Blog writes about “A French-Inspired Holiday Alsatian Style.”
Kat from Bacchus Travel and Tours writes about “Noel en Provence.“
Jeff from foodwineclick discusses “What is French-Style Season?”
Payal at Keep The Peas shares “Bonnes Fêtes à la #winophiles.”
Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles entices us with “Un repas de Noël pour les fêtes de fin d’année (A Christmas Dinner for the end of the year celebrations)…with wine #Winophiles.”
David from CookingChat shares “Festive Pairings for Pouilly-Fumé and Other Special French Wine #winophiles.
Lyn at L.M. Archer  tells us about “The Hedonistic Taster: French-Style Season Edition.”
Jane cooks things up at Always Ravenous and shares “A French-Inspired Winter Dinner.
Nicole from Somms Table shares “Crocus l’Atelier Malbec de Cahors with Château Mercuès Saffron Chicken Soup.“
Liz from What’s In That Bottle tells us how to “Frenchify Your Festivities with Fun Wines.“
Rupal from Journeys of a Syrah Queen shares “French-Inspired Holiday Wines.”
Lynn from Savor the Harvest shares how to “Give a Little Touche Française to Your Holiday #Winophiles.”

 Parisian Holiday: A Few of My Favorite Things (#Winophiles)

This year we will spend Christmas with Gabe’s family in New York City – a big, fat Italian-American celebration! There will be a lot of food, a lot of kids and, in case I didn’t mention it, a lot of food. Tons. But I’m looking forward to it – I think. 😊

Seafood – an Italian tradition on Christmas Eve – will be the star at the Cianchetto family dinner.

December is always a month of celebration for us: our anniversary is the 22nd, then Christmas Eve/Day; then Gabe’s birthday on the 29th, followed by New Year’s Eve. Whew, that’s a lot of whooping it up! When we have a quiet moment along the way, we will try to relive a few of our Parisian holiday experiences: our favorite things.

Catch of the day on the Île Saint-Louis.

Tasty Treats at Every Turn

Without a doubt, Gabe’s favorite thing about Paris was the food – especially the pastries- and there was something good to eat at literally every corner. Our Airbnb rental was near Nôtre Dame Cathedral, just a few minutes’ walk from the Île-Saint-Louis, which looks like a storybook town.

Small but mighty: La Cremerie Saint Aubin, with hundreds of cheese options!

We made the acquaintance of the local grocer, baker, butcher, and cheesemonger, shopping every day for what we would eat that night. While the food was indeed delicious, what stuck with me was the warmth and friendly nature of the local merchants. It made us feel like we were part of the neighborhood fabric, if only for a few days.

Take a look at the variety of temptations in our path:

Butcher shop offering chops, roasts, foie gras, and sausage.

Cutlery shop featuring Laguiole knives and corkscrews. I coveted the blue-handled steak knives!

A bright spot on a gray winter day.

La Maison du Chou
Fresh pâte à choux and jam from La Maison du Chou.

Maison Moinet, the confiseur, offers jam, candy, and other sweet delights.

Recreating a Paris Christmas at Home

We will draw upon these memories as we celebrate our trio of special days this year, rambling around our neighborhood in New York, much as we did in Paris. What’s on the agenda?

A visit to Ladurée makes any day a special occasion.

Special occasion wine to celebrate a birthday, an anniversary, and a new year.

A perfect strip steak at Le Comptoir in Paris.

Pink and festive, and perfect for toasting our togetherness!

But the pièce-de-résistance will be a quiet dinner chez nous (probably on Gabe’s birthday) beginning with a bottle of  Laurent-Perrier Brut Rosé Champagne – exactly as we toasted our wedding seven years ago. And then a 2012 Château Pavie-Decesse Saint-Emilion Grand Cru Classé (a recent score from Last Bottle) –  paired with a special, once-a-year, big-ass ribeye steak from Lobel’s on Madison Avenue. We will try to recreate the magic of our Paris trip in the heart of New York City, giving thanks for the blessings of the past seven years. It’s not quite the same as being there, but we are looking forward to it almost as much.

But, first we must survive the Cianchetto Family Christmas! So, after the Italian holiday extravaganza has come to a close, we’ll go back to our place, change into our sweats and put on the Netflix Yule Log. And then we’ll relish the peace and quiet with a snifter of Armagnac –the perfect French accent on our hectic holiday season.

Our apartment is tiny but our TV is large. Bring on the Netflix Yule Log, Diptyque’s Feu de Bois candle, and a sip of Armagnac!

Meilleurs Voeux pour 2019!

As I look back on 2018, I’m particularly grateful for you, my friends and followers. I have appreciated your company over the past few years, as I posted about my favorite wine, food, and travel experiences. Thanks for sticking with me and sharing your thoughts along the way.

In true French holiday fashion, I send each of you my meilleurs voeux or best wishes, for a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year.


There’s nothing like a French macaron! What’s your favorite flavor?


  1. Meilleurs Voeux, Lauren! Merry Christmas. Beautiful whimsical journey thru Christmas Paris. It is a bright spot for me today! Happy Anniversary & God Bless for a prosperous New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have spent a few holidays in Florida, opening presents and heading to the beach. Even now, here in Vegas, I look to the mountains for a little snow, knowing there will be none in my yard. None the less, like you we will curl up with the Netflix Yule Log and be grateful for not having to shovel snow.
    Thank you for the trip down your memory lane. What a lovely holiday you have ahead. I look forward to hearing about your adventures in the city (what a glorious place to visit this time of year).
    Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much, Robin! I imagine Vegas is much like south Florida at the holidays and we won’t complain about the lack of snow. We’re looking forward to playing in New York City for a little while, then returning to Miami to thaw out. In the meantime, let’s raise a glass to toast the Yule Log. Cheers, and happy holidays!


  3. You certainly have some celebrations in store! Family, friends and traditions, and your list of NY food establishments, wow! This will be my second Christmas in Florida with my brother and his family. Growing up in Colorado, I understand the feeling you share. I’ll be thinking about you bundled in NY sipping all cozy (I’m guessing it’ll be fairly cold there) while I watch the sunrise on the beach Christmas morning. Best to you and Gabe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • We’re sort of trading places for the holidays, aren’t we? Thanks for the warm wishes; hoping you guys have a wonderful time with family and friends, and get a few nice days at the beach. All the best for 2019!


    • Oh Martin, I hope you and Gigi get to do that one day! It was one of the most beautiful holidays I’ve ever experienced. We’re going to enjoy our NYC-style French season too, but I will take Paris every time. Cheers and happy holidays to you both!


  4. Funny, I’ll be spending Christmas in balmy south Florida this year! But your Christmas in New York sounds divine, especially with the Laduree macarons. Not so easy to find! Very interesting too that seafood is the star of the Italian holiday dinner. I’ll have to find out more!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds like a wonderful holiday season ahead in New York. So jealous you have a seafood feast on Christmas Eve, my daughter has a seafood allergy so raclette is our go to Christmas Eve dinner. (good but I would rather have seafood). Enjoy your Paris state of mind, New York anniversary, Christmas, and birthday celebrations.
    So thankful I found your blog and we are virtual wine and food friends. Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Right now I would kill for a plate of raclette! Thanks so much for the kind words, Jane – I’m so happy our paths have crossed too. Isn’t the wine world a great place to get to know like-minded folks? Here’s wishing you a wonderful, wine-filled holiday and a happy, healthy new year.


  6. I loved lingering over your Paris photos. We had much the same experience (not at Christmas, though) with our AirBnB tucked into the Rue Mouftarde. We looked over the market street from the 2nd floor and loved stepping out to pick up pastries, bread, cheese, wine, charcuterie.

    Liked by 1 person

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