Your favorite posts #2013

Αποχαιρετώντας την χρονιά που φεύγει, έριξα μια ματιά στα πιο διαβασμένα posts του Urbanzip. Ιδού τα αποτελέσματα, σύμφωνα με τις στατισυικές του wordpress.

These are the most read posts on Urbanzip in 2013 according to wordpress stats.

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Athens City Museum by davetaki

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New York Cheesecake by chryspa

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Trunk Show by Michele Chiocciolini.. by chryspa

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ReThink Athens.. by chryspa

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Barcelonauta by Giorgis Christodoulou by ourani

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Unusual Michele Chiocciolini.. by chryspa

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EntropyA.. by chryspa

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Lemon Poppy Seed Birthday Cake .. by chryspa

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Tailleur Lumiere.. by chryspa

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#1

Souffle Banoffee by ourani

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Εύχομαι σε όλους μας κέφι και όρεξη να κάνουμε ό,τι μας συναρπάζει! Καλή χρονιά!

I wish you joy and appetite to do whatever fascinates you! Happy New Year! Have fun!

A sanatorium, deers, a shelter and goodbye 2013..

Goodmorning last day of 2013!

My very first post was from Florence and this one, my 119th and last for this year,  is from my beautiful Athens and Mount Parnitha. Parnitha is the highest mountain on the peninsula of Attica, with an elevation of 1,413 m, and a summit known as Karavola. The Mont Parnes Casino, is located near the top of the mountain, and is the first casino to open in Greece. Two shelters are also located on Parnitha, Mpafi and Flampouri. In 1961 the entire mountain (250 km²) was declared a National Park and on 2007 suffered extensive damages from a wildfire which burned approximately 56 km² of land.

Last Sunday we decided to visit the Mpafi shelter and on our way there we stopped at the old Sanatorium of Parnitha and the Park of Souls. The Sanatorium was built in 1914 for tuberculosis patients and shutted down in 1960. Then for a few years it operated as Xenia Hotel and now is totally abandoned. The remarkable poet Yiannis Ritsos was a patient there and during his hospitalization wrote the famous poem “Spring Symphony”. The internet is full of “paranormal activity” references, and the fact is you can find more “ghost hunters investigations” than informations about the architectural value of the building. I won’t lie, I was totally frightened by the idea of this abandoned place, lying there in the middle of the mountain alone. Well this time I entered only in the entrance hall in the light of day so there was nothing scary about it. I could never go there during the night but I definitely want to go back and visit the whole building room by room. 

Just across the road lies the Park of Souls, an outdoor exhibition in memory of those who suffered in the Sanatorium.The exhibition consists of twenty amazing sculptures, carved from burnt logs from the Parnitha fire in 2007, with a height of not more than 4.5 meters.

On the way to the Mpafi shelter if you are lucky, as we were, you may come across deers and approach them! Finally reaching the shelter you can enjoy your coffee with a breathtaking view.

I’m wishing you a happy new year!!

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“We love the earth, the human beings and the animals, the reptiles, the sky and the insects.
We are, we too are all these together, together the sky and the earth too.”

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

Merry Christmas everybody!

Celebrating Christmas with Chrysoula!
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Traditional Christmas sweets..

What makes Christmas traditional?  The first step, of course, is decorating the Christmas tree.. Then you have to prepare some traditional christmas sweets! In Greece during this holiday season,  kourabies and melomakarono are the most popular! Of course there are different recipes but the typical ingredients are more or less the same. For melomakarono are : flour, sugar, orange juice and zest, cinnamon, oil and brandy. For kourabies the main ingredients are : almonds, fresh butter, brandy, flour and lots of icing sugar!

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Which are the origins of their names however?

Qurabiya in Azerbaijani, Kurabiye, in Turkish and Kourabies in Greek, it literally means Kuru = dry, biye = μπισκότο (cookie). Μπισκότο etymologically derived from the Latin bis-cuit, which means baked twice, in Italian it’s called biscotto.

You would think that melomakarono has an Italian origin right? It’s etymology instead is ancient greek, “μακαρόνι” is obtained from the medieval greek word “μακαρωνία”, a funerary dinner based on pasta. The word “μακαρωνία” derives from the ancient “μακαρία”, which was a piece of bread offered after the funeral, in the shape of the melomakarono. When they added honey syrup on “μακαρία” it was called  μέλι+μακαρία = μελομακάρονο, and that was when it was established as a sweet. Latins and later on Italians, used the word “μακαρωνία” as maccarone and spaghetti eventually! Finally in France and England, from the Middle Ages, a kind of almond biscuit was named «macaroon» (known to everyone today “macaron”).

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

Unusual market..

Last Sunday took place the first Unusual Market in Florence! Ostello Tasso, number 14 on the #unusualflorence map, hosted the event and many of the unusual places were part of it! Unfortunately I missed it since I had an early flight to Athens. I would like to thank in particular Matteo and Francesca for the photos they sent me and felt as if I were there too among them!

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Meanwhile in Athens…

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Christmas spirit

ή αλλιώς πώς να μπείτε στο πνεύμα!
 

Κάθε φορά που πλησιάζουν τα Χριστούγεννα, εκεί γύρω στον ενάμιση μήνα πριν, αρχίζουν να ξεφυτρώνουν λαμπιόνια, ρολόγια αντίστροφης μέτρησης (!), έλατα, καταστολισμένα μαγαζιά με είδη εποχής· ξεκινάει μια συστρατευμένη προσπάθεια να μπούμε στο «πνεύμα των Χριστουγέννων»! Και ενώ μπορεί αρχικά να πρόκειται για κάτι που μας αφορά μόνο ως καταναλωτικό κοινό, στην πραγματικότητα έχει ως αποτέλεσμα να μας εντάξει σε αυτό το πνεύμα. Τι είναι -τέλος πάντων- αυτό το περίφημο «πνεύμα των Χριστουγέννων», το οποίο πρέπει ξαφνικά (κάθε χρόνο) να εισακούσουμε, να υπακούσουμε και να προσκυνήσουμε; Η ερμηνεία που δίνει η διαδικτυακή εγκυκλοπαίδεια Wikipedia στο λήμμα «the spirit of Christmas» είναι μεταξύ άλλων -τραγουδιών, ταινιών κλπ.- η εξής: a general feeling of emotional beneficence associated with Christmas (σε ελεύθερη απόδοση: μια γενικότερη αίσθηση εσωτερικής «ευεργεσίας» που σχετίζεται με τα Χριστούγεννα).

Προσωπικά, όταν ακούω περί πνεύματος των Χριστουγέννων μου έρχεται αυτόματα στο μυαλό η «Χριστουγεννιάτικη ιστορία» του Κ. Ντίκενς, το χριστουγεννιάτικο παραμύθι, λίγο πολύ γνωστό σε όλους, στο οποίο πρωταγωνιστεί ο σπαγκοραμμένος Εμπενίζερ Σκρουτζ· την παραμονή των Χριστουγέννων τρία πνεύματα επισκέπτονται τον ξινό γεράκο (το καθένα αντιπροσωπεύει το παρελθόν, το παρόν και το μέλλον, αντίστοιχα), τα οποία του «ανοίγουν» τα μάτια και τον βοηθούν να μπει στο…πνεύμα και να καταλάβει ότι πρέπει να αλλάξει στάση ζωής και να διορθώσει τα λάθη του. Η ερμηνεία αυτή του Ντίκενς περιέχει το στοιχείο της «λύτρωσης», μέσω της οποίας ο άνθρωπος θα βελτιώσει τη ζωή του και θα ζήσει καλά κι εμείς καλύτερα.

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Τα Χριστούγεννα και η Πρωτοχρονιά αποτελούν ένα «ορόσημο» στο οποίο ο καθένας μας καλείται να σταθεί και να αναλογιστεί τις πράξεις του. Άλλωστε, σύμφωνα με το γνωστό αγγλόφωνο χριστουγεννιάτικο σουξέ, ο Άγιος Βασίλης -ερχόμενος στην πόλη- θα αποφασίσει ανάλογα με τις πράξεις μας αν θα μας επισκεφτεί, χωρίζοντάς μας στις κατηγορίες naughty και nice για τη χρονιά που πέρασε! Έτσι, κάθε Χριστούγεννα οι πράξεις ανθρωπιάς και φιλανθρωπίας δίνουν και παίρνουν, προσπαθώντας -μάταια;- να επιφέρουν μια ισορροπία σε αυτή τη ζυγαριά, που για κακή μας τύχη συνήθως γέρνει προς το naughty…

Ο ερχομός του νέου χρόνου, όμως, δημιουργεί και άλλη μια ανάγκη/υποχρέωση, η οποία μπορεί να ενταχθεί στο πνεύμα των Χριστουγέννων: το να πάρει ο καθένας τις αποφάσεις του για τη νέα χρονιά. Κάθε χρόνο, μας πιάνει λίγο πριν την αλλαγή ένας παροξυσμός να φτιάξουμε μια λίστα με τα αυτά που θέλουμε να κάνουμε ή να αλλάξουμε με το νέο έτος, με αποτέλεσμα απλώς να τα αναβάλλουμε για ακόμα μια φορά και να τα μεταθέτουμε για τη νέα χρονιά! Ωστόσο, οι περισσότεροι με εκπληκτική σταθερότητα, λες και έχουμε ένα εσωτερικό ρολόι που χτυπάει στις γιορτές, φτιάχνουμε τη λίστα μας ακόμα κι αν ξέρουμε ότι θα βρίσκεται απλώς κλεισμένη σε ένα συρτάρι.

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Η πλέον διαφορετική ερμηνεία του «χριστουγεννιάτικου πνεύματος», η οποία έχει δώσει σάρκα και οστά σε αμέτρητες, χριστουγεννιάτικες, χολιγουντιανές, και μη, ταινίες (μου έρχονται τουλάχιστον τρεις στο μυαλό!) είναι η εξής: όταν έρχονται τα Χριστούγεννα να κάνεις και να πεις αυτά που νιώθεις, να εκδηλώσεις τα συναισθήματά σου και να λυτρωθείς από αυτά (ξανά). Έτσι, το σενάριο θέλει ζευγάρια να φιλιούνται ξαφνικά κάτω από γκι, επειδή περίμεναν ένα χρόνο να έρθουν τα Χριστούγεννα μέχρι κάποιος να αποφασίσει να κάνει επιτέλους την πρώτη κίνηση και άμα βγει μάπα το καρπούζι, να μπορεί να ρίξει το φταίξιμο στο γιορτινό κλίμα! Δεν είναι λίγες όμως και οι εκδηλώσεις ανεκπλήρωτου έρωτα: ποιος δεν θυμάται άλλωστε τη σκηνή στο Love Actually όπου ο (κουμπάρος) Marc αποφασίζει να κάνει επιτέλους ερωτική εξομολόγηση στη γυναίκα του κολλητού του, απλά και μόνο επειδή είναι Χριστούγεννα και στο τέλος αναστενάζει (λυτρωμένος;!) μονολογώντας «enough!»;

“Just because it’s Christmas (and at Christmas you tell the truth)”

Με λίγα λόγια, το πνεύμα των Χριστουγέννων έχει πάρει πολλές διαφορετικές έννοιες και έχει όπως φαίνεται πολλές πτυχές. Συγγραφείς, ποιητές και σεναριογράφοι έχουν επιχειρήσει να του αποδώσουν διάφορες ερμηνείες· κοινός παρανομαστής όλων είναι η διατήρηση μιας συναισθηματικής ευτυχίας, η οποία εξαρτάται από τις κατάλληλες πράξεις μας και την προσπάθειά μας να λυτρωθούμε από ό, τι μας «στοιχειώνει». Και αν νομίζετε ότι θα τη γλιτώσετε φέτος λόγω της μιζέριας που κυκλοφορεί, σας πληροφορώ ότι χτυπάει πάντα στις γιορτές, σαν εσωτερικό καμπανάκι! Όταν σας κατακλύσει και εσάς (κάπου μεταξύ κουραμπιέ και μελομακάρονου), δεν έχετε παρά να κάνετε ένα διάλειμμα και να σκεφτείτε τι θέλετε να αλλάξετε, τι θέλετε να πείτε και από τι θέλετε να λυτρωθείτε. Και όπως λέει και ένα τραγούδι: «Χριστός γεννάται σ’ ένα μήνα/κι ό, τι εύχεσαι ξεκίνα/όλα θα’ ναι πάντα μαύρα/μα θα κρύβουν μια φωτιά».

Καλά Χριστούγεννα, λοιπόν, γεμάτα Christmas spirit!

(Πρώτη δημοσίευση στην εφημερίδα “Southcity”)

Unusual Michele Chiocciolini..

The last thing I did before leaving Florence was an interview of Michele Chiocciolini! I’ve posted several times about him but this time is different. There are many news since my last visit at his atelier back in July!

So I went by his atelier and we had breakfast and a long chat about everything! Francesca, his sister, was also there never leaving his side! So the great news is that he participates in a new talent show called Fashion Style and he arrived at the final! Don’t miss today’s episode people!!

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When you were little , what you were saying that you want to be when you grow up?

From an early age the thing I wanted to do more was maybe connected to a total look that could be both clothing as well as décor, in any case, little things, bringing things together. I enjoyed doing this at home with objects, clothes matching things, create eccentric outfits. Bringing together stuff in such a way that would create something new. In the end this is what I ended up doing, here you can find everything, plenty of things that somehow coexist in a funny way and perhaps is what I mainly wanted my work to be, something that I liked so much to enjoy myself!

The fact that you grew up in Florence helped you on this thing?

 Yes I think it was crucial, I remember when I was little going out, I wasn’t so much into sports, more than anything I had no interest in the things you make usually on weekends, I liked special things, to go in the antique shops in the center of Florence. It was always a game going to the shops. Discovering markets, from the toy soldiers to Mickey Mouse, not that I would buy a mirror, maybe I was trying to find something peculiar! In Florence I had this opportunity, even now, to discover new things.

 And your studies in architecture?

 A friend of my mother had in fact influenced me. I was always visiting her, I remember she always drew perspectives and I was sitting next to her and and in a way trying to do the same things with her! My grandmother was saying “You’re in love with Deanna”, she was the mother of my friend imagine! I liked architecture from an internal point of view above all, more than the outside I was more curious about the inside, just the room, the apartment, the shop, what’s in there. Usually you enter, this thing in Florence happens a lot and it’s tremendous, you enter a ‘400 building and is a disappointment. And this also happens in contemporary architecture, a beautiful wrap with a very ugly, anonymous inerior, I prefer a box, a cube that somehow inside is magnificent, the surprise I think is the best thing in architecture. The same thing is a bit of what i’ve done here, i’ve tried to persuade people if I can, after all to arrive somewhere and wonder how it can exist in an unknown street like this. You arrive here and as long as you’re not in front you can’t see, then you’re in front and you see and once you enter you see even more, the surprise is interesting!

 What about this place? How long you had been thinking of doing it? It was difficult?

Always! I always used to draw these figures and then it became a thing of trying to do just clothing. And now also to sew, to understand how it works, then all these have inevitably combined the 2 things cause all the things I have around inspire me! It wasn’t easy but when I saw it I immediately thought of it’s potentials, basically did all by myself and it came easily, it was difficult as a concept but once I was inside it happened naturally.

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You take part in Fashion Style, a program raising new designers. How did it begin and how did you feel?

One day in July, I received a phone call from Milan, I did a first casting, a 15 minute test where they wanted a draping test on mannequin and then wanted to see if you know how to sketch, then a long conversation where they asked about everything!

I’m always stressed before, until I enter, then you just do it! It’s a bit like the exams you know. The day before I went, after doing 3 tests then there was the first episode and I started saying at Francesca “I’m not going”…. Then there was Marco and Lucia saying “We won’t say anything but you’ll regret it, go!” It was fun anyway! Most of all I started sewing, I sewed day and night to improve to the fullest.

The people you met there?
Entertaining! A glimpse of Italy and beyond, people who live in Italy but who, like you, come from all over the world,  so piece together all this stuff here and you learn so many fun things you didn’t know. Then they all luckily had their own experience in fashion, maybe in a different way. Therefore you amplify your knowledge. It was a good experience!

How do you feel now that you’ve arrived at the final?
Happy very happy! But in the end, overcoming the shock of the first episode, even if I had done just that it was worth it. Then it was worth bringing a little of this world here, I will not say on television, but let people know what you are doing because it is not easy to describe. I brought a portfolio, but if you take look at this you’ll say he is nuts is this a portfolio…?!? In my opinion they have been intrigued by this thing here. The problem was if this thing could be understood or not, however there is also the timing on television, but in the end they understood and appreciated it! 

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What is your opinion about bloggers?

For me they are essential, I find them an interesting figure. Certain people say “Today everyone wants to be one…”. Ok, this might be true, but in the end everyone wanted to be an architect, lawyer, etc. It’s like when they tell me “That guy opened that store next to you and does the same things with you”, everyone is free to do whatever he wants, he ‘ll never do what I do, as I ‘ll never do what he does. I find bloggers an important figure, there is who is doing it well, as in all activities. Then there is who takes advantage of the situation, and those are the worst ones, doing it for work and not for passion. I put a lot of trust in people, so I think that things are understood and if you do it for publicity and money it won’t last, as in every activity. Then if you actually like it like me, I can’t think that this place could close for example, and this could happen in Italy today, for me there will always be either here or in a different place but will always be in my head!

What is your opinion about the political situation?

I’m not dealing with it, but not out of ignorance. I’m trying to keep myself informed and I realize, from the small things most, that the things aren’t going well. What’s important is not repeating the same mistakes, I really hope that this situation can change. I sometimes say, I know that you can’t do that, but I would go to dinner with some people staying there a while and then say ok I want to vote him!

Is there a designer that inspired you at the start of your career?

As an architect, I am bound to the work done among 70’s, 80’s and 90’s. Therefore I like Mendini, hi also named his studio Atelier! Same for Andrea Branzi and Castiglioni. Also the idea of Fabio Novembre related to fashion. On the other hand, Paul Smith, his patterns, his photography, his shops are a mix of situations. Then Marras, he also has his way of working, his spaces are very personal, his research is really interesting. As well Maurizio Galante, also an architect.

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What to expect in the future from Michele Chiocciolini?

I’d like to work in a company, if I find a way, because it is a piece missing that i’ve never tried. I would like to relationship with something where “Michele be quiet… You have to do this…!”

What if you win Fashion Style? Do you think it will change you?

Let’s hope! I don’t know, I suppose it may add to my confidence. Then at a professional level this does not depend very much on the victory but how you are a person who can give something. I’ve got a great desire to continue this work in the best way and I hope to make it. Today, as we said earlier of politics, money, etc. is not easy, but in my opinion if one has his feet on the ground things can also work, you have to have your feet on the ground and do it not because you have expectations, but basically do it because you want to.

What do you want to do apart from all the things above?

Travel! I’d like to stay a month here a month there, for six months to travel, it’s a while I don’t travel and I really miss it. I even like to travel nearby! The other day I visited a friend in Pesaro, I took the train changed then in Bologna, seemed to me that I ‘ve been to Timbuktu! But even walking here!

Also for Unusual Florence right? All of the unseen places you can discover around Florence.

Exactly! Here you would never come, as well as Amblé that little corner with the wall, maybe you pass in front and you are just some steps from Ponte Vecchio!

According to you are there other places to add in the map?

I think they will!  Now there is a talk of uniformity within the map so there has to be a study first, and this is what Luca does. I occasionally suggest some places, it’s not easy though, it has to be something with a common thread with the other places, otherwise there are lots of unusual places but it also has to be linked with the purchase of a certain type, perhaps not that artisan.

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photos © chrysoula papagianni

 

Home sweet home..

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Just landed in Athens.. So happy to be back home!!

Last year in Paris…

One year ago, I was extremely lucky to visit a friend of mine in Paris. Actually, Sophie and I visited Maria, who had this amazing idea to stay in Paris for some months. Paris is magic every time of the year, but on December it is like being in a (very cold) fairy-tale.

Our good fairy Maria was willing to walk the entire city (literally!) with us, so that we wouldn’ t miss a thing. Don’t fool yourselves, four days are not enough to see it all in Paris. It is huge! They are enough though to take a glance of the city and its beauty and sacrifice a pair of shoes for that purpose. Instead of giving traveling advice (which I find pointless since I am obviously not a local expert!), I’ m sharing with you the moments we spent in Paris.

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Maria in her doudoune at Place du Tertre (Monmartre)

Day one: We visited Musée Rodin (I already wrote about it, remember?), one of the most interesting museums I have ever visited because of its breathtaking garden. We walked and walked and it was really cold. I remember making fun of Maria for wearing her doudoune, but it turned out to be the most appropriate outfit! In the evening we went to Sainte-Chapelle, a royal medieval Gothic chapel located near the Palais de la Cité, on the Île de la Cité. There we enjoyed a music concert given by an orchestra consisting of four violins and one cello. They played very vividly Adagio in G minor by Albinoni and The Four Seasons by Vivaldi. This was definitely the most remarkable memory from Paris!

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At Rodin’ s garden

Afterwards we walked Boulevard Saint-Michel and Boulevard Saint-Germain and had kir royal for aperitif in Bonaparte Bistro. Our friend Elina had insisted on visiting the area Buttes aux Calles for dinner, so we had dinner at restaurant Chez Filles (Elina suggested Chez Gladinez but it was full that night).

Day two: We visited Musée D’ Orsay which is located on the left bank of the Seine. It is housed in the former Gare d’ Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900. The museum holds mainly French art dating from 1848 to 1915, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, and photography. It houses the largest collection of impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world, by painters including Monet, Manet, Degas, Renoir, Cézanne, Seurat, Sisley, Gauguin and Van Gogh. Many of these works were held at the Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume prior to the museum’s opening in 1986 (source wikipedia).

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The Clock at Orsay’s entrance

After the long tour at the museum I met another friend of mine and we walked by river Seine, crossed Pont des Arts bridge with the love padlocks and finally reached Les Halles. Maria and Sophie visited Louvre Museum (no need for further information, the must-see museum!). I had been there before so I preferred to drink a hot chocolate at Edmond Michelet Square, near Pompidou Center. Maria and Sophie, after their long visit at Louvre, met me there and we went upstairs, at the roof of Center Pompidou and had a panoramic view of the city by night.

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Panoramic view of the city through the window at the roof of Center Pompidou

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The stairs to Sacre-Coeur

Day three: Monamarte! How not to be in love with the neighbourhood were Amelie lived and worked, the most artistic area in Paris? First stop Sacre-Coeur and Place du Tertre. Then, coffee break and lunch at Le Bruant. We met Le Passe-muraille  while walking to Place Pigalle.

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Le Passe-muraille

In the evening we finally reached the Eiffel Tower and walked Champs-Elysées Avenue from the Arc de Triomphe to Place Concorde! The most expensive Avenue of Paris was -as expected- overdecorated for Christmas.

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Rue Saint-Antoine, Marais

Day four: My favourite area, Marais. We had breakfast at Starbucks and then went to Carnavalet Museum, the museum of the history of Paris. There one can see exhibits like furniture, objects and art work following the history timeline before and after the Revolution. It is very exciting and informative about the city of Paris.

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Exhibit at Carnavalet Museum

Nearby is Place des Vosges and Victor Hugo’s house. Of course we went there too. Last stop before departing was Bastille, where we had a good-bye quiche!

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Place des Vosges

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Victor Hugo’s office

I find travel tips rather overestimated, some things are matter of one’s taste. But I definitely insist on this: when you visit Paris, sooner or later, don’t forget to taste macarons, drink kir royal and enjoy the panoramic view of the city from Sacre Coeur or the roof of Centre Pompidou!

Please come home for Christmas

Christmas countdown has began and I look forward to see Chrysoula, who will be home very soon! 😀

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