I find it hard to believe that December is half over and that the shortest day of the year is almost here. I always look forward to that day because I love longer days with more sunshine and time to be outside. One new thing for me is that I tried out an exercise club near us for one month. Last year I tried the Club Med club which was really excellent and, as you might imagine, more expensive. During my time there I never met or talked to one person. At this new club everyone is very friendly and I now have at least some acquaintances, people who say hello and goodbye and even carry on a conversation or two. Believe me, that is totally new to me. The only thing is, I don’t like the exercise classes as much. The teachers are nice but there seems to be more behind what is taught at Club Med, plus the classes last a full hour not the 40 minutes at this new place. We are going out of town for Christmas and I will be starting again when we return. I have to. I have found I will only show up each day if I am paying for it. If I tell myself that I am going out and run, half the time I won’t. What to do?

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A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine who is from Belgium made us this dish of endives and ham. She said it originates in Belgium although the French have claimed it as their own along with French fries. I read that Belgium is trying to get first claims to originating French fries. Anyway, this was a great dish and it turned out to be pretty easy. First you brown the endives in butter, then add water and let them cook until tender (either stove top or in the oven), let them cool, wrap in ham and cover with Béchamel sauce, a milk based sauce, then top with cheese and bake for thirty minutes. I cheated and used store bought béchamel which is much smoother than what I make. It’s too bad endive is so expensive in the States. I guess you could do this with asparagus.

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Maurice and I went into the George V hotel for a look at their Christmas decorations. As I recall, they had the same thing last year but, as always, it’s very beautiful.

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This was out in the courtyard where breakfast is served in the summer.

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Every once in a while we splurge on something as we did here at the bar in the George V. The drinks aren’t cheap but it is such a pleasure to sit in a dark and elegant bar drinking a special cocktail, mine was a glog since it was chilly outside, and I ate a huge amount of gourmet nuts and olives.

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I asked for plain water from the tap not wanting to pay for a bottle of water but the waiter brought a little bottle of Evian over anyway and said it was “Château-la-Pompe”, a fancy way of saying tap water. They didn’t charge us for it at any rate.

I am in the Marais area of Paris often as it isn’t far from our home and I always find interesting things.

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The Marais is home to many Jewish people and here is a synagogue there. It was designed by Guimard, the famous architect of those metro entrances in the Art Nouveau style. I’d love to see the inside.

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Not open for business yet.

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There are two of these bull heads on a wall of what was once an ancient market.

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Pasted up graffiti which I think had to do with freedom in Hong Kong.

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A pretty window in the Repetto store, home of ballet items.

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I like this display with the candle on top of stars.

I was in the neighborhood near the famous Galeries Lafayette and thought I should get a photo of the Christmas tree there under the dome. I made the mistake of going in the evening on a Saturday and the whole store and street were just packed with people, but I got my photos.

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Because I was using my iPhone, I couldn’t get the whole tree into the frame so here is the top part up by the dome. As you can see, they did the tree upside down this year.

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And here is the bottom part that I took from a few floors up.

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Not far away I passed a Paul Boulangerie and took a photo of these cute little dough boys dipped in chocolate.

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I’m always interested to see Bagel shops in Paris.

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With free wifi for girls? Didn’t ask about that.

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A shop typical in the area with very nice fruit and vegetables outside and groceries inside-usually pretty expensive.

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I was passing a restaurant that had an open door showing a festive little Christmas tree. We aren’t putting up a tree this year as we will be out of town but I may put out a few candles.

In order to get my steps up to the 10,000 mark on my Fitbit, I walked almost all of the way home after my lunch at Flesh. As on the other day, the sun was gone and the windows along the way lit up.

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The flower shops sell Christmas trees and other Christmas decorations.

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Look at the line of pastries and sweets in this shop!

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Inviting.

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A hat store with someone inside trying one on.

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A type of graffiti that I keep seeing around Paris.

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An elegant Santa.

A friend and I went to lunch the other day at a new place where the chef is an American from California who serves beef and pork ribs, barbecued. It’s called Flesh and it was very good although I wouldn’t have minded an American helping of the ribs I ordered.

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Here it is.

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This place was across the street and had a good looking menu. I think when a good place arrives on the scene, others will follow. It was true on this street.

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The interior of the other place looking rather American and the menu was too.

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My barbecued ribs. The side of squash was really good and their fries were excellent-not those frozen ones that you sometimes get.

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This building was across the street. I just liked its looks-very Parisian and with a Montmartre feel.

I love walking around Paris after dark when lights come on both outside and inside. I don’t see it much here in Paris if I’m not here in the winter because the sun sets really late in the summer but now it goes down around 4:30 and it’s really lovely.

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We were in the Palais Royal-as you can see.

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I liked the stars for decorations in this window as well as the Tshirts with the name of the store on them.

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A famous, and expensive, vintage clothing store, Didier Ludot. The prices aren’t in the window but the designer, such as Channel, and the year it was made.

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Simple Christmas decoration.

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I like seeing stores like this with books piled up.

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My view while waiting for a bus in the Marais.

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