Christmas (in Paris and out)

Greetings, Readers!

I’ve just returned to Paris in time for Christmas after being in Anitbes, the town in the South of France between Nice and Cannes where my best friend lives. The “South of France” sounds like it ought to be a warm place, but is really not in winter. My BFF and I froze our keisters off at the beginning of this past week. There might be palm trees and sunshine in Antibes, but balmy it is not in wintertime. It’s chilly.

It beats being in Paris, just for views like this one, though:

From the Old City and the Fort Carré to Cap d'Antibes - click to enlarge

Or this one:

Old Antibes, with the Alps in the background

Or this one:

Sunset at the Winter Solstice - La nuit la plus longue de l'année

Even in winter, the colors of the South — Mediterranean blues, terra cotta reds, sandstone yellows, sage greens — make me feel terrific because they uplift the spirit so! No Paris grays are to be seen anywhere.

Alas, I am back in Paris, and I am posting because it is time for me to wish you a Happy Holidays!

Yes, it is those bears again. Remember them? They are in the windows at Microlithe, the association at 59bis rue Olivier Metra, 75020. I have blogged about this window here and here in the past. Adorable, eh?

I’ve got some more Christmassy photos I’d love to share with you, so if you’d like to have a look, keep on reading.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, lights have popped up in the city.

These are the ones in my neighborhood. They are not super-sexy X-mas lights, but they get the job done, and I am rather fond of them.

Lights on the Avénue Secrétan - December 5

The super-sexy lights and windows can be seen at the Galeries Lafayette and Printemps department stores, where Paul and I went on December 6 for a special opening at the Galeries Lafayette for American Express card holders. On our way there in the Métro tunnels, we ran into Tom and Monique of Discover Paris! tours and Entrée to Black Paris. I wrote a huge post about them last year. You can find that post here: Special Report — Discover Paris! I seem to just run into Monique a lot! It has happened a couple of times now — in unexpected places and at unanticipated times. It’s fun! We’re on the same wavelength, I guess. 😉

Here’s a collage of all the grooviness this year on the Boulevard Haussmann.

The Grand Department Store Lights and Windows - click to enlarge

Neighborhood bakeries are filled with special treats. These treats are from a bakery on the rue de Belleville — it’s on the corner of rue de Belleville and rue Levert. You can see it here on Google Maps. They always have the nicest looking items in their windows. I think they are perhaps a better pâtisserie than boulangerie. Since I don’t eat gluten, I am not sure. I just know that it is often hard for places to be both a good pastry shop and bread shop. But there are always people buying both bread and pastries here, so perhaps it is one of the rare places offering both good bread and good pastries. Someone should go there for me and taste-test.

"Buchette" -- little Bûche Noël

More goodies...

... and still more goodies.

There were similar goodies in bakery windows in Antibes.

More Yum in Antibes - click to enlarge

When Paul and I went to the Galeries Lafayette, it was my first time going inside the department store in the three-and-a-half years I have been here. It really is beautiful inside, and the Christmas tree looks pretty cool in the center of the famous domed area.

Here’s a little photo of what it looks like. Click to enlarge the picture.

Galeries Lafayette Christmas Tree

And here is my artistic messing about in Picasa 3.9 with its new photo editing features. The theme this year was “Rock ‘n Mode,” with Iggy Pop appearing in ads all over town. A little… bizarre — if you ask me. I got a pic of the ad. See below…

Galeries Lafayette Tree - Arty Version

Have an Iggy Christmas. Kinda creepy, huh (lol).

Have yourself an Iggy little Christmas...

But, just like Dorothy in Kansas, there is no place like home. Here’s the Prescott tree this year, taking up WAY too much space in the Ghetto Pad, but making everything smell like a Colorado mountain wood — a little sniff of home for me.

Our Humble Tree

I hope wherever you are, and however you celebrate (or don’t celebrate) this time of year, you are having a good time. In fact, hopefully you are not reading this just yet and you are spending time with friends and loved ones.

We just finished Christmas Eve dinner a couple of hours ago — a tradition Paul keeps in line with the one in France of the big dinner being held on the night of Christmas Eve. Santa arrives at midnight, about an hour from now. Paul’s daughter is in bed — another tradition in his family. Kids go to sleep for a couple of hours before midnight, then are awoken to open presents. Paul’s son, who turned 17 earlier this month, has decided this is the first year he is not going to observe the tradition, and he is going to stay awake as a grown-up. He and Paul are watching the movie “Wayne’s World.” I wanted to finish this, in keeping with my posting once a month through this entire year, and then go and watch with them until Santa arrives.

Bonne Fêtes, everyone! Sleep well, get nestled tight in your beds. I hope Santa is good to you all. Or, the Hanukkah, um, whatever. The Magic Dreidel? 😉 Or you know, however it is that you observe and whoever it is that brings you presents! I hope you have a merry time.


Your Alien Parisienne

Categories: Cross-Cultural Living, Life in Paris, Personal Life | Tags: , , ,

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26 thoughts on “Christmas (in Paris and out)

  1. Happy Christmas and holiday season, Paris Prescott family!

    Cheers from over the Pond and hope to see you in the new year.

  2. Ken Robertson

    The snowy alps behind Old Antibes set the mood, mediterranian or not. Iggy played locally last month and one of the local radio jockettes went and still showed up for work at 8am the next day. I so wanted to go. Merry Christmas one and all.

    • Hello, Ken! Happy holidays to you.

      I agree about those Alps. They reminded me so much of the view of the Rocky Mountains in Denver. Ditto about the blue sky. Props to that DJ who managed to pull off an Iggy concert and then show up at 8 am!! I bet he is pretty fun in concert, even for a geezer. 😉


      • Ken

        Forgot to mention, he was back with the Stooges for that set. Dunno if they are back together or if that was a “one off”.

  3. Carole

    Your tree is adorable! Glad you get a scent from home in your home. Merry Crimble to you and yours.

    • Hi Carole!

      Isn’t the tree cute? I take no credit for it. I had a goodbye party to attend, and Paul and his daughter put it up. Confession: besides the real tree pine smell, Christmas trees are kind of a p.i.t.a. IMHO. (lol) I’d totally settle for a fake one or no tree altogether. But you can’t beat that real pine smell, for sure!

      Merry Crimble back atcha. Although by now I need to wish you a Happy New Year. 🙂

  4. Maria O. Russell

    I once spent Christmas at my sister´s house on a beach halfway between Sainte- Maxime and Saint-Raphaël. This huge old place at that time had no heat…

    I was happy because I like cold weather but my brother in law was freezing. The sky without fail was blue and sunshiny. So beautiful!

    I love this post, it´s just like you. Thank you so much!

    Merry Christmas to you dear Karin.

    Te abraza fuerte,

    • Hola, Maria, mi amiga!

      Blue sky, even when it is freezing, sure does give the illusion of warmth, no? It’s dismal gray skies that really get to me. Thankfully, the weather in Paris has been pretty mild so far. Either we’re gearing up for a helluva January, or maybe global warming is going to be kinder this year, and we’ll stay mild. Somehow I kind of doubt it, though! I’ll report what happens. 🙂

      I’m so glad you enjoyed the post, Maria.

      Big hugs back!

  5. Great blog I just found you and am your new follower

    I look forward to your visit

    • Hi Helen! I visited as soon as I got your comment. I did not comment back, but I appreciate your artwork! Thanks for sharing!

      So glad you found the blog, and I hope you enjoy it a lot in 2012.

  6. Bonnes fetes, Karin! Your post made me tres jalouse… not only the dreamy landscape of Antibes, but the wonderful Parisian windows, sweets and vibe, and even your adorable tree. It all looks and sounds like the perfect holiday season. Being right in the thick of it, I hope you have other great stuff planned to enjoy it! See you in Paris in springtime! Gros bis and best wishes for a happy, fulfilling 2012! xo

    • Hello Sweet Freak! So nice to have you visit here. 🙂 I’m so glad that you enjoyed the photos. Something to tide you over until your next visit, right? Well, you know, honestly, I have been spending my entire holiday watching “Downton Abbey” (both seasons and the Christmas special, too) and old episodes of “Northern Exposure.” Nothing like curling up with a cup of tea and my laptop in bed to watch a great period piece drama and a quirky comedy! So yeah — not so much planned to explore Paris at the holiday time, lol. But I am happy, and that is what counts, right? 🙂

      Definitely see you in the springtime. Biz back atcha, and I KNOW your 2012 is going to ROCK. 😀

  7. Karin, it is with great pleasure that I nominate you for the Versatile Blogger Award! Your blog makes me smile!

    Please see my blog for guidelines on how to accept the nomination.

    Happy New Year my Friend!

    XXX Jen

    • Thank you very much Jen! I appreciate it a lot.

      Ohhhh, this means I have to get my act together with the whole blogging thing, huh, lol. I’ll see what I can do to fulfill the guidelines!

      Happy New Year to you, too.

  8. As usual, a wonderful and complete post!

    Hope New Year festivites went as well as the Christmas ones!

    All the best to you and Paul for 2012!

    • Hello, Peter! So nice to see you here and thank you for the New Year’s Greetings! They are appreciated! You take care of yourself, too, and I hope that 2012 will be a wonderful year for you as well.

  9. I enjoyed your post. I was once in Marseille in December and it was quite cold so I understand how it must have been in Antibes. I did not have much of a Christmas because I was in bed with a very nasty cold from the 17 to the 28 of December, then we drove to Nashville to celebrate New Year. I missed eating a good “bûche de Noël” here and eat great dark chocolates in fancy boxes like you find in France during the season. But here we have “eggnog” which we did not have at home in France. I like it with a little Bourbon to give it a lift… Hope you had a great Réveillon and that 2012 will bring you everything you wish.

  10. I hope you have a really great new year in this year of 2012.

  11. not sure how i missed seeing this post before but I’ve been on a week’s break ….have a great New Year Karin….don’t miss MJ too much…looks like she’s having fun in Seattle…

    here’s hoping I wangle a trip to Paris this year somehow….

    all the best

    love that tree!

  12. That is quite the humble tree!! I miss Janet soo much. I’m still going to Antibes someday….seriously.

  13. I missed this post while I was on holiday break – the colors in the photos from the South are just gorgeous!

  14. Bonjour Karin,

    It was a have you stop at my blog. Please feel free to stop over anytime. I am putting your link on my sidebar so I remember to come more often to your blog home.

    i love the dreamy azure blue of Antibes. If that is one thing that changes the humor in winter it is blue skies! What a wonderful trip. I have never been so far down in France.
    You did a great job photographine all those Christmas windows,trees and such. Yah, I’ll pass on an Iggy Pop Christmas, too. Someone feed that man some fattening French food!!

    Take care and I hope to see you soon.


  15. Mchelle

    Aww I miss Prescott christmass tree! And Paris holiday lights. 😦

  16. Thanks for sharing your (as usual) beautiful photos! I’ve got to bring my family to Paris for the holidays one of these days. Happy New Year!

    Er, given that it’s mid-February now–Happy Valentine’s Day!

  17. Oh these pastries… I’m drooling!

    They always amaze me. Can you imagine the patience and the world behind them? I mean, baking croissant is easy (relatively speaking, not that I actually do it! :lol:) but these cakes and pastries are so delicate…

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