Posts Tagged ‘vin chaud’

It’s How Long Until Christmas?!

Monday, December 3rd, 2012

Dear Father Christmas,

All I want for Christmas is a very clear sign involving flashing lights and someone handing me a piece of paper with lots of detailed information outlining what I am going to do and where I am going to live next year. And maybe some sort of delicious cake to eat.

Thanks!

Love Jess xx

So apparently it is already December and Christmas is a mere three weeks and one day away. That, of course, means that 2013 is four weeks and one day away. My natural instinct to count down days and reflect on the previous year etc. means I am now going into slight panic mode as I realise that I have some fairly major decisions to make within the next few weeks. I had been feeling a-okay with my “Holland or England” concept but now that isn’t even really definite enough as visas need to be applied for and apartments found. It is true that it doesn’t matter where I end up, I can always move. But the idea of moving all of my stuff multiple times appeals about as much as someone stabbing me with a fork so I’d kind of like to get it right. Or, at least, not completely wrong.

Anyway, that aside, the Christmas festivities have sprung throughout Paris with decorations and markets coming alive across the city. On Saturday evening I met my friend Chuck on the Champs Elysées and we wandered through the Christmas markets drinking vin chaud. The markets were as commercial as I expected and I didn’t actually look at any of the stalls apart from the man selling hot spiced wine. The decorations down the street were quite pretty and you can’t help but feel somewhat happy and festive as you walk past fairy lights, wooden huts, ice skating rinks and people eating churros. The cold winter air certainly made it feel Christmasy.

Christmas markets

So many people on the Champs Elysées

A decorations throughout Paris are fairly simple – lots of fairy lights which I always think are the best lights to have. If it were up to me, one hundred helicopters would fly across the city and dump huge lengths of fairy lights over buildings and streets, creating a web of twinkling stars. So pretty. The decorations on the Champs Elysées are a bit sci-fi and look like aliens have wrapped laser beams around the trees but at least they’re simple. There is a distinct lack of religion in the decorations which I find quite interesting. No Jesus or Marys hanging from lamp posts here.

The other day I was wandering aimlessly through Paris and walked through Place Vendôme, near the Ritz. There were some intriguing Christmas decoration statue things that appeared to be reticulation pipes stuck together at angles and then covered in sparkly fairy lights. They improved as it got darker, but in the day light they looked quite average. It is somehow pleasing that even in a city like Paris, their Christmas decorations are just as tacky as Perth’s.

Christmas decorations

Jaunty.

Still no sign of snow in Paris and I’m not getting my hopes up this year. I still REALLY REALLY REALLY want a white Christmas but I don’t think Sheffield is going to deliver. It did snow when I was there in April so there is a chance. But I think it will require a Christmas Miracle or lots of soap suds.

Christmas Market Time

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The Christmas Markets have arrived in Paris, with young Audrey Tautou (of Amelie fame) turning on the Christmas lights along the Champs-Élysées last week. Tom and I dared the crowds on Saturday afternoon and elbowed our way through, mostly in the hope of finding a warming Nutella crêpe. We had been out walking all day heading from our house, down to the river, a quick duck into Sainte Chapelle, and then towards the Grand Palais. It was bloody cold and my hands were falling off so I needed something to warm them up with. We found the solution:

Vin chaud and crêpes

Hand warming.

Vin chaud and crêpes. Ahhh… I love Christmas in Europe. I hate it in Australia because of the excessive commercialisation and the too much food and too many presents. But here there is something more festive and REAL about it, although the Christmas markets in Paris really disappointed me as they are largely commercial stalls selling awful mass produced goods that are ugly and tacky. Plus, our Nutella crêpe was made using Nutella substitute which just did not hit the spot. Then I saw the vin chaud lady pouring more wine into the urns to heat up and it came straight out of a giant cask. It was essentially goon with spices, and it was all pre-mixed. Nothing real here.

I will go and have a better look at the markets when it isn’t a Saturday afternoon. I think a Monday morning when everyone is going to work with a depressed look on their faces is probably the best time to check them out.