Monday, April 25, 2011

b-log: Joyeux noël

This post begins what will be a rather long series of backlog blogging, or b-logging, as I'm going to call it, to recount exciting things that happened in my blogging sabbatical. I started writing this post back in January, but somehow never got around to actually posting it. So, without further ado, a very, very belated Joyeux Noël to you all! I spent more of the holiday season in France this past Christmas than ever before (it's funny how having a job really limits your vacation schedule) so I have a whole collection of photos to share, and I thought 'hey, better late than never, right?' I hope y'all agree.

To start off with, here is my Christmas tree at work, and two of the students that helped me decorate it. Note that it's not abnormally tiny to fit in the office; this is the average size of sapins de noël in France:
France's holiday pastry of choice is a bûche de noël, or 'yule log'. The real deal is a big roll cake, filled with marzipan or cream, that resembles a log and will feed a family. For those with more modest needs, the local bakery also sold these smaller "bûchettes":

A 'green' Christmas tree in a shop window near where I live, fashioned from recycled bottles:
The French Père Noël swiggin' some vin; a window painting from a corner Tabac in the 5th arrondissement:
The Galeries Lafayette, Paris' premiere department store, all lit up for the season:
The 7-floor tall Christmas tree and suspended gift boxes inside the Galeries:
Christmas tinsel strung through the walkways of Printemps, another department store:
Haute couture in a Chanel window:
A kid admires another delicious-looking display:
A simple crèche from inside Notre-Dame:
Street decorations on Avenue de Wagram, just off of the Arch de Triomphe:
A view of the same street from the 5th floor window of the family I tutor for:
Lights on rue Daguerre, the street I work on and live near:
One of a million booths selling vin chaud (mulled wine) at the many marchés de noël:
Moon-pie like 'boules de noël', filled with marshmallow, biscuit and one of several flavors (coffee, rasberry, etc) and covered in chocolate:
Christmas tree in the above-ground center of the Halles of Chatêlet:
Chaperoning ice-skating on the Eiffel Tower (yes, literally ON the tour; they set up a little temporary rink on the first floor) for the study abroad program that I work for. That's me on the left side with the dorky hat and backpack, looking like Mother Hen.
I did manage to actually make it back to Washington DC for Christmas, as did Tom, who met the fam' and had the opportunity for the first time in his life to freeze his butt off in our Nation's capital :
...and to be under-whelmed by the frozen reflecting pool in front of the National Monument.
On the bright side, he did get to try ribs, Mexican food, Capital Brewery burgers and soft pretzels, and attend a winning Washington Wizards basketball game with unlimited snack buffet privileges (cracker jacks and nachos galore!). He was probably five pounds fatter by the time we made it back to Paris.

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