Paris city administrators and retailers put a lot of effort into festive decorations and illuminations for Christmas. Famous spots like the Champs Elysees, Avenue Montaigne and Place Vendome are a sight to behold shimmering and sparkling in festive splendour. Tourists and locals crowd the pavement to see the jolly window displays of the department stores on Boulevard Haussmann and inside Galeries Lafayette the giant Christmas tree is in place under the dome, splendidly decorated in this year’s theme. As is part of the season’s tradition the aisles are jam packed with photo-clicking admirers adding to the scrum of Christmas shoppers.
Local neighbourhoods don’t go without glitter and sparkle either. In our arrondissement the market streets are decorated with lights and trees, shop window displays are glorious and there is a lovely buzz of festive preparation. Christmas tree sellers have street corners stacked up with Les sapins de Noël; select the one you want and its immediately packaged like a sausage in a net casing ready to take home.
My favourites are the florist shops. These are a sight to behold, they sell Christmas trees; full size, miniatures, snow encrusted ones, faux trees, blue, white and red ones (très patriotique), bunches of holly and mistletoe, wreaths of fir – real or faux – and yep, flowers, flowers and more flowers. Just near Parc Monceau on rue de Courcelles, is a floral design boutique (Pascal Mutel) that has buckets of the most glorious flowers displayed in colour themes, pretty potted plants, and all sorts of decorations from elegant to whimsical. The floral designs these artists create are the epitome of Parisian elegance.
As for Christmas shopping, a trip to any one of the major department stores (if you can bear the crowds) is an experience in wonderment at the amazingly
- All of the above
things you can buy. I would love to tell you that my dearly beloved’s carry bag contains my Christmas present. But no……we were just collecting the seat cushion from an armchair that had had a damaged button replaced. Looks impressive though!
Christmas in Paris definitely has the wow factor. It is a spectacle of lights and sparkle, money and extravagance. I am thrilled to experience it; nobody does the art of elegance quite like the French, and I haven’t even touched on the food yet. But, fabulous though it is, my real enjoyment is the company of family and friends.