Christmastime in France

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Good thing I didn’t promise you a weekly blog, or you guys would probably be super mad at me.

I figured that since Christmas decorations have been popping up all over Paris and the suburbs as of late, I’d talk to you all about Christmas in France.  They have these wonderful things here (and I guess in other parts of Europe, who knew?) called Christmas markets.  They are cropping up all over Paris and there’s even a small one that’s talking over parts of the mall in Guyancourt.  These magical markets sell everything that one could ever want for Christmas, be it food or gifts.

There are stands and stands full of baked goods, macarons, pain d’épice (not actually gingerbread cookies, to my dismay, but more like spiced sweet bread), chocolates of all kinds,and really any other dessert you could ever want.  Food stands sell tartiflette (the best potato dish ever made with cream, onions, cheese, and BACON!), sausages on baguettes, and even soup! There stands that sell hot wine, hot cider, hot chocolate, and hot beer (I’m still not sold on hot beer…).

I am very excited to be able to do a lot of my Christmas shopping at these markets.  Though some of the stands sell cheesy trinkets there are some that are absolute gems! Handmade crafts, soap fabricated in France with French ingredients, and tons of things made out of lavender are some of the things that have impressed me at these markets.

There are Christmas lights everywhere as well.  The markets are full of Christmas decorations and Christmas spirit, and some even have ice rinks! However,these are not the only places that have begun decorating for Christmas. The large department stores have put up their elaborate Christmas window displays, but so have the smaller stores.  Lights, trees and decorations are showing up all over.

I was even lucky enough to get to go to the Champs-Elysees and see them turn on the Christmas lights there.  The lights themselves were pretty nice, but the ceremony filled the sky with silver confetti, so naturally I loved it.

If you can’t tell, I’ve had Christmas spirit flowing through my veins since early November.  France is such a magical place to be this time of year and I’m so happy to be able to experience it.

Here are some pictures of some of the best decorations I’ve seen and the markets:

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One of the beautifully decorated stands at the Christmas markets on the Champs-Elysees.

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Santons! I remember learning about these in French III in high school 🙂

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Christmas tree at the Galeries de Lafayette

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Some of the window decorations at the Galeries de Lafayette

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Christmas decorations in the shopping center in Guyancourt, near where I live.

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Lights on the Champs-Elysees (and incredible amounts of confetti in the first two pictures :D)

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Christmas lights in Montmartre near the Sacre Coeur

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Sephora on the Champs-Elysees all lit up for Christmas.

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Lights at the Christmas markets

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Pain d’épice

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Nunzia and I in front of the Christmas display at Ladurée.

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More gorgeous lights just off the Champs-Elysees

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Nativity scene at the Christmas market.

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They even have a Christmas Ferris wheel!!!!!!

On another holiday note, it was weird to spend my first ever Thanksgiving away from home and away from my family.  Luckily my other American friends felt equally weird about this and we decided to plan Thanksgiving here in France.  We had some interesting problems to confront with this, as our apartments don’t have ovens, but we enlisted the help of our friends to bring dishes to pass and had a successful, if not slightly unconventional Thanksgiving.  It was actually a really cool thing to do because most of my friends had never celebrated Thanksgiving before (only Americans and Canadians do, but Canada’s is in October).  I am happy to be able to have celebrated Thanksgiving abroad and am thankful for all of my wonderful friends here who humored me in joining in on the celebration.

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When your turkey is frozen, you have to thaw it somehow…

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Maddie and I cooking the turkey

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Everyone’s A+ food contibutions

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I asked everyone to write what they were thankful for on a leaf to put on the wall. Some people even made hand turkeys with me 🙂

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Some of my friends that came to the party 🙂

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