Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

Twelve days of revels

December 18, 2010

The City of Lights at Christmas (Agatellier, Wikipedia commons)

The holidays are nigh upon us, and the Experienced Travelers sleep with images of foie gras dancing in their heads.  Letters were duly posted to Père Noël at his atelier in the Rue Guillemites, so now we wait.   

Pere Noel forsakes the North Pole for the Rue Guillemites in the Marais

France is a secular country – unless the Church provides an excuse for leisure and dining.  Christmas is a twelve-day extravaganza, beginning with le Réveillon after Midnight Mass.  Imagine a table laden with roasts, salads, oysters, foie gras, champagne and the “bûche de Noël” or Christmas log cake. Paris will be awake all night, eating, drinking and visiting. 

Beware the hidden crown in this Galette des Rois

Twelve exhausting days later, the season comes to a close at Epiphany.  Naturally there is a meal, which features la Galette des Rois, a round cake containing a small hidden crown.  Whoever finds it in their slice gets to be King or Queen. (which can be a risky proposition in France)  We hope they chew carefully.

The ETs speculate that this tradition was started in the 14th century by the medieval guild of Baker Dentists, rivals of the better-known Barber Surgeons. Translated from the Latin, their motto reads “Bake a crown – Make a crown”. It’s still upheld by dentists across France.

We asked Pere for more time to visit this friendly fromagerie

We have been very, very good all year, so we hope that Père Noël will be generous.  Nurse wants time to explore the other fromagerie near our apartment, a Gordon Ramsay gift certificate, fresh radishes and haricots verts, Laduree macarons, the vintage Hermès scarf from the shop on the corner, and for me to get bored with Proust.

We both asked Pere Noel for dinner at Le Florimond

I asked for two chairs by the fountain in the Luxembourg Gardens, the view from the Centre Pompidou, the unforgettable omelette from La Fontaine Saint-Michel, to find Napoleon’s stuffed dog in the Musee de L’Armee and to gain entry to the bank conference room that was once Proust’s bedroom. 

Open late for last minute shopping (Noel Remi Jouan, Wikipedia Commons)

JuliesParis will be on hiatus until the New Year while we rest by the fire with a glass of wine and our Paris maps.  Until then, we invite you to join us in the final chorus of the “Twelve Days of Christmas”, which will sound better once we open the wine:

Twelve vintage bottles / Eleven lost Picassos
Ten chefs creating / Nine waiters waiting
Eight “Gordon” courses/ Seven Marly horses
Six scarves from Hermès / Five Ma-ca-rons
Four garden chairs / Three baguettes / Two camemberts
And a pied-à-terre in the Rue Cler

This video features the bells of Notre Dame on Christmas Eve.  As you listen, imagine every church bell in Paris ringing out at midnight.  We wish all the loyal Readership the best of the season, and the best of Paris!

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