Monday, 22 December 2008

Christmas eve in France

2692342719_3f114df602 So what do the French eat for Christmas, what is it that the shops are overflowing with and which later comes onto the table. How do they celebrate Christmas in the first place? Apart from chocolate of course, for there's really a lot of chocolate and it's of the best quality too. That's the treat during the holiday season.

Christmas eve is celebrated in France just as in Denmark. The family is gathered and you eat way too much food. The dinner starts late in France, around the same time that most Danes have finished their dinner. Around 8-9 in the evening. The dinner lasts all evening and often you'll not get to the desert before after midnight.

When the dinner is the entertainment of the entire evening, there's of course no time to dance around the Christmas tree as we do in Denmark. And the Christmas carols are only sung at the church for the midnight mass. Which quite a few families still attend, France is a Catholic country.

The food is something special and unique, and very fancy. With several courses of course. The aperitif is usually things like petit four (small stuffed breads baked in the oven), it can be smoked salmon or other like things. With this you''ll of course drink pastis (Pernod etc), whiskey, cognac, pineau, beer, maybe wine or even champagne. Champagne is usually served with some very sweet cakes in France when had as aperitif.

2222619721_4534dd8024For starters there has to be foie gras of course, nothing else is good enough. It's the finest you can serve and the French love it. They serve foie gras with Sauternes wine, which is a very sweet white wine. For the picky ones there'll usually be a fancy paté or smoked salmon. Raw oysters is also a popular thing in France around Christmas. The supermarkets are overflowing with them and they're sold as quickly as they come in. Snails, lobster and other good things are also found on the French Christmas tables.

The main dish is usually turkey. But guinea hen or capon are normal for the smaller families. At the less traditional families you'll find lamb or côte de boeuf (rib steak 3-5 cm thick). At this time the redwine is of course put on the table, and there is plenty of it.

Then we arrive at the cheese. No French dinner is complete without the cheese. And there's a lot of cheese. It's said that France has so many different cheeses, that you can eat a new one every day during the year. The table is loaded with cheese, of course served with tossed lettuce in vinaigrette and baguette. To clean the tongue you see, between enjoying the different cheeses. The red wine is served with the cheese as well, as most of us already know.

76871644_ae18fa8826 And then we arrive at the dessert. It's a special cake, called Bûche de Noel and it looks like a log. This time the champagne will be opened, it's gotten late and most guests are quite tipsy. This is when the Christmas gifts will be exchanged, after a long evening with way too much food and wine.

Merry Christmas from France

Photo: http://flickr.com/photos/cyclonebill/, http://flickr.com/photos/copleys/ & http://flickr.com/photos/masatsu/

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Christmans lights in Paris

Paris isn't called the "City of Lights" withotu a reason, and particularly obviously during Christmans. All over the city is found beautiful and impressive decorations which lightens the dark evenings and creates a magic atmosphere which is unique for Paris.

Below is a list of the official Christmas decorations.

3089567512_9fc9af8306 Avenue des Champs-Elysées
Lights all over the aveneue, has to be seen at least once.
75008 PARIS
From: 19-11-2008 until mid January
Métro: Charles de Gaulle Etoile
RER: Charles de Gaulle - Etoile

Place Vendôme, rue de la Paix, rue de Castiglione
Illuminations Perles et diamants
75001 PARIS
From: 20-11-2008 to 05-01-2009
Métro: Opéra
RER: Auber

Forum des Halles
75001 PARIS
From 17-11-2008 to 05-01-2009
Illuminations: Noël en Rose
Métro: Chatelêt les Halles
RER: Chatelêt les Halles

The Christmas lights of the streets are lightened on from the 28th of November until the end of January. More than 125 streets and squares will be decorated and illuminated.

Program for Christmas 2008, listed by arrondissement:
1e and 2e: Rues Montorgueil, Tiquetonne - "Forêt de Lumière"
3e: Rues de Bretagne, des Francs Bourgeois - "Les Couronnes des Bretagne"
4e: Rues Rambuteau, du Temple - "Éclats d’Hiver"
5e: Rue Mouffetard, Place Église Saint Médard, Place de la Contre Escarpe - "Mouff’ Stars"
5e and 6e: Boulevard Saint Germain, Place Saint Germain des Prés - "Brillante est la Nuit"
6e: Rue de Rennes - "Drapé Scintillant"
7e: Rues du Bac, de Grenelle, Malar, Jean Nicot - "Pluie de Corolles"
8e: Avenue Montaigne - "Organdi"
9e: Rue Caumartin - "Christmas Canada"
10e: Rue des Vinaigriers - "Ilot de Lumière"
11e: Rue Oberkampf - "Disques d’Or"
12e: Rue Marsoulan, Viaduc des Arts - "Arcades Étoilées"
13e: Avenue des Gobelins, avenue d’Italie - "Soleil Couchant"
14e: Rues d’Alésia, des Plantes, Daguerre - "Dans les Nuages d’Alésia"
15e: Rues Lecourbe, Cambronne, Village Saint Charles - "Boules d’Étoiles"
16e: Village d’Auteuil - "Ciel d’Or à Auteuil"
17e: Rues de Courcelles, Poncelet - "Les Bijoux de Courcelles"
18e: Place et rue des Abbesses, rues Lepic, A. Bruant, Tholozé, de Maistre, Véron - "20.000 Feux sous Montmartre"
19e: Quartier Jean-Jaurès - "L’Écume Glacée - La Vague Dorée - L’Onde Enflammée"
20e: Rues de Belleville, du Jourdain - "Le Coeur du Village s’Illumine"

More light in Paris: http://www.parisillumineparis.fr/

Photo: http://flickr.com/photos/anniemole/

Friday, 19 December 2008

Christmas at the great shops

3064729437_2f11f8b619_2 The lights are turned on all over Paris and captures the magic spirit of Christmas in Paris. They beautiful and impressive Christmas decorations are displayed for the joy of both

The two great and world known shops; Galeries Lafayette and Printemps Haussmann are particularly impressive. Their entire front is covered by thousands of lights in beautiful patterns and colours. But it's not only the impressive light decorations that's worth seeing. The window decorations are one of a kind and especially the children can spend long time in front of them.

This year the theme in Galaries Lafayette is Alice in Wonderland. See Alice explore Wonderland, the great table with the while rabbit, a forest made out of mushrooms, the evil queen and a field with magic flowers and many other known scenes from the story. On top of this there's a 20 metre tall Christmas tree beautifully decorated with 1800 glass balls and many other things.

Kar Largerfeld has given his expression of the cosmetic dream at Printemps Haussmann. All the windows towards Boulevard Haussmann represents a fantasy world, chick and alight, with holograms and decorations. Karl Largerfeld

Photo: http://flickr.com/photos/hotels-paris-rive-gauche/

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Christmas markets in Paris

3088725035_e6bc2d0dee_2 All the great Christmas markets starts to appear when the sweet Christmas time comes closer. There are several in Paris proper, and they're certainly worth a visit, both for the atmosphre, but also for the shopping.

Here's a list over the greatest markets in Paris for 2008

L'arche de Noël à la Défense
The largest Christmas market in Paris with 10.000 square metres and 250 stalls, which offers everything from local art work to regional tastes.
Date: 26/11 - 28/12
Time: 11:00-20:00 Sunday to Friday, 9:30 - 20:00 Saturday
Location: Esplanade at La Défense
Metro: line 1 - Esplanade de La Défense
RER A: Grande Arche de La Défense

Marché de Noël et village du Père Noël PLACE SAINT SULPICE
Date: 10/12 - 24/12
All days: 10:00 - 20:00
PLACE SAINT SULPICE
1, place Saint-Sulpice 75006 PARIS
Métro: Saint Sulpice
RER: Saint Michel - Notre Dame

Le Village du Père Noël (Santa's village) at la place Saint-Germain des Prés
Date: 05/12 - 31/12
All days: 10:00 - 20:00
PLACE SAINT GERMAIN DES PRES
75006 PARIS
Métro: Saint-Germain des Prés

Marché de Noël Champs-Elysées
The market spreads from the round about at Champs-Elysées (by the Triumph Arch) to place de la Concorde at the other end.
Date: 20/11 - 04/01
Avenue des Champs-Elysées
75008 PARIS
Métro: Charles de Gaulle Etoile
RER: Charles de Gaulle Etoile

Marché de Noël Place des Abbesses
Date: 28/11 - 30/12
1, place des Abbesses
75018 PARIS
Métro: Abbesses

Marché de Noël à la Maison de l’Alsace
Date: 29/11 - 28/12
All days: 11:00 - 20:00
Maison de l’Alsace
39, avenue des Champs Elysées 75008 PARIS
Métro: Franklin-D Roosevelt
RER: Charles de Gaulle - Etoile

Marché de Noël à la Gare de l'Est
Date: 29/11 - 13/12
08:00 - 20:00 Monday to Saturday, 09:00 - 19:00 Sunday
GARE DE L'EST
Parvis Gare de l'Est
75010 PARIS
Métro: Gare de l'Est
RER: Gare du Nord

Marché de noël PLACE DE LA NATION
Date: 01/12 - 24/12
All days: 10:00 - 20:00
75011 PARIS
Métro: Nation
RER: Nation

Marché de Noël à la Tour Montparnasse
Date: 28/11 - 29/12
All days: 10:30 - 19:30
The many colourful stalls offers many products, especially handcrafts and food from the region. It's a good place to find that special Christmas gift and enjoy the hot warm spiced wine.
Place Raoul Dautry - 33 avenue du Maine
75015 Paris
Métro: Montparnasse bienvenue

Marché de Noël à Disney Village
Date: 12/12 - 06/01
Monday to Friday: 15:00 - 21:30, Saturday and Sunday: 11:00 - 21:30
DISNEY VILLAGE
77777 MARNE LA VALLEE
RER : Marne la Vallée - Chessy

Photo: http://flickr.com/photos/anniemole/