13 December 2009

The Paris Groove

With all of the turmoil at work, I was only assured we could stay here until the end of August. That date came and went... work kept going, and there was no reason to go home. So we stayed.

The merger of companies occured, and I still have a job. The fate of the Paris office is still not clear, but it looks like we'll be here into the New Year at the very least, and possibly through all of next year. We had come with the mind-set of the 6 month assignment, and have been shifting focus back to the original target of 2 years, since it may happen yet.

So, we have been trying to get deeper into Paris and the Paris lifestyle while we are here. After success with the boots, I am rediscovering my inner clothes horse, and have been gradually acquiring proper French clothes. Last weekend I had success at a cool little boutique in the 10th- a dress, a skirt, and a top.

We've been marveling at the Christmas spectacle in Paris. The decorations definitely have a different esthetic. They really like white lights, and especially lights that look like dripping water. We have wandered up and down the Champs Elysees twice (once from the Arc de Triomphe end, the other time from Concorde) where there is a huge Christmas festival. Apparently Christmas in Europe involves a lot of little "chalets" in which vendors can peddle their wares. We had seen them in Brussles, but they are everywhere in Paris, in little clumps. You know you are in Europe when the snacks for sale include fois gras or duck breast sandwiches.

This stuff passes for Gourmet in the US, not food at the state fair. And wine to drink!

Christmas lights everywhere

We kept hearing about the window displays at the Galleries Lafayette, one of the tony department stores. The whole store has its own impressive light show going on.

Not well captured here, the lights dim, brighten, and change pattern.
We braved the huge crouds not inside, but outside, families who brought their children just to see the windows. And what do they have? A whole series of stuffed animal marionettes. They have probably done this same show since the parents were kids, sort of like the light show at Wannamaker's (or whatever it's called now). Totally cheezy, but it becomes part of the Christmas tradition.

This window has a bunch of stuffed rabbits frollicking in champagne glasses. We are in France, after all.

This coming Saturday we begin our Christmas vacation (I'm taking Mon-Wed as vacation days, and the rest of the week and a half are company holidays). We're headed to Barcelona- something completely different.

But this week, before we go, I can even get into the Christmas spirit at work, since the requisite chalets are in La Defense.

Happy holidays, every one!

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