I’ve been slacking.
I was supposed to write about Christmas in Paris, but Christmas came and went and I didn’t get around to it. Then I thought, hey fine – I’ll write about Christmas and New Year’s Eve together, that’ll be great. Then New Year’s came and went and I didn’t get around to it.
I’d like to say that I’ve just been so busy with my fabulous life and that I was just “living it to the fullest” so much and that’s why. But that’s not exactly true.
True fact: I have been busy. True fact: it is not with fabulous life-living. It’s with paperwork and planning and flights home and trying to find enough sweaters to not freeze to death in this arctic New England weather we’re so nicely experiencing just as soon as I got back here.
So here’s your
quick recap of the past couple of weeks, in photo/summary format. Settle in – this is a long one.
Christmas in Paris seems like a fairytale. To be fair, it is totally gorgeous. Though the weather was oddly warm (same at home, it seems) it was still festive. Frenchman and I were headed to his brother’s house just north of Paris, but not before having a little mini-Christmas of our own.
In France, Christmas Eve is the bigger event compared to Christmas Day in the U.S. We got to Saint-Germain-en-Laye after hardly eating all day in preparation for the huge meal to come. This was a good decision.
There were snacks, and drinks, and then a first appetizer, and then a second appetizer, and then the huge main meal, and more drinks, and bread and more bread, and cheese. And, of course, dessert! We each got our own individual tiny Bûche de Noël. It was adorable (and delicious). No pictures, sadly, but use your imagination (similar to the baby bûche above, which I was able to hold off from eating long enough to snap a photo).
It was all super delicious, and we left decidedly full to spend the night at a hotel around the corner as his parents’ new house nearby was too paint-fumed to support a night’s sleep.
We made our way back to Christmas Central the next morning to find the most enormous pile of presents I have ever seen. Frenchman’s nephews are 3 and 1 respectively, and couldn’t even begin to appreciate the number of gifts they had to open. While they could easily have kept half the gifts for next year and no one would have noticed, I must admit that the kid in me was SO EXCITED to see a literal mountain of brightly wrapped presents spilling out from under the tree.
We spent the day snacking on tasty brioche for breakfast, watching little kids unwrap their toys, and then eating even more food in another multi-course (though less formal) meal capped off with yet another gorgeous dessert – this time a citrusy ice cream cake.
The week between Christmas and New Year’s is always weird. Half the population is on vacation, the half that is working is …”working” and all you really want to do is hang out in sweats and eat leftover holiday goodies.
Frenchman and I used this time to go to our local Mairie (city hall) to start getting our paperwork in order to get married in France. 🙂 That’s a whole post (or seven) in and of itself, so I won’t go into the paperwork stuff just yet. Just suffice it to say it’s insanely complicated, difficult, and overwhelming and stay tuned for the full write-up sometime soon.
Shortly before New Year’s Eve, as many of you probably heard, they announced that Paris’ celebration would be subdued. Not cancelled, but toned down to show respect and solemnity after the attacks in November. Obviously understandable, but I won’t deny I was disappointed as “New Year’s in Paris!” was a thing I had been excited about since the first mention of moving.
We planned ourselves a nice dinner at home rather than trying to go out anywhere, with all the bells and whistles (fancy foie gras-stuffed tiny chickens, bacon-wrapped date appetizers, fancy desserts from the boulangerie across the street – the whole shebang) including not one, but two bottles of champagne. Go big or go home, right?
After dinner, we packed up and took ourselves down to the Champs Elysees to check out the festivities. As part of the adjusted plans for the evening, instead of fireworks they would be showing a short video splashed across the Arc de Triomphe and displayed on large screens all down the street to avoid a large crowd jammed at one end. We were pleased to go through two separate police security checks as we made our way through, checking coats and purses and everything. Security was obviously high, but so were spirits as even the police joked with people that they’d only let them through if they shared their champagne.
It was a fun night, albeit relatively short. And as we walked home from the 8th arrondissement to the 16th to the 7th and finally the 15th where we live, it was really amazing to see Paris through such a festive lens and know that that’s where I live.
We started off the New Year with a brunch of mimosas and praline brioche. Not a bad start, I think.
From there, we started hustling to get all sorts of documentation in order for our marriage dossier for the Mairie before I had to head home. Burying the lede, I know, but the fact is I had to head home to Boston the 10th of January. Remote work was coming to an end and my passport was turning into a pumpkin.
But I’ll wrap this up before this gets much longer, and tell you about some good food and good friends that kicked off the New Year another time.