Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Our first cold Christmas (updated)

This was our first northern hemisphere Christmas and both the boys were able to join us in Paris to celebrate. Michael flew in from Perth to stay for 3 months and Ryan flitted across the ditch to stay for two weeks. We were really looking forward to having both the boys with us and to experience the Christmas markets and the traditional Christmas dinner in a temperature more conducive to eating roast turkey with all the trimmings.
Plenty of ham knuckles on display
Well we certainly got our fair share of the Parisian Christmas markets with Kevin and I visiting them on the Champs Elysees 4 times. Not that we actually bought anything on the stalls apart from food and mulled wine. Mulled wine is perfect for this cold weather but it really takes your breath away with the warm spices coupled with the alcohol. Ham is really big over here but it is not like the ham we get back home where you can glaze it. The jambon here is like proscuito so it is difficult to eat a lot. We actually bought a whole leg at the supermarket but couldn't eat it all as it was so salty. So we ended up giving it one one of our French boating neighbours for their dog. they thought we were crazy throwing away such a "delicacy".


Markets in front of Cathedral
We also went to the Christmas markets at Rouen - not specifically for the markets but as a pleasant day trip. It is the capital of Upper Normandy and is famous as being the town was Joan of Arc was executed (burnt at the stake). They now have a memorial to her in the old part of town. The Gros Horloge is an astronomical clock dating back to the 16th century, though the movement is considerably older (1389)
Gros Horlage

Giant snow dome under the Eiffel Tower
The other thing that is done really well in the northern hemisphere is the Christmas decorations on the street. Each town tries to out do its neighbour and each shop gets into the festive mood with amazing decorations.

Father Christmas Flies above the Champs Elysees

Skating rink near the Place de la Concorde
Christmas lights

The upside down Christmas tree in Galeries Lafayette is particularly good and is a drawcard to the store, along with the outdoor viewing gallery at the top of the building

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