Don’t complain about a full email inbox. Last year, Père Noël (Santa Claus) received around 91,000 emails once the season opened. And it is that time again. Madame and Père Noël’s post office opened November 9. This year, you can email or send a colourful paper letter. Get out the crayons and colourful ideas. The secretariat is part of la Poste France. The elves are working in Libourne in the Gironde region. According a LaDepche.fr, 1.2 million children from over 140 countries wrote paper wish letters addressed to Père Noël”.
Two events will effect somebody this latter part of 2017. Planning on the Champs-Elysées Christmas market? Stuck in traffic? It’s like a soap opera or a custody fight in a divorce. Whose side will you be on?
Every year Christmas markets attract 30 million people visitors in France. Fifteen million of those visit one or more of the 250 chalets along the Champs-Elysées for the Paris Christmas market. If you are stuck in traffic this week, the carnival operators are conducting an “escargot” (snail) slowing down and blocking traffic with their semi trucks on the expressways. They want to set up their chalets on the Champs-Elysées.
A chance Estonian Internet encounter in table arts gave me an idea: Visit a professional trade show for the first time. Arro Keraamika arranged a pass for me and off to the exhibition halls in Paris Nord Villepinte I went. Originally my quest was to find all the products Made in France. In eight giant halls that was a bit too overwhelming a task! I changed my focus to tableware that you keep on your wall as art, use it for dining, put it in the dishwasher and then back up on the wall.
“A Taste of Paris, A History of the Parisian Love Affair with Food” is a fun book in David’s style. David combines history, travelogue and a personal quest. David’s quest this time: “What is it about the history of Paris that has made it a food lover’s paradise?” You can follow his Paris food seduction from 53 BC to the present. Bringing Paris food history alive, David presents lots of written culinary activity between the 1300s and 1792 (end of the Ancien Régime) with all the King Louis’s, their chefs and the chefs’ cookbooks. David takes us back to the barbarian Parisiis squatting, eating with no tableware and demonstrates how the Romans were the more elegant diners and knew how to entertain and cook refined meals. In “Taste” food origin myths are dispelled.
Bring Home France on rue de Birague in the Marais offers unique Paris and French souvenirs designed by a street artist, graphic designers, fashion and home designers. Some products are made by long-standing French firms in Gien, Limoges, by Duralex and Laulhère-France.
In the store and for shopping online they have a wide selection of products ranging from gastronomy and jewels to fashion, decoration and toys. Nathalie Crouzet tells you some stories and legends behind some of the souvenirs in my first video story.
The Musée des Arts Décoratifs celebrates the 70th anniversary of the creation of the House of Dior until January 7, 2018 in a lavish and comprehensive exhibition, Christian Dior, Designer of Dreams (Couturier du Rêve). Whether or not you are a fashionista, if you love history, fashion (retro and future), fabric, intricate beading, art, interiors, photography, etc. this is a rich exhibit that I can recommend. The Dior Héritage collection and works of art are on loan from museums in France, United States and England. Most of the works featured in exhibit are from the Dior Héritage collection and the first time they are shown in Paris.
Update for Paris Plages: Clémence from the Seine-Saint-Denis Office of Tourism contacted me with information in English about the Basin de la Villette section of Paris Plages. Paris Plages takes place in two locations every year: along the Seine (Parc Rives de Seine) and in the Bassin de la Vilette. Bassin de la Villette is the new hoping part of town in the northeastern section of Paris.
Paris Plages began July 8 and continues to Sunday September 3. As they say on the Mairie de Paris’ webpage: “What would summer be without Paris Plages”.
For maps of where to go swimming (baignait) what’s happening along the basin and what’s to eat and drink (rafraîchir et grignoter) visit Que Faire à Paris and about river shuttles, “Bals pop” (popular dance balls), etc. along the Ourcq.
When an emergency arises in Paris or you want to report a problem to the police, dial “17”. Today a security guard at the Banque de France helped me after an incident at the BNP Paribas Beaumarchais, Bastille. After speaking with the police on the guard’s phone, I noticed the number on his screen “17”. I will never forget that number and used it about an hour later. By coincidence the same three teenagers who hassled me earlier at the ATM inside the BNP Paribas were leaving the line one metro train the same time as I walked off. I dialed “17”.