Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Christmas in Paris, Part III

On Sunday, Jon and I headed out in the snow/drizzle mix to visit Bercy Village.  It's way east of us on the other side of the river, but I like going over there for two reasons: 1) It's very American in the way it's set up- shops and restaurants nestled in a cute little villagey atmosphere, and 2) The #14 train to get there is very modern, and it feels like we're on Space Mountain when we ride it- very cool. 

Once there, we split up for a while to do some shopping for each other, meeting at the Frog Pub for a pint.  While there, we heard a commotion out on the sidewalk and learned that it was caused by none other than... Pere Noel!!

Père Noel was not alone, however.  He had a friend with him, Le Méchant Père Fouettard.  "Méchant" means "mean" or "naughty," and Père Fouettard fit the bill exactly as he looked like a deranged, humpbacked pirate.

He was asking the kids if they'd done all their chores, and demanded the 7 times tables from a little 'un.  When the kid couldn't deliver the info, Père Fouettard grabbed him and told him he was going to take him away as an example to the other children.  The kid was terrified.  His father was cracking up.  The French-- what can I say? 

After leaving Bercy Village, we headed west to see the Christmas tree at Notre Dame.  On the way I took some pictures of the Left Bank from the Right.  It was a beautiful evening- clear and cold.


Notre Dame's display did not disappoint.  It was particularly striking because we arrived right at 6 pm-- just when the bells calling the faithful to evening mass began to ring.  Beautiful.


Hark how the bells,
sweet silver bells,
all seem to say,
throw cares away

Christmas is here,
bringing good cheer,
to young and old,
meek and the bold.

Ding dong ding dong
that is their song
with joyful ring
all caroling.


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