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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Thoughts from abroad... 1st of 4

A few days in Paris, the usual delights and a few novelties, and then back to the news that TDC thinks museums are superfluous. Strewth, what is wrong with these people! It may be unfair to compare Ramsgate to the City of Lights, but the municipal pride in Paris pervades every atom of the city - pride in its history, its culture, its architecture and even its shopping. Oh well, focus on the good stuff. Paris. Four days of lovely...

And a good word for South-Eastern trains - going to get our tickets to Ashford, the guy on the counter asked if we were travelling Eurostar, and then beamed with delight as he said it was free. Eurostar have a new deal with South-Eastern to waive travel fares to and from Ashford and Ebbsfleet, which is nice, but he seemed so pleased about it! And then the guard on the train was even more pleased. We airily waved our Eurostar tickets at him and got the response "Brilliant! Have a great trip!" and then carried on up the carriage being ridiculously cheerful to everyone, leaving a little slipstream of smiling passengers in his wake. Must be something in the water this week...

Paris christmas lights

Paris christmas lights

Paris christmas lights Paris has a serious approach to Christmas illuminations - the Champs Elysees were ablaze with lights, as were most areas of the city, with traders' associations in each arrondissement doing something special. We didn't have time to see many of them, but there was some serious outlay and effort.

More despatches to follow (I don't want to use up my limited reservoir of Parisian joy all at once). And as for the Grands Magasins - well Lafayette already has a head start with the amazing stained glass dome. Add a truly enormous tree and you're off... Mind you the crowds were every bit as bad as any large store on a Christmas shopping Saturday, certainly not improved by the fact that 25% of them (ok, and us as well) were just there to gape in awe at the building and the decorations, thus getting in the way of the dedicated shoppers. I'm not sure that gaping in awe happens too much at Westwood Cross, but the end result is quite similar - crowds and queues everywhere.

Around the Place Vendome (think of somewhere that makes Bond Street look really cheap and nasty!) there were elegantly understated displays on the windows of places like Cartier and Piaget, whilst nearby Hermes had a very slick display that looked a little like a disaster in a sugar icing warehouse (but in a good way, see the picture below). More about Parisian retail later, along with two other exciting topics (brace youself): arguably Paris' loveliest garden and one of the grandest Nativity tableaux you'll ever see. Pop back and see the rest soon... it'll just take me a day or two to sort it all out.

Paris christmas lights

3 comments:

Eastcliff Richard said...

These continentals seem to go in for steroid-enhanced Christmas trees. There's currently one almost as big as that at the Berlin Hauptbanhoff, decorated in millions of Swarowski crystals!

ZumiWeb said...

I can't wait to pop down the high street and see Ramsgate's version. From what I remember of last year's it was just a touch smaller...

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Hampstead lights look nice but most suburban shopping areas around have a few coloured light bulbs.