It was crazy cold after getting back from London. We woke up to beautiful sunrises, but day after day the view out the window was of what I began to call the frozen tundra. It is rather unusual in our area to have much snow at all, let alone snow that sticks to the ground for several days. The nightly news showed images of the freeways around Paris with traffic completely halted and passengers forced to sleep in their cars. Some furniture stores allowed people who were stranded to use their mattresses and couches. One group of kindly souls went from car to car delivering hot cocoa to those trapped. Weather was the top news story for most of the week.
A frozen landscape
We had no need to travel, so the snow and cold didn't bother us so much. We built fires to stay cozy while we began to decorate the house for the holidays. This year we used bay leaves to create our various swags and wreaths. Pines are not readily available to us, even in the forest, whereas bay trees grow tall in the garden.
Wreaths on doors and gates
Bay leaf swag
Bay wreaths sprayed with silver
We actually have clients for Christmas eve and evening as well as having our local family. New Year's eve we will host a feast in the dining room for a large group of Parisians. I want the house to look very festive.
An ornament bouquet
I enjoy the holidays tremendously and have been collecting ornaments for many years. It's lovely to live in a home that offers me the opportunity to use them all.
Bay leaves sprayed gold, some of the birds from my collection and green glass balls from the Czech Republic
Next week we will be in Germany visiting friends and immediately afterward the clan will arrive, so this was our only week to get everything organized.
The doors into the studio
The village seems to be on the same schedule. On Saturday a huge tree was deposited on the Place. A crane and about ten locals, including Gilles and the Mayor, maneuvered it into place. There is a special base embedded in the pavement to receive the gigantic tree.
Hoisting the village Christmas tree
In years past I have been less than thrilled with the arrangement of lights, as they are placed somewhat haphazardly and don't necessarily please the eye. I admit to being a bit of a Christmas tree snob, but that is because my mother was very firm about how to arrange the lights and ornaments and especially the tinsel. I remember one year when my father came home with blinking lights. My mother burst into tears. It seemed so crass to her traditional sensibilities. She was very serious about her holiday tree aesthetics, even though in other areas of life she was much more casual. The lights on the village tree blink on and off too. I don't find that particularly cheery. All in all, however, the lights look better this season than in years past.
Bright lights, small village
Saturday also brought a respite from the intensely chilly weather. It was almost like spring, with the sun shinning brightly and the temperature warm enough to melt every last trace of snow. Rick went out to rake up all the wisteria leaves that had fallen with the first hard frost. The vines are practically nude now, revealing the morning dove nest just below our apartment windows. I suppose they'll be back in the spring to reclaim it when the wisteria can once again provide adequate privacy.
A very welcome blast of sunshine
A promise of spring