I was thinking the other day how the holiday season hits me and my fellow French expatriates hard. That's because December in France is just the most wonderful, magical time. The decoration, the lights, the spirit, the amazing food... not to mention our families. Sigh...
Okay so this is it: French Christmas Spirit, Special Nostalgia Edition. For gorgeous pictures check out all the links. If you care about none of this and just want to win a copy of Hidden in Paris, skip to the end.
Carol Guilliot of Paris Breakfast has a wonderful article on Marron Glacés. Why can't they sell this in the US? I bet if Trader Joe's started to make them they'd be a stampede (with me at the bottom of the pile of bodies). Marrons Glacés are basically comfit chestnut. They are A-ma-zing. Like nothing you've ever eaten. I miss them so much...
From chestnut to chocolate, the Girls Guide to Paris has a well-written article on Paris and Chocolate. It's true that throughout France Christmas time means chocolate. Chocolate making is an art form and people give precious chocolate as gifts, and they are as prized as perfume. Who needs Chanel Number 5, all I want is eau de chocolat and a spray bottle.
Now that I'm trying my hands at veganism (going into my 3rd month --one day I should write about it. It's kind of nutty. As if my life wasn't complicated enough...), I read everything related to vegetarianism/veganism. Basically I'm looking for recipes that don't taste like a slice of cardboard with punishment in top. I could never do this in France I told myself. Not true, apparently. Bonjour Paris has an article about someone who is hard at work being a vegetarian in France, and ironically in Gascogne, the area of France known for food, foie gras and finding ways to turn every part of the pig into something you can stuff into your mouth.
And now, les champignons. If it wasn't for mushrooms this vegan thing of mine would honestly never work. The Best of Paris gives you great addresses to find wild mushrooms in Paris.
But one cannot live on Paris and food alone. You also need love. This is such a great article in HiP Paris about romantic places to take your sweetheart in Paris. If you don't have a special someone I think this article will inspire you to run to Paris and get yourself one.
Because you cannot live on food and love alone, you also need books, someone at Colleen's Paris wrote this fantastic article on Paris for lovers of literature: favorite cafés and hotels of authors past and present, book stores, and even writing workshops. This made me drool almost as much as the thought of marron glacés.
Yeah this is all very nice, you think, and now that you've made us ache for Paris, do you have any idea how to finance that trip? How about this article in International Living on how to get paid to take pictures of Paris?
The final word if you weren't convinced already, Prete moi Paris tells you why you should visit Paris in December. Paris in December is magical, special and all around delicious.
All this holiday spirit made me think I should create a giveaway for my novel Hidden in Paris. By leaving a comment below for the next ten days you are automatically entering the giveaway. (just make sure I can get in contact with you if you win) I will ask my cat dusty (or my kid) to draw a name and will mail you a signed copy of Hidden in Paris in time for Christmas.