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The butcher, baker and in France the cheesemaker.
There is no indulgent boutique or overpriced deli. The new bio shop has given us more options but it is not exactly pleasure purchasing. Its all mung beans and rice milk.
The closest is probably the new kiddy toys shop which I discovered on the annual weekend of 'farmyard comes to Nanterre'.
A friend had rushed over like a child on Christmas morning squealing like one of the piglets oinking in the middle of the town square. I was mid-blog in front of the fire so not exactly in the mood for hot choc over cowpat.
After much persuasion however I agreed to brace the Baltic air to see a couple of chickens.
He was quite right.
It was rather festive. Festive in a Nanterre way. Xmas carols were replaced with disco tracks like YMCA. Sizzling spicy Merguez, vin chaud and vats of tartiflette lined the streets. Straw covered the
pavements. It was a definitely cleaner than the dog mess.
Maybe straw should be a regular thing.
There was Moroccan bric-a-brac for Xmas presents so that you could buy yet another solitaire game. Horses looked
on with boredom as kids fussed over them.
For many it was possibly the only time they got to touch farmyard animals so my cynicism started to dissolve.
We could not resist the new toy shop. Though the service was as usual fussily French. I wanted to shop and go in typical BritChick style - buy it, pay and get the hell out of there.
Of course everything needed wrapping with such care. The sales assistants were also affronted when I did not want the accompanying box with the
Us Brits like it as it comes. Less bother and aestheticism.
We then headed to the florist where we ordered our Christmas decorations. I wanted to replicate the Italian embassy experience and boldly asked for red peonies and jasmine in December. the burly florist winced. Summer flowers at the height of Winter.
We compromised on roses interspersed with holly. We also opted for a natural indoor set piece - fir, ivy, berries and yes the obligatory teddy and kitsch gold parcel.
We would then have the main big tree outside - a mini Rockefeller plaza no less. If it was cold enough we could throw ice on the ground and turn it into an ice rink.
We left bubbling over with excitement. Something magical was definitely in the air. For all the shimmer and twinkle of the grandiose Champs Elysees lights there is nothing like a real nativity feel, with its lowly shoppers, who watch their flocks by day.
peace harmony laughter and love
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