“A “”Bush de Noel”" (not to be confused with a “”Buche de Noel”")”

Christmas in Montmartre, Photo by Dolores Lilley

A “Bush de Noel” (not to be confused with a “Buche de Noel”)

Parler Paris Nouvellettre®
Your taste of life in Paris and France
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

You’re thinking about Christmas, right? You’re either in the midst of traveling to meet up with friends and family, or hunkering down to just enjoying it all at home. Those who are traveling are having less than smooth rides to their destinations thanks to inclement weather (the Eurostar is still not up to speed running a limited service paralyzing thousands of passengers).

The supermarkets here are overflowing with party-making goodies: foie gras, boxes of chocolates, champagne, smoked salmon and sparkly candles. The stores are open unusually late and the flower shops are filled with poinsettia and orchids.

Yep, it’s Christmas in Paris, all right.

Tourism in the City of Light is at an all time high between Christmas and New Year’s. While the locals are heading to their family homes in the countryside or making their own trek to foreign destinations, North Americans are landing to the city that takes the Christmas spirit seriously. Of course, New York does a really good job of that, too, and as it turns out, many cities are vying for attention to outdo each other with the symbol of Christmas: the tree.

Mexico City boasts of the tallest artificial Christmas tree at 295 feet (90 meters) tall made of steel wires erected on Reforma Avenue. Not far behind is Jordan’s 85-foot-tall (26 meters) artificial tree, the tallest in the Middle East, in the predominantly Christian city of Fuhais in the west. Idaho is claiming the tallest living Christmas tree in Coeur d’Alene at the Coeur d’Alene Resort at 162 feet tall (49 meters), which includes a light show of 1.5 million lights and a guaranteed snow shower. It’s twice as high as the one in Rockefeller Center, but a tree in Oregon is almost as high — 156 feet tall (47.5 meters). Not bad.

I haven’t been able to find out exactly how high the live tree is at Galeries Lafayette, but it’s almost reaches the top of the 33 meter high dome (108 feet). No matter, it’s a beauty.

I’ve never had a Christmas tree, although I had the pleasure of decorating one once at an office where I worked, but that was at least 35 years ago! The Jewish families that had them would call them “Hanukah Bushes,” just so they wouldn’t be seen as heretics, while alongside lighting the candles in their “Menorahs” for eight days.

My daughter complained she had been deprived all these years and for the first time in her young life, decided to erect a Hanukah Bush in her New York apartment. Or should we call it a “Bush de Noël?” (This is not to be confused with a “Bûche de

Noël” – a log cake!).

Of course, her ‘bush’ is not exactly ‘traditional’ — but what would you expect from a young heretic?

A la prochaine…and a very Merry Christmas!

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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There’s still time to give the gift of delicious, affordable dining in Paris!

Looking for a last minute gift idea for the Francophiles on your holiday shopping list? The Insider Paris Guide for Good Value Restaurants is filled with the best, most affordable restaurants throughout the City of Light. It is the first online restaurant guide for Paris, written and updated by Adrian Leeds.

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