Wednesday, December 21, 2011

baby, it’s cold outside

We skipped church on Sunday.  Annabelle still wasn’t in top form, so we figured we’d do the other parents a favor and not infect their children with whatever she had.

DSC_6160 this is not our church- it’s st. germain de pres, the oldest church in paris 

By lunchtime, we could no longer resist the temptation of a cloudless blue sky and bright winter sunlight streaming through our windows, though we were unprepared for the biting cold which greeted us outside.  I suppose it would have been too much to ask for sun, blue sky and warmth in December.

Near our apartment, we were treated to an impromptu jazz session, compliments of four brave souls with undoubtedly frozen fingers. 

i’ve got my little love to keep me warm

For lunch, I was craving steak like nobody’s business, so we made our way to Cafe de Flore, a Parisian institution where I was certain they could satisfy my hankering for steak frites (steak with fries).  We situated ourselves at one of the cozy tables in the glass enclosed section that wraps around the front of the cafe and perused the menu.  No steak.  We instead settled on a croque madame (sliced brioche-style bread with melted gruyere cheese, ham, and an egg on top) and a sandwich au jambon (ham sandwich on a baguette) for Annabelle. 

cafe de flore:  not a steak in sight

We people watched while people watched us as we sipped our coffee and Annabelle doodled in her mini cahier (notebook).  It was a Sunday-worthy activity, to say the least.  On a mildly amusing side note, our server bore an uncanny resemblance to Daniel Craig.  Unfortunately, I was not stealthy enough or brave enough to take his picture.

DSC_6164  la petite artiste

By Sunday, we had graduated from jetlag tired to a different kind of tired altogether.  It’s the sort of tired that creeps in when recovering from the daunting task of moving across an ocean and facing head-on, the daily challenges of life in a foreign land.  Fortunately, this feeling of exhaustion is countered by the sheer thrill of it all.  We are weary, but charmed by our new life in this grand city.

DSC_6167  still tired

After our steak-free lunch, we did some window shopping.

DSC_6189 this is harder than it looks

DSC_6191 she’s intently counting the many nesting dolls in this impressive set

DSC_6193 ordering macarons from the famed tea salon, laduree (chocolate for naud, salted caramel for me and rose for annabelle)

We had an actual destination in mind on that sunny Sunday afternoon.  We were in search of another baby tree, this time for Annabelle.  The first one bit the dust before we moved to temporary apartment #2.  Our official tree was already up, but we had another tradition to adhere to.  Beginning when she was just shy of two years old, Annabelle has always had a little Christmas tree of her own.  She has her own ornaments and decorates the tree herself.  It has always been in her bedroom and it seems that with every passing year, the tree and Annabelle both grow larger.  Not this year.  This year, we were back to square one.

The floral shop where we bought our first petite tree was all sold out but I had spied some prime candidates near Notre Dame and that’s where we were headed.  Along the way, we stopped in several pet stores with doggies in the window.  It took great restraint to leave without a puppy in arms, but our apartment is pet-free and I’m pretty sure it’s a bad idea to buy a dog from a pet store.  There’s no telling for sure, but there may be a chien Parisienne (Parisian dog) in our future…

After diligently scouting out the smallest of small trees that the nursery had to offer, we came up with just two pathetic specimens.  A lady working at the nursery suggested using lots of ornaments to fill the gaps while another fellow offered flocking, which is quite popular here (the trees are sprayed from head to toe with fake, cotton-like ‘snow’ in white, pink or neon red, sometimes with glitter). 

It seemed as though we would have ourselves a Charlie Brown tree when, voila, the perfect tree appeared!  With two small trees instead of one big one, Naud was relieved of the yearly behemoth task of lugging an eight-foot tree from car to house and from house to curb and we had ourselves a double dose of Christmas cheer.  Hooray!

the perfect pint-sized tree

DSC_6197  accidental artsy shot of naud with a tree sprouting from his head

Back at home, we spent a cozy evening, trimming Annabelle’s dainty tree.  Naud played holiday DJ and kept Christmas carols on a constant rotation.  Dinner consisted of epicerie fare (an epicerie is a deli-type grocery with prepared dinner items), including the most expensive prawns we have ever eaten, thanks to my forgetting to check the price.  We’re talking 78 Euros/kilo expensive (that’s about $40/lb.)!  We escaped with just 20 Euros in prawn damage, which fit nicely in a plastic tub the size of a half pint of sour cream.  They were absolutely delicious and we will never buy them again. 

DSC_6208 trimming the tree

Many of you have been asking for photos of our apartment and I don’t intend to disappoint.  Here are some snapshots of our first Paris home, all dressed up in its Christmas finery. 

Home truly is where the heart is.


DSC_6210 annabelle’s petite sapin (christmas tree) graces the entryway bureau

 DSC_6214 the view from the entry into our living room

DSC_6220 our beloved nativity scene rests atop the dining room buffet

 DSC_6215 the view from living room to dining room

our grand little tree


  1. Sarah, your posts are wonderful and once again fueling that fire I carry to spend more time in that fabulous city. After our most recent trip in November I have started my "Paris apartment" fund - which will take me approximately 184 years to raise enough to buy something!
    Now, back to reading more posts!

  2. Kimberly,

    I'm so glad you are enjoying my blog! I hope you will come visit before 184 years are up...

    Live for the moment!

    xo Sarah