Sunday, December 25, 2011

christmas time in the city

Our first gift of the day came in the form of sleep.  Annabelle awoke very early but wisely decided to go back to bed.  She woke again two hours later, refreshed and eager to make up for lost time. 

does a smaller tree give off the illusion of more presents?  we think yes.

Annabelle’s first stop was the kitchen window, where her stocking had been hung with care.  On the floor, a plate scattered with cookie crumbs and a drained glass of French milk… Pere Noel (Father Christmas)  had come at last!

DSC_6349  was the dolls’ height order intentional?

Ever the strategist, Annabelle neatly arranged her dolls in advance, before joining them on the sofa to survey the contents of her stocking.  She soon moved on to bigger presents tucked beneath the tree.  This was the year of dolls and their ensembles.  Annabelle’s sheer delight was contagious and spent most of the day ambling about with big dopey grins on our faces.

DSC_6352 one happy kid

We may have eaten our weight in chocolate, this Christmas.  We didn’t have much time to shop for gifts for one another.  Naud has been busy working and Annabelle has been sick; then there’s that little detail about us moving our family across the ocean.  Suffice it to say, we skimped on grown-up presents.  Neither of us minded.  We at least managed to get our hands on some good chocolate, so there was that. 

At lunchtime, we nibbled hors d’oeuvres and sipped champagne while Annabelle hosted a dolly tea party.  Miniature tomato tarts, baby quiches and thumb-sized croque monsieurs proved the perfect size for the occasion.

christmas tea party

The afternoon was spent in true Christmas style: Annabelle played with her new toys and we, the weary parents, lounged excessively.  When the rumbling of our bellies announced impending mealtime, we ate French cheese and I prepared a simple yet elegant Christmas dinner for three.  There was duck breast with espelette (sweet pepper) sauce, spicy roasted sweet potatoes and caramelized brussels sprouts with pancetta and shallots.  The dinner was a perfect blend of comfort and decadence.

DSC_6374  not too shabby

As tempting as it was to settle in for the night, we unanimously decided to change out of our pajamas and go for an evening stroll.  We were so glad we did.

DSC_6386 crossing the seine on christmas night

DSC_6387 christmas night at the louvre, photo by naud

It was almost balmy as we made our way toward rue de Rivoli.  We may or may not have had destination in mind…

DSC_6391 mini arc de triomphe, photo by naud

We did, in fact, have a plan.  We were headed for the giant Ferris wheel at the far end of Jardin des Tuileries.  We couldn’t think of a better day than Christmas to ride to the tippy top, so we crossed our fingers and said a little prayer that it would be open…

It was!

DSC_6406 this could be anywhere, but it’s at the tippy of the jardin des tuileries ferris wheel (annabelle is hanging on to my arm for dear life)

DSC_6411 what we saw from way up there

DSC_6409 two happy campers and one eiffel tower

It was late when we headed for home.  Annabelle was getting squirrelly and asked is she might climb on a statue in the park.  Despite the fact that it was probably totally against the rules, we let her do it.  She thought the whole thing was hysterical.  So did we when we took a closer look at the photo.

DSC_6414 nudity is literally in your face in france

There was only one thing left to do and we did it.  We had our buche de noel and ate it, too.  We think Marie Antoinette would have approved.

DSC_6419 there was a dainty meringue mushroom on top, until somebody ate it…

We hope your Christmas was as merry as ours! 

Joyeux Noel!

xoxo Sarah, Naud and Annabelle


  1. Thank you, Mari!

    I loved seeing your tree, too! It hearkens back to another era, with its refined simplicity- Were those real candles?! How fun to connect with Tracy- I had no idea that she, too, had moved abroad!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  2. I think I should not read your blog. You already look French and the pics and stories make me want to go back to Europe:)

    Kicki in Seattle

  3. Hi Kicki,

    Read at your own risk. I cannot be responsible for subsequent longings for Europe. ;)

    xo Sarah