Christmas in Paris

Christmas Tree at Notre Dame Cathedral
Christmas Tree at Notre Dame Cathedral

The year is winding down – it’s Christmas time in Paris. We’ve just returned from a couple weeks in the US. I visited my mom and brothers in Illinois, and Brenda visited her mom in Spokane. My brother Chris organized an early Christmas dinner at his house in Pekin, Illinois – we even had some snow. Then we looked at more Christmas lights than most towns have – many many lights. Back in Poulsbo we visited as many friends as we could fit into a weekend and saw lots of Christmas decorations. We also saw the dentist. Now we’re back in Paris and it feels like home.

Perhaps you want to know what Christmas in Paris is like. Our apartment looks pretty Spartan. We have a 6 inch paper Christmas tree with LED lights that flicker like candles and some snow flakes pasted to the window panes. There’s a light strip in the corner that we can turn different colors, and perhaps we can light a bunch of candles to create more atmosphere. I personally don’t know about any presents – maybe some will turn up. Though our apartment decorations may not sound festive, we’ve been doing most of our celebrating outside of our home.

Christmas dinner at La Cuisine
Christmas dinner at La Cuisine

The day after our return from the US, we went to a cooking class to learn to prepare some traditional French Christmas fare – Carpaccio de Saint-Jacques à l’Huile de Truffe, Caille farcie au Foie Gras with Sauce au Porto, Purée de Panais et Poêlée de Champignons Sauvages, and Mousse Chocolat Blanc et Citron Vert with Mangue Rôti and Biscuit Cacao. So that’s sliced scallops, a deboned quail stuffed with foie gras and port reduction sauce, a mixture of wild mushrooms in a sauce and a parsnip puree, and dessert of white chocolate mousse served in a chocolate biscuit with roasted mango. After dinner was prepared, we got to eat it, and was it good! Every event we’ve been to a La Cuisine has been a hit – we always look forward to it.

Buche de Noel cake, a traditional chocolate roll cake for Christmas
Buche de Noel cake, a traditional chocolate roll cake for Christmas

Brenda went back the following day to learn how to make Bûche de Noël, a traditional French chocolate roll cake. The cake included meringue mushrooms as decoration, chocolate génoise for rolling, cherry syrup for soaking, chocolate cream for filling, and chocolate ganache for frosting. She brought her completed cake home, and we just finished eating it. Yum!

Tomorrow we have an invitation to celebrate Christmas Eve with the family of our good friend Catherine, who lives outside the city in Nogent Sur-Marne. She already let us know that we would need to take a cab home early Christmas morning. We are excited to be able to celebrate with her, her husband Jacques, and their family in this normally family only dinner and party.

Paris is a city of neighborhoods, so there isn’t a single downtown area with a mass concentration of decorations. Instead there are many areas with a few streets of decoration clumped together. We’ve put together a photo slide show of some of the decorations we’ve seen over the past month or so.

That’s our Christmas for this year. We hope that wherever you are, you have a happy and wonderful holiday. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Hugh Nelson and Brenda Prowse

See our slide show of Paris Christmas Decorations.


Add Yours
  1. Jan Harrison

    I love that Paris now feels like home! So glad you could come home to touch base–though sorry about the reason–and very glad you made it “home” for the holidays. Merry Christmas to you both, and may the new year bring you more French adventures.

  2. Kathryn

    Bon Natale….. Feliz Navidad, Mele Kalikimaka, Got Jul and MERRY CHRISTMAS (sorry, there isn’t a Saudi equivalent!!) from Riyadh. Love your photos and all the fun you are having! Hope to see you back in Poulsbo sometime (soon?, we’ll be back in May!!)

    xoxoox Kathryn and Doug

  3. Jeanne

    I recognize that accordion player! I think I even have a photo of the two of us. (does that make me sound like a real tourist, or what!)
    We’ve only been back for a couple of months, but if we suddenly come into money, a plane ticket to Paris will be the first thing we buy!
    Thanks so much for sharing !
    Joyeux Noel!


  4. Karl Osheller

    Loved your Xmas letter. Here is ours::
    The Ostheller Year 2012
    Pauline and Karl Ostheller

    Dear Friends . . . we are in the final stages of finishing off the year 2012. Our Lions Christmas party is coming up and the First Lutheran Church choir has its last rehearsal Friday with concert to follow on Sunday. Karl got in the spirit of the season last week and put up the tree and outside lights and decorations while Pauline made batches of cookies for the various Christmas events that we attend.

    Now a review of our major events for 2012: We did not take any big trips this year and spent most of our time doing projects for our Lions Club. The major Poulsbo Lions event this year was doing two spaghetti feeds with profits going to the North Kitsap Schools Foundation on which Karl is a board member. The other major project we work on yearly is the Camp Leo camp for children with diabetes. Our program keeps expanding and this year we had 150 campers over two weeks with an elementary camp, a middle school camp, and a high school age camp. The camp went from July 15 until July 23. Karl is the registrar for the camp and Pauline was the volunteer coordinator and did a multitude of other projects during the week including the group pictures we send out to every camper family and sponsoring organization. Karl also completed his Lions year as the MD19 LEO club chairman which had him making presentations at numerous Lions clubs and visiting LEO clubs. LEO clubs are school age community service clubs sponsored by a Lions club. We also volunteered at the ADA (American Diabetes Assoc.) conference in Seattle, boxed and sold Fuji apples for Camp Leo, and attended the Bonney Lake Lions “Death by Chocolate” dinner and auction which we really enjoyed.

    Here in Poulsbo, Pauline works weekly with several ladies at the church to make quilts for LWR (Lutheran World Relief). She also keeps busy taking care of grandkids when called upon. Most recently when grandson Benjamin needed some hospital time due to his CF condition.

    The Poulsbo Lions Club continues to work on boardwalks in Fish Park as the city has added two more parcels to the park. Karl, who is on the Fish Park Steering Committee, enjoys these kind of projects and makes sure that he is involved.

    Other events that happened included the Ostheller reunion in Fairfield over Flag day where a lot of Osthellers gathered to remember their roots. Prairie Appreciation Days with the Hansen family on May 12 out of Little Rock. Oysterfest with KW Ostheller and family in Shelton where a lot of good seafood was consumed.

    Wishing you all a joyous Christmas season and a prosperous New Year. Kung Hei Fat Choy as we would say in good ol’ Hong Kong. Come visit us in the great Northwest when you can. With all our Love. . .
    Karl and Pauline Ostheller

  5. Ardis Morrow

    ‘thanks again” seems so inadequate. I enjoy your messages so very much. Vicariously enjoying your cooking classes and
    looking forward to hearing about the Christmas dinner at your friends. Must include much good wine if you must plan to
    take a cab home.

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