Let me start out by saying that I am incredibly shocked by this weather that we are having in the north of France. Last year, at this time, it was snowy, slightly miserable, and freezing cold. This time around, I am looking out at a blue sky, 45 degrees, and no snow. Although the snow can be beautiful, it can also be quite a hassle when it comes to travel plans. My brother arrives in a week (AH!) and we have not yet had any snow. I’m praying it stays that way so that we can travel peacefully by train… as long as my beloved Frenchies don’t go on strike!
The ambiance of the Christmas season in France is similar to that in the United States, but it is presented in a different way. When I think of Christmas back home, I think of excitement, lots of shopping, family, food, pictures with Santa, and decorations at home (as well as at the malls). In France, there is definitely an air of excitement as well. I went to Lille four times last week and each time, the city was packed with people out to do their Christmas shopping. Walking in the streets, I felt like I was in a mosh pit; each time someone would move, the whole crowd would move as well. Since it took us several minutes to move not very far, at least we had time to take in all the beautiful decorations and lights that adorn the streets and buildings in the city. French cities, unlike my hometown in the states, go all-out when it comes to decorating for Christmas. Garlands, lights, bows, and trees are seen left, right, up, and down. Everywhere!