Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Christmas tree saga


Like in many places that celebrate Christmas, French people decorate their homes with a Christmas tree (le sapin). Parisians are no exception but, of course, we have to adapt to our urban conditions... The fact that we have to carry them up to the apartment, find some room (the average size of an apartment in Paris is slightly less than 50 sq. meters - 164 538 sq. feet), the heat that makes them dry and lose their pine needles quickly... means that many people buy them at the last minute (as seen here today). When it is all over, it begins another issue. We either carry them all the way down the stairs again, or... throw them out of the window!

19 comments:

  1. What an incredible and fascinating life parisian people have !

    S-

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  2. I remember staggering up five flights of stairs about 11 years ago Eric, with my first Parisian christmas tree - thanks for the memory! After the festivities I well remember dragging it back down those same five flights, banging it on all the walls and railings, and this was back in the days when they hadn't organically modified the things so they don't lose their needles any more, sooo, I left a trail of about 10 billion pine needles all the way down the stairs, not to mention the other few million I kept finding in the appartment for the next few months.

    About yesterday's cobblestones, funny you should mention that - I took an interesting shot in front of Notre Dame the other day - must dig it out - a real historical oddity involving the traces on the ground of one of Paris' main streets about a metre wide! Great Sunday and great shooting here in Paris where the sun is shining!

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  3. I didn't realize exactly how small Parisian apartments could be. The Parisians must be masters of space efficiency to include a Christmas tree during the holidays. I'm intrigued by the image of Christmas trees being tossed out the window and onto the sidewalk (or directly into les poubelles?).

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  4. I never would have believed this "tossing the tree out the window" unless I had done it myself. Of course, you usually have a friend standing downstairs making sure you don't hit someone. It seems that generally there are more Christmas decorations up this year (Damien will love to comment on that one), but it helps make a gloomy winter a little bit nicer.

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  5. Hello Eric, thanks for leaving me a message. Yes I adore your blog a lot, as I adore Paris, and you really take wonderful photos, capturing intricate moments of this sophisticated city!

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  6. Isn't that what the end of the year decorations are supposed to be for anyway (celebration of Winter solstice)?

    I've never personally seen anyone tossing a tree out the window but I admit that the idea is rather appealing when you consider the narrow stairs and matchbox-size of many apartments in the buildings of Paris (sans ascenseur, of course!) What I remember sounds more like what SAB described.

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  7. I just bought my Blue Spruce Christmas tree yesterday (for 35 dollars at the local nursery, which grows them - it had just been cut.) How much can you expect to pay for a natural Christmas tree in Paris?

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  8. Between 10€ and 200€.
    Depending on the tree.

    A

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  9. Yes Sab, what you describe soudns really familiar! But now they invented 1)Christmas trees bags, 2) "Nordman" trees, that keep their pine needles for more than a month.

    Which leads me to answer Elisabteh : a 1,60 meter Nordman tree costs about 35 to 40 euros. A "normal" tree is cheaper, about 25 euros at the supermarket.

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  10. Gee Eric, I know that Paris apartments are small, but I think you forgot to "square" the feet in your conversion. Still not huge, it works out that 50 sq. metres is about 538 sq. feet.

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  11. Michael you're right. Thank you. I changed it in the caption. See, La reveuse, it's not THAT small! It's me not being able to convert surfaces properly!

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  12. Michael, I must say I'm very, very, very disapointed by your acknowledgment of "tossing the tree out the window". Do you do this only with Christmas tress ? I'll remember to cross the street when walking in your neighborhoud anyway !…
    ;o)

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  13. Well, Im sorry to disappoint you but I just got one last thursday, and its a fake one... I got it for 6 euros!
    Its like 1,2m, perfect for my average parisian appartment, and not that ugly when decorated.
    Moreover, I can feel happy to know I didnt kill any tree for that celebration, and that it will be soon back in his box, till next year...

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  14. Hi Eric!
    Just so you know, bloglines doesn't recognize the cross-out-- so I thought you meant 168, 538 square feet. Oh la la!!!

    I didn't kill a tree, myself, but got a potted one that can be replanted. Dumb thing is still losing all its needles, despite the regular waterings. But it does make the place more cheerful, and smells so divine. :)

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  15. Sounds to me as if a Bonsai specialist could make a fortune in Paris at this time of year!

    Well, I was going to blog a pic of the place I got my tree, which was a quite spectacular display (and, a 2m Nordman for £20/30€) but when I asked them if I could take a pic, after pushing the decision up the line two times the uber-manager said "ooo....that'd be difficult". OK, I thought, I can understand that - no telling when there might be a terrorist strike on a garden centre. No skin off my nose. So, no tree emporium for blogdom. To make up, I've posted a pic of my tree on "My Other Stuff"

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  16. Hello! I was enjouing looking at all your pictures and suddenly who did I see with a christmas tree in his arms? A good friend of mine! We met at work a few months ago and now we're in touch quite often. Of course I told him he was a star in Paris, it made him laugh of course!

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  17. http://www.celtic-spas.co.ukStevie from http://www.celtic-spas.co.uk spa specialist.

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