Joyeux Noël from Montmartre, where church bells have been ringing all morning.
As the sun went down yesterday afternoon at 4:30 p.m., I counted not one, but three lost-looking men in the lingerie department of Le Printemps, all wearing the universal panicked expression of guys who have left holiday shopping to the last minute. Outside the department store, an enterprising youth was doing a brisk business in roasted chestnuts, and a corner store specializing in inexpensive brick-a-brack was packed with people buying eleventh-hour decorations and bougies (candles).
As I made my way home at 6 p.m., the lines outside the better boulangeries snaked out the doorways and onto the streets, and nearly all of the baguettes and bûches de Noël were taken. At 8 p.m., the sound of a Champagne cork popping reverberated from the apartment across the way to ours, and we responded in kind. A very happy holiday indeed.
Bonnes fêtes, everyone!