Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Galette des Rois

La Fête des Rois, Feast of the Kings

Today is the feast of the Epiphanie (literally “revelation”) celebrating the travels of the three Magi, or Kings of the Orient, who followed a star to Bethlehem to visit Jesus a few days after the Nativity. French Christmas celebrations conclude with the Epiphanie, and with the consumption of vast quantities of galettes des Rois, like […]



Georges-de-La-Tour-Nativity

Merry Christmas!

Dear friends and readers, All my best wishes of a spiritual, peaceful and joyful holiday. As for me, I will brave the snows of this unusually harsh winter (yes, Paris and its region are still blanketed in white) to join my family for the occasion. I wish to share with you this beautiful Nativity by […]



Luigi-Loir-Paris-snow

Paris under the snow…

This year we did not even wait until December to find Paris and much of Northern France under a thick coat of snow. Traffic is totally gridlocked in and around the capital. This promises us a harsh winter, and a white Christmas! I love this very evocative painting by French artist Luigi Loir (late 19th-early […]



Meet Saint Nicholas

Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, born in the year 270 into a wealthy Greek family of modern-day Turkey. The veneration for his memory was such that his bones were stolen by adventurous sailors from his original tomb in the Church of Myra in 1087 and brought to Bari, in Italy, […]



Boucher winter sleigh ride

Marie-Antoinette’s sleigh rides

Christmas in the 18th century was not the holiday we know these days. Of course, the religious celebration of the holiday of the Nativity  of Christ was the same, but gifts, know as étrennes, were not exchanged until the 1st of January. Yet people liked to take advantage of the pleasures of the season. Marie-Antoinette, […]



Merry Christmas!

To illustrate this Christmas Eve post, Boucher’s The Light of the World. Boucher did not only treat light subjects, and this Nativity, with its subdued colors and peaceful atmosphere, is one of his more appealing works. See the expression on the face of the visiting child closest to Jesus. Here Boucher chose to emphasize the […]



Il est né le Divin Enfant (He is born the Divine Child)

One of the most beloved chants de Noël (Christmas carols) in France. The lyrics are mid-19th century, the music 17th century. I looked for the best versions on YouTube. First, a beautiful interpretation by a children’s choir, the Petits Chanteurs à la Croix de Bois. The tempo here is right (this carol is often sung […]



George Sand Charpentier

George Sand’s Christmas memories

George Sand is one of those novelists who enjoyed extraordinary fame and success during their lifetimes, only to become unfashionable posthumously. Let’s hope that this injustice will be repaired soon. It is about time to rediscover this great lady of French literature. In her Histoire de ma vie (“Story of My Life”) George Sand, whose legal name was […]



St Nicholas Gentile da Fabriano

Saint Nicholas, the true Santa Claus

The familiar images of Santa Claus or Père Noël have obscured the historical Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, whose feast day is celebrated on December 6 (December 19 in the Eastern Orthodox calendar) in the early days of this Advent season. Born in 270 into a wealthy Greek family, Nicholas lived in Lycia, a region of […]