When we were in Eguisheim in August, we saw the whole Alsace in a window (my article dated September 24th). The second window of the same shop was about Christmas time.
In quite a small space, where red and white were the most visible, there were all the main things for an Alsatian Christmas. On the right you could see the traditional Father Christmas wearing a green coat, not the "modern" red and white coat, but the new Father Christmas was driving little cars on the left just near Christmas trees. Angels were singing not far from children dressed with winter red and white clothes. And, of course, there was a wood "tower" ready to receive candles which will make blades move at the top.
To remind you traditional food a goose and also different decorated mannele were standing in the same window.
On Sunday a lot of Alsatian homes will light the first candle of their Advent wreath, a first step towards Christmas. The houses show more decorations outside than in Lorraine, the tradition started there a very long time ago.
When I went to the Fairies' Market in Lunéville, I discovered new sculptures outside the castle. They are modern, some are colourful, and they give the touch of colour and extravagance which are a bit missing in cold seasons. Without them the courtyard would be dull on grey days in spite of the big pink flower pots.
The sculptor is Paul Flickinger. He was born in Alsace but lives now in Moselle. He works a lot and has taken part in a lot of exhibitions since the 1970s. He uses different materials for his sculptures from wood to iron. He is also a well known painter. (It is quite easy to find details about his life and work on the web.)
Strangely, last Saturday in Pont-à-Mousson, I saw similar faces on crystal plates in the Abbaye des Prémontrés. I looked for the name of the artist but could not find it. Sometimes Paul Flickinger draws his inspiration from Picasso, so was it Picasso or Flickinger on the plates ? Maybe Picasso but the plates made me think about the sculptures straight away.
The abbey was built at the beginning of the 18th century under the reign of Duke Leopold of Lorraine. It became a small seminary in the 19th century. And in 1910 it was a historical building belonging to the state and was given to the city of Pont-à-Mousson in 1912.
Abbaye des Prémontrés has been badly damaged during WW1, then during WW2. From 1959 the rebuilding started and lasted 20 years. The Norbertine abbey became a Cultural Centre.
On Saturday morning we were invited to a ceremony in the abbey. It was the first time I entered the buildings. It is big, clear and the old church, Sainte-Marie-Majeure, is a very good place to attend a meeting. I was surprised it was warm inside as usually big churches are cold. The corridors were cool but the church wasn't. We saw a bit of the garden, a few modern paintings, jewellery and objects on display. It was beautiful.
Next year we'll go there again and we'll look for the stairs which we didn't see, and there should be work of art in the garden. It is really worth another visit.
Since 1951 the new Beaujolais wine is celebrated in France and it became really popular in the 1980s. Now it "arrives" every third Thursday of November at midnight (that means that Japan can celebrate it before us, which is unfair !). On this day you can find THE wine everywhere, in shops but also in restaurants, in canteens, in clubs...
So on Thursday when I wrote the article for the blog I had to choose between "First snow" and "Beaujolais Nouveau". As snow could disappear as quickly as it fell, I chose it and was right, there isn't any left today. It meant I had time to go to the shop and buy our favourite Beaujolais Nouveau.
I went there yesterday, found the bottle I wanted and saw two funny bottles I bought too. One is said to be from a boy, the other from a girl. The label at the back explains about the flavours : black berries and red berries for the boy, raspberry and black currant for the girl. The price was different too, the girl was 6 cts (of Euro) cheaper than the boy !
We tasted the wine today, it is good. We have never been disappointed in about 25 years. And there is some left in the bottle for this evening. Good.
(To be taken in moderation)
It started last night and it was still snowing this morning when we got up. This is the first snow, nearly one month later than last year.
Weatherforescasts were quite bad so I had prepared a broom and a snow shovel but I haven't used them. The snow stopped before lunch time and it was white on grass and ground but roads were black and salt was not necessary. Drivers didn't have to bother too much before starting their cars.
Children must be disappointed, it is not possible to build a snowman yet or to fight with snowballs. They'll have to wait for a few more days or weeks.
Of course, the Vosges mountains are all white and people can think about skiing during the coming week end. They had snow before us.