Paris Department Stores Decorations Showcase the Spirit of Christmas

David Vives
By David Vives
November 24, 2019Travel

The magic of Christmas has arrived on Parisian boulevards, as big stores put up traditional Christmas decorations.

At Galeries Lafayette, Christmas is coming. This year, the traditional Christmas tree and decorations arrived on Nov. 20.

A show of lights, music, and marionettes.

For more than a century, Christmas marionettes have brought joy to young and old along Parisian Boulevards.

This year, bees are buzzing. The little cooks are hard at work in the kitchen preparing honey. Some of them also fly planes, or are on their smartphones, while the queen relaxes.

“This is very beautiful. There are beautiful colors, and the theme is nice,” local resident Elodie Caen said.

A few hundred yards away on the avenue, the decorations change behind department store glass. Playful turkeys switch to eat, instead of being eaten.

Stores in Paris are among the first places ready for Christmas celebrations. The decorations require so much work that artistic teams must prepare for Christmas one year in advance.

According to marionettist Sylvain Ducloux, there are always new challenges when giving life to his characters.

The big challenge for me is to get sparkles in your eyes once the window opens. You never know if the marionette will work once you turn on the switch.

The brain behind the window’s layout and character design is David Molière. He brings to life a tradition that was created after the first World War.

“The first World War brought very hard times on people. So Printemps had the idea to create a magic show behind this glass, some fairy tales to bring joy to people,” Molière said.

Large Paris stores spend between $100,000 and $300,000 for their Christmas decorations.

Printemps welcomes around 10 million visitors each year on Christmas, including Paris residents and tourists.

“This is transmitted from one generation to the next one,” Molière said. “The parents saw the marionettes when they were young. They bring their children to see them, and so on.”

The public will enjoy the decorations until Jan. 6, when they will be removed.

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