My Paris Stories

Public Puppets

Teddy bears are dancing to the tunes and rhymes of Mamma Mia. French puppet hero Le Soldat Rose kisses his fiancée sitting on a giant gift parcel. Choirs and ballets formed by other puppets and teddies are rocking to the melodies of Westside Story. You've got the message: it's Christmas, and in commerce & sales, you don't tell the truth. Galeries Lafayette on Boulevard Haussman inaugurated its annual animated Christmas windows a couple of days ago, windows transformed into little stages featuring enchanting spectacles performed by mechanical puppets under twinkling, glittering lights.

Kingdom of toys

This has nothing to do with Christmas, of course, it's not even great puppet theatre - but it is a Parisian tradition, so what can you do? The windows attract millions of spectators during the high season, up to 200,000 people per day, so you better go soon. Or you don't go at all. But then you miss the occasion to become an eye-witness of one of the most popular street rallies here. In the front row you'll find people from near and far gazing at the windows, with or without children, you'll meet people who have travelled a long way to just be there and share that magic merchandising moment before really walking in to admire Lafayette's giant Christmas tree or heading directly to the kingdom of toys…

Platforms for perspective

Don't ge me wrong. I kind of like the Christmas windows in Paris. It’s an impressive spectacle because all the big department stores are competing with each other for the most beautiful animation year after year and believe me, they don’t spare any trouble or any cost. Bon Marché is another hotspot for this kind of amusement and like Galeries Lafayette, they even provide little wooden platforms for the little ones to give them a better perspective. So, here's my advice: if you really want to go and take your children there, well, just do it. But don't go on a Saturday afternoon in December.