All Pictures Victoria RectorIn addition to dressing their skinny selves far better than we do, the French apparently have a knack for making every single thing they touch just that much more aesthetically pleasing. One wonders what exactly is going on in those schools… my guess is six straight hours of grammar followed by a half hour of screaming in the courtyard followed by “Accessories”. But the truth is – they’ll never tell us.

Here are some examples of what I mean. Note the transformation of hokey Christmas/Holiday decoration to unbelievably awesome storefront or hotel display… Note it, and then wallow in your own inferiority. I can’t even string lights like the cool kids! I’m a failure! Aghhh!
All Pictures Victoria RectorSince trading up from straw to brick to beautiful stone, the Petit Piggies have developed quite the eye for fake snow and its uses…All Pictures Victoria Rector
“HeadQuarters” – Our lovely hotel, festively and simply adorned outside…
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Wildly decorated within!

ALl Pictures Victoria RectorThis beautiful storefront caught our attention from a block away – due to the bubble machine hidden in the trees

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Aren’t you excited to be out in this? No matter how cold it gets – the eye and the soul get all the light, color, and life they need even in the dead of winter…

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The elegant St. Germaine – descended upon by tourists.

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You cannot imagine how happening the Contrescarpe was on New Year’s Eve – Good Lord! Club Delmas was the party center of the galaxy – we just sat in the square and watched and THAT was fun, too.
All Pictures Victoria RectorOne of my new faves – bright, filled with plants, wild yet elegant.
All Pictures Victoria RectorIt’s not just the stores, hotels, and homes… the streets themselves are paved with gold – well, smothered with light.
All Pictures Victoria RectorIs this too difficult for us? Are we not the land of Sea to Shining Sea? We can build a transcontinental railroad but can’t decorate an awning properly?? What’s our problem?!!
All Pictures Victoria RectorAnd then there’s this one. Just bask. Imagine walking down a winding street on the Ile de Cite – just around the corner from Notre Dame – and stumbling upon this. Is this not the happiest, well, cacophony of winter joy EVER? A creche! A polar bear! Deer! Um… sticks! And an inexplicable basket! As usual, flair is achieved by a certain “Who Cares? It’s white, and it looks fine” attitude not to be overanalysed by the likes o’ me. This is it, people. This is the aesthetic of a city of people throwing fedoras on with their grandmother’s fur stole and dominatrix boots. WHY does it work? WHY??
I don’t know. If you came here looking for answers, I can only disappoint. But let’s enjoy. And next time there’s even the slightest excuse to decorate – let’s try to raise the bar. Let’s be excessive and joyful and brave. Like the crazy, inexplicably beautiful French.