Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nov = Calendrier de l'Advent

The French are early birds when it comes to planning for Christmas.
Or maybe all of Europe starts polishing their wooden shoes for St. Nick as soon as they get back from the summer holidays?
I know, I know. Advent calendars begin on December 1 not in November.
But October and November is the time to plan and stock up to fill all those 24 windows in France.
While we're still thinking about what kind of cranberry sauce to make.
The French are plotting out their bonbons for the advent calendars.
When I waltzed into Le Bonbon au Palais in October, thinking only of caramels au beurre sale, two school teachers were stocking up on little packets of candy to hide in the calendar windows. I asked Georges if he carries the calendars and he said, Oh no, no. I just have the candies.
At La Mere de Famille you can buy an adorable cardboard house.
Very charming indeed - it's a copy of the old shop.
And it comes already filled with their candies.
But most Advent calendars are DIY. You pick the bonbons to go in the windows.
There are tons of them, if you're in need, at W.H.Smith Bookstore at 248, rue de Rivoli along with English poppers and paper hats.
I didn't know Richard Sellmar Verlag in Germany makes over a million different designs every year. Wow
I would imagine for those of us with self-control issues, an advent calendar would come in handy. Eating just one candy a day for 24 days would be a trial by fire of sorts, but the habit would be set and you could survive the holidays without gaining an ounce. Ha Ha
Baccarat would like you to put their mini crystal tree decorations in your calendar windows perhaps.
Last night window gazing at the Madeleine, I spotted Kaspia caviar still dithering over what to put in their Christmas windows.
I bravely went into fancy-pants Fauchon and asked (in English to be safe) if they carry any advent calendars. The saleswoman raised her eyebrows. I could see she was thinking poor thing. Doesn't she know any better? So no, don't go looking for advent calendars filled or unfilled in Fauchon.
In Germany many town halls deck themselves out as life size advent calendars.
Just by chance department store BHV looks like a life-size Advent calendar with Christmas trees in their cupola doesn't it?
Do you keep an advent calendar? Is it for yourself or the little ones? Or are you too busy with cranberry thoughts to think about such things?


  1. Thanks for letting us tour around with you.
    Paris at night is spectacular!

  2. Love this post!
    I'd love to buy the one with different candy in each shop window!
    We gave our sons the German ones with molded waxy chocolate pieces for each day.
    They loved them as kids.
    I still buy myself a pretty one to open a window each day....but they just have pictures inside.
    Thanks for these beautiful images!

  3. I passed À la Mère de Famille last week, saw the calendars, but didn't have a chance to go in. I like the virtual advent calendars that Jacquie Lawson produces: https://www.jacquielawson.com/advent Lovely to look at and completely guilt- and calorie-free!

  4. It looks like you've had a great time searching out these lovely advent themes. It's not the same now that my grandsons are teenagers I miss the thrill I had choosing things for their advent windows. Now, the question is Carol, ' have you been tempted to buy one for yourself ' ?

    1. Hahaha
      Are you kidding?
      Nunca jamais never niente
      I can't be trusted near ONE marshmallow much less 24!

  5. Great photos, it sure looks like Christmas in those pics!
    Love that last shot!

  6. I still remember the thrill of opening my little doors:)

    My girls..and now the little ones have them..
    I love them all..Those chefs are so different!

    Love the shop one..and..
    Love your carousel shot!

  7. Advent Calendars with the candy already included - brilliant! You have such an eye, Carole, I love these images and those last 2 shots - magical!

  8. What a coincidence, Carol. Just yesterday, I remembered to purchase my own Advent Calendar (without any candy...the suprise images unveiled by the daily window openings are treat enough for me.)

    The card store nearest my home generally sells out of the calendars by Thanksgiving. The calendar that I bought was made in Germany by ... Richard Sellmer Verlag.

    I'll post a picture of it when Advent begins. Meanwhile, I have so enjoyed seeing all those glamorous and whimsical Parisian windows in your photos. Merci!


    1. Oh what a lovely post, and trip through Advent mania ... I love them, usually just with a pretty picture behind the window.

      I was once in England for Thanksgiving, and bought many home with me. I bet Germany has terrific ones, they do this thing so well.

      Your photos showed some really clever ones .. thanks ... I loved them.

      Karen in VA

  9. excellent post - made me smile, sigh and a few other things....
    i'm a GREAT defender of traditional advent calendars, those with non fattening little doors and windows to open up a scene - I must have a collection of far over 20 and I send out many every year to my family and friends. one sister makes around a dozen 'baskets' with 24 individual (or 25 even!) personalized gifts, nicely wrapped and tied, numbered and distributed to her beloved ones. Since I told her once that I find she spends too much money on sending me mine (lived in UK at the time and now in France), she just struck me from the receiver list.... now it's a small calendar like I send out too :)
    was in Germany twice around Advent and it looks stunning when they jazz up their buildings to look like Xmas calendars.
    I one 'created' one with a photo of my home town Zurich, Switzerland on

  10. Anonymous11:46 AM

    Get me back to France, and Paris-- sil vous plait!!
    Merci, Carol---your posts are, as always, exquisite, and add to our yearning to be in our favorite city.
    Patricia and Eric Nauman, Minneapolis

  11. Wow does this ever bring back memories! My mom always gave Advent calendars to my brother and I. Sadly, the chocolate was quite cheap – but as kids we didn’t care!

  12. Oh, I spoiled my kids early on with tiny toys and treats. No chocolate drops for them. That was akin to putting a penny behind the door. Young mothers take heed.

  13. Originally my friend and I were going to come to Paris the day after Thanksgiving. September ended up being when we came. I would not have my Palais Royal Jarden picture. The posts you have done about Christmas makes me wish we would have waited. At least I have your posts.

  14. Bonjour chère amie,

    Le fameux calendrier de l'avent !... J'aime énormément celui qui vous nous faites découvrir de "La mère de famille".
    Cette année il est vrai que je n'ai pas prévu un calendrier de l'avent car je n'ai aucun de mes petits-enfants qui doivent venir durant cette période. Pour Noël c'est moi qui me rendraient chez eux...
    Peut-être que je devrais le faire seulement pour moi-même, après tout !
    Une très jolie publication aux saveurs sucrées.
    Gros bisous

  15. What a fascinating post Carol. I didn't know that they had a tradition of unfilled advent calendars in France. I've only ever seen the commercial chocolate filled ones here. We usually get one for Lachlan, but he's probably growing out of that- he does still like a daily chocolate though...

  16. I remember these with great delight!
    Wish I was in Paris.
    We miss you in NY.
    Buster says hi!

  17. deborah12:55 PM

    How nice to have some many choices for advent calenders. The Jacquie Lawson Company has adorable animated electronic advent calendars. They are delightful--a fun surprise everyday (and no candy, so thigh-friendly too). http://www.jacquielawson.com/gift-shop

  18. I always forget about advent calendars till December 1. Oh, how I loved them when I was a kid. Just saw a cute one to make and am thinking I should...you have the most gorgeous ones there -- we don't see them like that over here, not with that much detail!

  19. Feroz Kahn12:56 AM

    What a gorgeous post!
    Love your photo essays


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