Sapin Snafu or Fir Fiasco

Blimey. How could they! My Christmasy view might be ruined, as a landscaping debacle is unfolding on Place Bassompierre on the opposite bank of our Charente river.

Let me tell you about these last two, highly dramatic days since the essential landscaping for this year’s Christmas Market was completed. It all began with a nice and orderly clean-up of extra sand and other tidbits over on rive droite.



When I next glanced over toward the arch, two white tents had materialized out of nowhere, partially blocking my view of the grand sapin de noël.


The tents were still there the next morning, as were several busy city workers laying something resembling a dance floor.


This had been our first night of Raureif, ground frost this winter, which covered everything with a sparkly layer of white crystals. As I looked around during my morning walk, mist rose from the waters of the Charente and it also transformed the utter stillness around the main pond in La Palu Prairie, a wetland nature preserve in the city of Saintes, into a dreamy landscape painting.




I enjoyed my walk through this serene countryside very much, I only wished I had taken a camera with me. You see, that big group of bare-branched trees seemingly floating in the shallow pond was as decorated as the sapins de noël in Place Bassompierre, only these ornaments were living birds.


When I first arrived in La Palu, the trees were loaded with herons and cormorants, who eventually took off lazily, singly or in pairs when the light strengthened with the rising sun and the gradual evaporation of the lingering mists. My elderly cell phone just wasn’t up to the task, especially not zooming over the considerable distance. I will have to sneak back in during another foggy winter morning and try to capture the sleeping birds.

Meanwhile back in Place Bassompierre, a different drama unfolded. The small tents had disappeared and the workers were erecting a humongous party tent over the dance floor. NO! By Jove and Caesar Germanicus, they can’t do that to me. I must protest to my neighborhood council immediately.


Imbeciles, how dare they spoil my precious view.


Alas, when darkness fell it got worse. Do you remember the funky illumination of the arch we enjoyed last Christmas?

Below behold this year’s glorious illumination. A fuzzy starry night pattern, which appears more like fungal grows than a seasonal celebration. For two nights now L’Arc de Germanicus displayed as much blotchy charm as overcooked lentil soup.


Let us cross fingers the committee has secret plans for a slightly less underwhelming “Décembre en Fête 2015 – la ville s’anime et s’illume” presentation when the Village de Noël is officially inaugurated later this afternoon!

2 thoughts on “Sapin Snafu or Fir Fiasco

  1. Beautiful photos, of course! Very peaceful and soft with the fog. Too bad there are idiots around to ruin the view of the arch after it was decorated so lovely.


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