January 8, 2014

3 Ways This Week to Beat the Post-Holiday Blues

Happy New Year!  

Now that everyone's back from vacation and all of your family and friends have gone back to their hometowns, the daily routine of life is going to try to grab hold and make 2014 go by just as quickly as 2013 did.  Before you know it, it will be December 31, 2014 and you'll be saying, "Where did the time go and what did I even do this year?"
Holiday window display
Instead, let's make 2014 a year filled with enjoyable memorable moments.  In spite of all of our personal and professional time-consuming responsibilities, we can all still make room for inserting a bit of pleasure into our lives at least once a week.  Go to that restaurant that you keep hearing about.  Go alone to that art exhibition that none of your friends are interested in.  Attend a classical music concert, held in one of Paris’ many beautiful churches.   Have a glass of champagne, not to celebrate a life milestone, but for the simple pleasure of spoiling yourself with a drink of liquid artisanal beauty.

Here are a few ideas to get you started on keeping a good work/play balance in 2014:

1) For the sweet tooth:    

Galette des Rois
To celebrate Epiphany (January 6, 2014), it's time to get your Galette des Rois (King's cake).   In addition to being delicious, this puff pastry dessert filled with frangipane contains a small hidden surprise.  The fun of this dessert is trying to get slice with the hidden fève (which is usually a small ceramic figurine).  To ensure that everyone has a fair chance to get the fève, tradition has it that as the Galette des Rois is being sliced, the youngest person hides under the table and calls out who should receive each slice.   Once everyone begins eating, the lucky person who finds the fève becomes the king (or queen) and gets to wear the crown that came with the cake.  Galettes des Rois can be found in most boulangeries and stores this week.

Pro tip: The Galettes des Rois are surprisingly easy to make, if you'd like a homemade touch.  And kids with siblings love it when they find that their mom (or dad) actually snuck in several fèves.

2) For the shopper: 

Printemps holiday window display
On your mark, get set, go!  Wednesday, January 8th is the start of the Official Winter Sales (Les Soldes) in stores across France.  For five weeks, until February 11th, you'll be able to find what you really wanted for Christmas but didn't get, all at a lower prices.  In anticipation of the crowds, many stores have extended hours during the soldes, especially during this first week.  

Pro tip: Prices continue to be marked down over the duration of the sales period.  Look for signs stating 'deuxième démarque  and troisième démarque' (2nd markdown and 3rd markdown). 

Find special hours of stores and shopping centers here:  Extended Store Hours

3)  For the animal lover:

The Paris Dog show will be held this weekend January 11 & 12 at the Parc Floral in  the Bois de Vincennes.  Around 4000 dogs representing 300 different races are expected to compete and put their best foot (paw) forward in front of the judges.   Come and learn everything that you've ever wanted to know about all of the various varieties of dogs.   Admission is 8 euros or free for children under 12.   more info: Paris Dog Show 2014

Pro tip:  Do not show up with your own dog as only registered participants can attend.  Also, dogs will not be on sale at this event. 

So there you have it.  Now it's time to go out and start enjoying 2014!

Post by Veronica Kugler