Every winter, the windows of Printemps and Galeries Lafayette along Boulevard Haussman are transformed into a spectacle of puppets - somehow this marriage of fashion, artistry, and absolute kitsch hits the spot during the holiday season.
This year, the windows are sponsored by Louis Vuitton at Galeries Lafayette and Christian Dior at Printemps. But for any parent, or simply any person who has ever seen any of the Madagascar movies, the Louis Vuitton windows in particular are both fantastic, and fantastically hysterical. I'm not sure whether the true intention was some pushing-the-envelope-of-fashion or a nod to childrens' love of wildlife, but surely you will agree that the lemur in 300 euro shades is a sight to behold.
Even the penguins get an opportunity to strut in luxury.
Down the street, the more feminine presentation of girls ice-skating and promenading in Dior's "Inspirations Parisiennes" are less jarring to the senses.
But Dior is not without its wild side, as indicated by the animal-masked ballroom dancers.
It's important to understand that these windows are a tradition - Parisians bring their children to see them every year, with child-sized viewing platforms erected in front of each display. It's also crucial to understand a bit about the long history of puppets in France. In fact, throughout Europe puppet shows have been entertaining the continent's children for centuries, and France is no exception. You can take in a puppet show at the Jardin du Luxembourg, or arrange one for your child's birthday party (we've already been to one such fete).
And of course the reality is that photos cannot do these marionettes justice - there is music, and movement, and it's rather enthralling - even the lemurs. I see it now - Madagascar 4 - the Animals take on the Champs-Elysees!
One final note - today is the last day to vote for What Am I Doing in France in the 2012 Expat Blog Awards! Leave a review/comment here to help this blog win an award!