Okay so I know Christmas has been and gone and it all feels like a distant memory but I wanted to share these wonderful pictures of the lights at Beauchêne.
Beauchêne is in the Orne region of Normandy – we live in the Manche region. However, like a lot of things here, it was only a 35 minute drive away and we were told that we must see these Christmas lights.
By the way, here’s a link to all the village lights in this region and by all accounts you can get a free bus tour http://villagesillumines.fr/
What I love about France is that you can go and do things that don’t cost you a lot as a family. However, more than that, as I’m not famous for counting the pennies – it feels more natural and less pressurised. Even the Christmas decorations don’t get put up until well into December. I love that. Christmas in December. Who would have thought?!
This is very different to the UK where people are squealing about it in August when you still haven’t unpacked the clothes from your summer holidays. As soon as the kids are back to school in September, Wham! The shelves are being filled with Christmas stock and the Christmas music is being played. It ruins it for me. It makes it less special.
I also find family days out in the UK are very contrived – there’s a need to do stuff or maybe a pressure? Maybe life is so stressful and full on that this is the only thing (and a summer holiday) that people can look forward to? A reward if you like. I’m not sure.
All I know is, there feels a pressure to go and do things that are bigger and better than the outings before, but in doing so it feels forced. Granted there are lots of things to do in London at Christmas time. You can go to Winter Wonderland. Personally, I couldn’t think of anything worse on this one. Everyone trying to capture the spirit of Xmas in a heaving atmosphere of overpriced booze, food and the kids whingeing about the tube journey and the smell of London. Not for me.
Then there’s Father Christmas at Harrods (which you have to book in August), wander around Convent Garden and take the kids to a show – which will set you back over £100 and again, you’ll have to book way in advance. I’m sure mums are probably planning days out now for Christmas time.
I’ve done a lot of these days out. I too have been sucked into the Christmas Vortex experience. I took the kids to Copenhagen last year for goodness sake! Yes, pot and kettle spring to mind. Tivoli gardens and yes it was fantastic! I’ve been on the Bluebell Railway at Xmas, admired the Christmas lego displayed in Convent garden and then gone onto the Transport museum (a must actually).
The closest we got to a really relaxed Christmas outting was at Hever Castle where we walked around the grounds at night time. There were hardly any people (it was their first year of doing this), there were camels, donkey’s etc telling the Christmas story and we saw the big man himself at the end – not Jesus but the man in his coca cola suit. I think it was just over £80 for the five of us.
So, last year was totally different. Our first Christmas in France. We took the kids to see these wonderful lights on Christmas Eve and it really was a relaxed affair. There were lots of people who come from a far to see this impressive display created by the villagers.
There were no parking fees, no entrance fee (a donation if you liked), there was the stable with the animals and the church was open. They had carols playing and if you wanted something to eat there was a small stand selling some crepes and a few drinks. That was it. No fun fair, no waltzers, no balloons being sold and it was lovely. Who knows maybe by next year I’ll be chomping at the bit for some razzmatazz at Christmas and won’t be happy until I part with 100 euros. For now, I’m liking this just fine.
I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as we enjoyed visiting these lights and Happy New year!
Or as they say in these ‘ere parts Bonne annee!