OK, I give up, it's the holiday season in Paris; there's no mistaking it. The little red Merci car is bringing the Christmas tree home, and there are trees to be had on virtually every corner. They're sold here in florists' shops, wrapped in plastic netting to make it easier to carry them up the six flights of narrow stairs to that elevatorless, though picturesque, garret.
The merchants' associations for the various shopping streets provide more or less elaborate lighting displays, and the Champs Elysées is one big wonderland of lights. The Grande Roue, a huge ferris wheel set up at Christmas and in the summer, marks the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe the Etoile, with a Christmas market set up between them in what seems to be hundreds of little temporary chalets along both sides of the broad avenue.
There are other festive decorations around as well of course, like the window of this flower shop on rue Vieille du Temple in the Marais,
and the strings of lights and stars hanging from the ceiling in Merci.
The pig keeping watch over l'Avant Comptoir has been decked out in his Christmas trimming
and this gallery in St-Germain des Prés is spelling out its wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2010.
Another gallery has taken the opportunity to commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall with an exhibit of photos from Christmas 1961.
Not everyone is with the program however. The inevitable discontented worker makes his presence known, even here. Wait until Santa hears about this.