Do you really see a Christmas tree here, or is it just my French mind?….

Bertrand Guay via Getty Image
Bertrand Guay via Getty Image

It is green. It is tall. Guess you could put a star on top, somehow. So? tell me, honestly?

Even after 15 years of expatriation, I can still resent every cut made to the beauty of my favorite town. I felt Paris had already suffered this year with the invasion of hideous « love padlocks », but the worse remained to be seen: The monumental “artwork” of Paul McCarthy erected in the historical Place Vendôme last week for the place of honor at a renowned, must-attend art fair : a  25-meter anal plug (excuse my French!) supposed to invoke a Christmas tree. Seriously ?!!

Foreigners tend to see French in general and Parisian in particular as very open sexually.


After all, no translation can ever equal the romantic sound of « French kiss », « rendez vous », « billet doux » and other « coup de foudre ». Plus French are not really into marrying. Hence, Bienvenue en France, the city of highly erotic people !

Sorry if I have raised some expectations here. Reality is pretty different : Even if we are trying hard, most of us are not sexual beasts. We do believe in the power of seduction, could be the conversation of a smell, the conversation of looking. Compare us to Nordic and American people, and yes we are flirty. No one in France will ever face a complain for « sexual harassment » by simply telling a coworker she looks really beautiful. On the contrary, you would risk to be seen as blind, rude or asexual if you keep your eyes on your phone in summer! Don’t insist though, just notice the beauty and leave the scene.

We are born and raised in the most romantic city of all, and the Place Vendôme is almost a cliché for Lovers : The place to buy the most beautiful engagement ring, propose at the Ritz while sipping a glass of Dom Perignon, Watch the Sunset in the Jardin des Tuileries ..

I understand that art does not only exist to entertain, but also to challenge and to provoke, even disturb. I guess Mc Carthy has accomplished his mission, then.

Still, I must admit I did not feel devastated when the ugly « Tree » sculpture that disfigured the place was deflated last week end. There is a huge difference between romanticism and porn. I am far from being conservative, but I love traditions, and for Christmas, I want a real tree with the goo’ old balls it always had. And to show how open minded I am, I agree to accept those balls too:


2 thoughts on “Do you really see a Christmas tree here, or is it just my French mind?….

    1. Man, this is so radical to me! seriously… Hope this will never ever touch the Belgium chocolates. Would love to see my Dad’s face if I came with such a chocolate box for Xmas. How would you react ?;)

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