Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Le Mistral

A Provençal santon, or Christmas figure, facing the Mistral
 It's very windy outside today in Omaha, and it's making me nostalgic.  Before moving to Omaha, I was living in Southern France, near Marseilles.  In the winter, they have what's called the Mistral, which is an incredibly strong wind that comes from the North and blows for days, sometimes weeks, at a time.  It's dreadful, but also kind of charming.  Everywhere you go, you have to bundle up and walk with your head down.  Lost hats and newspapers are constantly flying around the streets in towns.  You pass by shopkeepers fighting to secure their awnings and dragging any outdoor displays indoors before the Mistral takes them away.  Every time you turn a corner you have to brace yourself for new currents of wind that hit hard enough to knock children and petite adults to the ground.  "Sacre Mistral" becomes the muttered mantra throughout all of Provence. 
Supposedly, if you can survive the fury of the Mistral, it will eventually bring good health.  It dries stagnant water and clears the skies.  It's the secret ingredient behind Provence's otherwise perpetually sunny days. 

At Christmas time, Provençal churches and town squares are decorated with displays of santons like the one in the image.  Even the figures are oftentimes depicted as bracing themselves against the Mistral!  Christmas is very beautiful in Europe, and it's so cute to see little French girls in baby girl Christmas dresses!  Speaking of, nows a good time to find a great bargain on Christmas dresses, so if you need a girls Christmas dress or a toddlers Christmas dress, stop by Sophias Style today!

This blog was first posted at Trendy Girls Fashion Blog.

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