Unbowed by Covid-19, Paris store lights up Christmas display – art and culture

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Shoppers aren’t allowed within, and the pavement outdoor is almost empty, but the vinaigrette capital’s Printemps branch store lit up its Christmas window display on Tuesday because – global epidemic or not – it is an annual tradition.

“Throughout this special context, this difficult moment, it’s even more necessary to continue this tradition,” said Printemps Artistic Director David Moliere.

The display this year at Printemps group’s flagship store on Boulevard Haussmann features fashionably dressed puppets on strings who jig along to music in quite a few winter settings including a ski resort cable car and a ship at sea.

In one tableau, a band performs in an Alpine clearing. In another, puppets on trapezes rotate around a Christmas tree on a Parisian rooftop.

In most years, the pavement outdoor the window is jammed with a crowd of shoppers and tourists craning to receive a picture of the display on their smartphones.

But Paris is in lockdown on account of Covid-19. Tourists are staying absent, non-essential stores are shut, and people are ordered to stay at home unless they’re on important trade.

On Tuesday, only a handful of people stopped to take a photo, then hurried on their way.

“It’s a bit sad,” said dance student Rafaelle Gabon.

“I’m glad they’ve lit it up. It makes it appear to be there’s people, but it’s true that in comparison to preceding years, there’s in reality no one around. It’s empty.”

Printemps sells make-up and clothes for high-end brands like Burberry and Gucci, and is owned by Qatari investors. It has been hit tough by the pandemic.

Four of the group’s 19 branch stores will be shut down and a few 450 jobs are at risk, the union which represents one of the most staff said this month.

Shoppers can still buy goods from the Haussmann store, but only by connecting with a sales advisor via phone or email, with their purchase then dispatched in the mail.

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.)

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