I’m not sure how bottled water ever caught on in the world but I do know the first bottle I saw had “Evian” written on it. I must’ve been an impressionable teenager because I remember thinking it was somehow a better class of eau than the cold, clear stuff flowing freely out of the Newfoundland taps.

Now I’m old and jaded so I just assumed Evian was actually tap water from Shanghai packaged and pushed into the hands of hapless suckers. Mais non! And I can tell you that with a fair degree of accuracy. See, I live just across the lake from Évian-les-Bains and last weekend I took a little detour back to France.

That might possibly be the swankiest town hall I’ve ever seen and why not? I mean if you live in place where Evian water fills your toilet bowl, you’d expect nothing less. I expected a sleepy off-season experience but instead I stumbled upon the last day of an annual event that has nothing to do with water and everything to do with wood.

Every shop, service and public place was filled with the most intricate stick creations I’ve ever seen. Even the town trash cans were done up.

It was like walking into a real life fairy tale complete with a Big Bad Wolf…

and an even bigger Red Riding Hood…

There were open fires and stalls selling mulled wine (bien sûr) and delighted kids everywhere. It was really quite impressive.

If this is what Évian can pull off for les enfants, I can’t even imagine what kind of miracles they work for the adults. I’m thinking there has to be an Evian water into wine party at some point and I’ll walk across Lake Geneva for that one.

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