Seine-et-Marne, Vimpelles the Christmas village entirely decorated by its inhabitants

    Seine-et-Marne, Vimpelles the Christmas village entirely decorated by its inhabitants

    This year again, the magic of Christmas is operating in Vimpelles, it must be said that the Elves have worked well this year. For 21 years now, these volunteer inhabitants have been creating, producing and installing on the village plots and along the waterway which borders it, Christmas scenes straight out of their childhood or their imagination. This year 25 paintings have been installed, the result of almost an entire year.

    The Santa Claus mill, one of the new decorations, created this year in Vimpelles. © Radio France
    – Isabelle Piroux

    Snow White, the Three Little Pigs, the Barbapapa, Sleeping Beauty, Tintin on the Moon, the Eiffel Tower or the Santa Claus Mill, this year again, the paintings attract young and old, especially in the evening when they are seated. ‘illuminate. Among children, it is the Ronde les Nounours, which has the most success ” At first I was told that no one would come, explains Nadine Delattre, my mayor of Vimpelles, but there are not as many people as usual. I even have the impression that people came even earlier this year, they really need to take a break.

    Seine-et-Marne, Vimpelles the Christmas village entirely decorated by its inhabitants

    The Elves of Vimpelles wanted to pay tribute to caregivers by devoting a painting to them. © Radio France
    – Isabelle Piroux

    The volunteers “the Elves” as they call themselves wanted to pay tribute this year to the caregivers with a painting that features them. They also created a somewhat surreal setting against the coronavirus with Shadoks who promise the Covid 19 virus to “pump” as in the characters in the cartoon from the early 1970s.

    Shadoks adepts of the “Deco-Noëlla virus” as he proclaims it in a bubble: “We are a little crazy” recognizes Sylvie, laughing, who drew these characters. And to promise those who come to Vimpelles to also leave with this virus of Christmas decoration.

    Seine-et-Marne, Vimpelles the Christmas village entirely decorated by its inhabitants

    The covid virus grappling with the Shadoks, a scene produced by the volunteers of Vimpelles © Radio France
    – Isabelle Piroux

    The elves, today, are mostly retired, which explains why many paintings represent characters, or cartoons that marked their childhood, Snow White, The Little Mermaid and this year, Tintin on the Moon or Nicolas and Pimprenelle. Each year, it is always at the beginning of February that these “elves” start working on the Christmas decorations which will enchant Vimpelles in December. They meet two days a week, Monday and Thursday. “This year with the coronavirus, we were careful! The grannies worked at her house, we were going to bring them work” would like to add Sylvie.

    In Vimpelles everything is done by volunteers.

    “We are lucky to have an extremely close-knit team in which there are many trades, carpenter, joiner, locksmith. And there is also Laurette, who makes all the costumes for the dolls, the models, the characters. “ explains Mayor Nadine Delattre

    Several groups work in the workshop and at home to produce the characters and the sets from the beginning of February until October 30. From November 2, the installation begins. It takes 4 weeks to install all the decors.

    Seine-et-Marne, Vimpelles the Christmas village entirely decorated by its inhabitants

    Pimprenelle and Nicolas, hero of the television series Bonne nuit les petits, in the 60s is one of the new paintings created by the volunteers in Vimpelles for these Christmas celebrations. © Radio France
    – Isabelle Piroux

    Each year, the scenes are modified, and the characters are recycled in another setting, but each year the “elves” make new creations. This most spectacular year it is a luminous Eiffel Tower of 18 meters which replaced the old one.

    “Everything is done by hand, with scrap, and our little means, that’s what makes Vimpettes so charming.” explains a resident

    It is the mayor of Vimpelles, Nadine Delattre who is at the origin of this tradition. When, 21 years ago, then deputy mayor, she proposed to install decorations to beautify the village for the end of the year celebrations, she heard herself say: “Get over it! “. ” Since then we manage ! ” she explains.

    Seine-et-Marne, Vimpelles the Christmas village entirely decorated by its inhabitants

    In Vimpelles, even the illuminations are created and installed by the volunteers for these Christmas celebrations. © Radio France
    – Isabelle Piroux

    Everything is done economically: the fabrics to dress the dolls are bought on sale in the markets, the dolls are collected, even the yellow bins are used. The boxes make these gifts wrapped in a beautiful paper that adorn the decorations. Water bottles become garlands. “ We use thousands and miles of plastic bottles, cut them into rings and cover them with paper. We make miles of garlands, miles, and it’s the little grannies who do all that “ explains Nadine Delattre who highlights the link that has been created between the inhabitants thanks to this tradition.

    Creating Christmas decorations and paintings has strengthened the social bond between the inhabitants

    _”Today in our villages, people are alone and no longer meet “ explains the mayor of Vimpelles “Here we have created a strong social bond because people meet now, we have very old retirees who come to the workshop “ welcomes Nadine Delattre who adds: “There is a rarely equaled cohesion between us, our strength is that we have gotten along well for 21 years. With us, volunteering is not dead.” _

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