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Posts tagged ‘Vin Chaud’

No. 86: Marché de Noël

Christmas markets can be found in all the major cities of France, and also in the small villages and hamlets. Most of them are characterized by charming wooden chalets, vin chaud, local food specialties, gingerbread, and lots and lots of saucisson.

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They have strayed from their original purpose of supplying rural French femmes au foyer with all the hard to find ingredients for preparing the traditional holiday feast. And while the marché de Noël originated in the northern Alsace region, (belonging to Germany at assorted moments in history) and tend to draws on German Christmas market traditions, these days, at least in Paris most of the “handcrafted” toys and gifts are junky stuff mass produced in China.

That said, I still love them. They do add a terrifically festive feel to France in December. Here are the ones I’ve managed to see this year.

Marché de Noël Suédois, Swedish Church in Paris

I’d never been to a Swedish Christmas market so I really enjoyed this one. It was small and intimate, and the Swedish community was so very friendly. All things Swedish and holiday-ish available, including reindeer sausage, amazing ginger crisps, and of course Swedish meatballs and Glögg. (Held right before Lucia, so you’ve already missed it, but do look for it next year.)

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Marché de Noël, La Défense

More than 350 stands, very jolly despite the chalets nestled in the surreal setting of glass high-rise buildings and the ominous Grande Arche. (November 27-December 28.)

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Marché de Noël, Avenue des Champs-Elysées

The largest Christmas market within the Paris city limits. Incredibly crowded and best at nighttime—if you are going to brave the throngs of people, you might as well see the lights. (November 15-January 5.)

Marché de Noël, Trocadero

About 100 stands, a “snow” village, and an ice-skating rink with the best view of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Lots of tourist, kiddos, African Eiffel Tower sellers, and pickpockets.

Marché de Noël, Notre Dame Cathedral

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Charming and cheery Christmassy views. Good photo opportunities. Beware of the gypsies and their tricks.

Marché de Noël on my bucket list:

Marché de Noël, Strasbourg

The mother of all Christmas markets and the largest and oldest one in France. A pilgrimage for those obsessed with Noël. Set in front of the Strasbourg Cathedral. I’ve seen pictures and the views are spectacular.

Marché de Noël, Bordeaux

Supposedly one of the more “magical” of the French Christmas markets, and of course, a great opportunity to stock up on wine from Bordeaux.

Marché de Noël, Nancy

Even though Nancy, France is my namesake, I have never made it there. I need to. Know for its range of traditional and regional foods and less junk from China.

 

Vocabulaire

femmes au foyer: housewives

marché de Noël: Christmas markets

saucisson: sausage

vin chaud: mulled wine

                          

No. 79: Santa en mass

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We ran across some great holiday cheer outside of Paris yesterday. Or I should say Superman and his best buddy Nigel ran across it, or more accurately, in it.

The Corrida de Noël, is an annual 10k race where the reason to run is the tacky Santa suit that comes with the race registration fee. This is one race where your finish time doesn’t matter, but your tribute to Père Noël makes all the difference in the world.

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This year there were over 5,000 runners who ticked the racing box for the course déguisée and ran the race dressed as Old Saint Nick.

And why not? Where else but in France would you get to smoke and drink mulled wine before the race even starts.

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 What a great way to sprint to Christmas…only 8 more days until Kris Kringle makes his way down your chimney.

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Vocabulaire

course déguisée: the disguised/costumed race