‘Tis the season once again, everyone is full of cheer, peace on earth good will to man, and shop until you drop at the Christmas fair.
The Christmas lights are being hung with care, the pine trees placed along the roads and the storefronts are nicely decorated to entice the shoppers inside; the holiday season is officially in full swing.
The weather doesn’t veer visitors away from the Marche de Noel either; instead people bundle up against the cold and sip spiced wine while sampling regional goods. Tourists and locals seem to enjoy themselves at these open aired bazaars.
Here you can stock up on some local wines, Champagne for New Years, and buy the must have foie gras and specialty cheeses for your holiday feast. It is also a good place to buy those unique gifts for under the tree; hand-knitted socks, wooden serving trays made from wine barrels, or the one of a kind handmade jewelry that seems to be popular.
There are many vendors at the markets who sell fresh food. Anything from duck sausage, to whole Spanish hams, and sometimes you will find your Christmas bird. There are also the usual merchants; the people selling their homemade jams and spreads, dried sausages, garlic bouquets, macaroons, organic bread, olives, and fresh produce.
The Capestang Christmas Market is a whole day event on Sunday December 7th in the Nelson Mandela Centre. Last year there were many fun activities for the children to enjoy including; camel and donkey rides, spectators watched as a hot air balloon launched from the open field behind the market, and The Capestang International Choir sang Christmas hymns while the folks shopped. The entire village showed up to celebrate the event and to support the local traders. It had a festive feeling. Many villages put on a one day Marche de Noel, so check your local tourist office. Visit Ville de Capestang on Facebook for current events or Capestang’s official website here.
The Narbonne Christmas Market starts December 6 – January 4 in the indoor market ‘Les Halls’ with their 70 stalls housing bakers, pastries, butchers, caterers, fishmongers, greengrocers, poultry merchants, delicatessens, bars and wine merchants. Open 365 days a year from 7am to 1pm. The outdoor stands extend down the street along the Canal de la Robine to the square in front of the Narbonne Church. Here you will find preforming musicians, beautiful Christmas exhibits and events for the children. This is a great place to find those last minute gifts for those hard to buy for people on your list. Select from a wide range of vendors and storefronts along the cobblestone walking paths that wind through the center of the city. Last year we ate chestnuts roasted on an open fire, took a sleigh ride pulled by reindeer and had a visit from Santa Clause and his elves! Here is the link to their events schedule http://www.calameo.com/read/000220042f9be1cc0f4f1
The Carcassonne Winter Markets run from December 6- January 4 as well, and in little white stalls next to one another along the square house the diverse dealers. Last year there was an outdoor toboggan run for the kids, and rides for everyone to enjoy including a giant lit up Ferris wheel. From the top you can see all of Carcassonne and in the evening the castle and the city below are lit up with Christmas lights. Our youngsters enjoyed the skating rink set up in another smaller square and we stayed all day going from one venue to the next including visiting the old city and castle where people dressed in Medieval clothes and acted their parts. Some had weapons and put on fighting demonstrations, while another had a hawk. You could try your hand at the bow and arrow and calligraphy. In the castle there were more vendors selling merchandise in booths. With so many different forms of entertainment for the whole family to enjoy, I suggest visiting Carcassonne Marche de Noel during the holiday season. Here is the link to their events schedule. http://fr.calameo.com/read/0024450001b5ea0db17e2
No matter where you find yourself, you are sure to enjoy the Christmas markets.
Have a happy and safe holiday season from our family to yours, Eva Hamori
In the season of appreciation and feeling the Christmas spirit, I would like to thank our editor Sally King for giving me the opportunity to share my blog with BBBMidi magazine. It has opened up so many doors for me to other publishing projects, and for this I am truly grateful.