As le titre of this post suggests, I have become un peu (or maybe très) obsédée with Christmas markets. When in Alsace…
Last Friday, après four hours of lessons I found myself at the Christmas markets pour la première fois. C’était the first day of the marchés de Noël in Colmar and a student offered to show me around, which was très agréable. Beaucoup de little wooden stalls are spread across la ville, there are hundreds of sapins de Noël and Christmas lights are partout. For decent photos of les marchés de Noël in the dark, head over to Google Images since my camera can’t seem to do them justice…
As a self-confessed Christmas market addict, the following day I headed off to Metz to see how the marchés de Noël in Lorraine compare to those in Alsace. Réponse: toujours formidable, but not quite as good as those en Alsace. Metz was une ville très jolie; grâce à my guidebook, I managed to see a lot…but as pictures say plus que les mots, I’ll leave it to them to do the talking:
Before leaving Metz, I saw un spectacle to commemorate the start of the marchés de Noël: there was dancing and fire, and from what I could see over people’s heads it looked fantastique.
Then it was back to le monde du travail for a couple of days – discussing British celebrities, Top Gear and the infamous (or not pour les Français) I’m a Celebrity. On this sujet, I am super heureuse that I have a great school and les élèves are generally cooperative…en ce moment I am looking forward to spending the next couple of semaines telling them about Christmas (minus la religion) in the UK.
On Wednesday, je suis allée au cinéma with Simone and Chrissy to see ‘Respire’. For an English spectateur, it is rather typical of the slightly-odd-and-a-bit-weird French film genre, but for anyone wanting to check out ce film, here is la bande annonce:
Après le film, we had a wander around les marchés de Noël. Chrissy opted for vin chaud (basically mulled wine) while Simone and I opted for ‘jus de pommes chaud’…which I mistakenly translated as ‘hot apple juice’. J’avais mal à la tête after drinking it and establishing that it was actually hot cider. It would seem my alcohol tolerance level has decreased beaucoup! It tasted nice and I’ll definitely be heading back…
Vendredi dernier, the students I usually teach were being assessed, so I supervised “les enfants” (to quote the teacher). Ironique, since several of them are plus âgés que moi. Un élève said “we wish you good luck” before I was left with the class, which seemed rather ominous. En somme, they were generally alright; however at one point un élève left la salle de classe and went to search for une dictionnaire…in the fridge, nice try. Heureusement, the rest of la journée passed rapidement and the weekend began – time for more marchés de Noël!
On Saturday I took the train to Dijon to see Elle – her train was en retard, but it wasn’t long before we were busy getting lost dans la vieille ville, occasionally following the golden owls sur le trottoir.
The marché couvert was absolutely énorme; in typical student fashion we didn’t buy anything. La cathédrale St-Benigne was considerably warmer than mon appartement, and a wander round Galeries Lafayette left us feeling suitably festive. We passed un café called ‘La mie câline” – which translates as ‘The cuddly crumb’, trop mignon! On Rue de la Chouette, we found the owl carved into the wall of Notre-Dame…and joined the queue of touristes to touch la chouette and make a wish!
Dans le soir, we saw un spectacle dans Place de la Libération to mark l’ouverture des marchés de Noël. (Don’t say the title didn’t warn you this was a very marchés de Noël filled post). There was an ice skating show and en prennant l’initiative des Français, we followed them to secure a good viewpoint…which turned out to be on the ice itself!
Plus tard, we visited les marchés de Noël: they were plus français than those in Alsace – not a bratwurst in sight! Un stand was advertising a “potion magique” called: “Québécoise: Le Caribou Chaud”. Neither of us tried it, but I can only presume that it wasn’t literally hot reindeer…! A couple of nougat samples, un chocolat chaud et une crêpe (avec jam) later we headed back to our accommodation pour samedi soir…located on Avenue Foch (malheureusement, we couldn’t quite get over the hilarity of the street name).
Le dimanche, après finding a pain au chocolat for breakfast, we went to le Jardin de l’Arquebuse. Il y avait lots of ducks, some of which were rather divertissant to watch, especially le canard mandarin and some as yet unidentified diving ducks! We then spent presque trois heures in the (free) Musée des Beaux-Arts; in part parce que we kept going round in circles. Cependant, there were some hilarious art forms in there: par exemple, a statue of Mary and Jesus minus Jesus’ head and Noah’s ark with pairs of same-sex animals. There was also an easel, donc on a essayé de dessiner each other.
We then found quelque chose à manger – including une crêpe chocolat blanc pour moi – and headed on to Musée Archéologique. À la gare, we discovered that Elle’s train was supprimé; resolving the problem involved one woman who couldn’t give a merde that her train was cancelled, and another rather more helpful woman who assured her the train tickets would work for the replacement train. On a passé a great weekend à Dijon; si quelqu’un fancies confirming/correcting my assumption that Burgundy is known as the “Côte d’Or” grâce à the colour of mustard, please do.
Aujourd’hui, I bought un calendrier d’advent (Nestlé Smarties, in case you wanted to know) and am happily listening to les chansons de Noël…