En Alsace avec Laurence

Last Wednesday, je suis allée au cinéma, with Simone and Chrissy, to see ‘La Famille Bélier’. I’ve now seen it deux fois, and it’s still fantastique; après studying some immensely ennuyant French films (désolée Renoir/Becker/insert French metteur en scène as appropriate) last year, my faith in les films français has been restored. In the soir, I met up with other assistants at the marchés de Noël and discovered that une crêpe compôte de pommes is basically apple pie dans une crêpe: food paradise, en bref.

Après ice chocolates dans la salle des profs and more lessons y compris the John Lewis “Monty the Penguin” advert, Band Aid’s “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (les enfants français seem to think they might not) and a particularly memorable game of Christmas pictionary where one student drew a polar bear that tout la classe thought was a “Christmas sheep”, it was time to catch le train to Saint Louis and pick up Laurence…YAYYYYYYY. En route to the aéroport, I discovered just how délicieux a chocolate-smarties pretzel was…

choco smarties pretzel

un bretzel choco-smarties

After what felt like une attente éternelle, the sliding doors opened and Laurence arrived! Bonjour to a weekend of being a tourist en Alsace encore une fois! Après dumping stuff at mon appartement (note, a 25kg valise and 10 flights of stairs is not a good combination) we went into town to see the marchés de Noël.

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Place Jeanne d’Arc, Colmar

Ensuite, it was time for une crêpe (compôte de pommes pour moi, choco-banane pour Laurence), a jus de pommes chaud (no mal à la tête after drinking this one, yay!) and un cadeau for ma famille…

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crêpe time!

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Place de l’Ancienne Douane, Colmar

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My favourite stall!

On Saturday we took le train to Strasbourg, making a short detour via la boulangerie, for un croissant chocolat-banane, and the marché Place St. Joseph for some marshmallow-y supplies.

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Marché Place St. Joseph, Colmar

Strasbourg, comme d’habitude, was cloudy; de toute façon, we went up all 332-odd steps to see la vue panoramique.

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Après having a peek in the courtyard of le Palais Rohan, I showed Laurence the delightful hats with storks on top.

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Le Palais Rohan

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un chapeau spectaculaire

We continued to wander around Strasbourg, seeing encore plus de Christmas markets; perhaps it’s vrai that j’ai la manie de Christmas markets…but I call it giving a comprehensive, cultural tour of the self-proclaimed capitale de Noël.

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chocolate covered marshmallow: pain d’épices flavour

We saw Petite France (which, comme d’habitude, was filled with tourists) avant de commencing a food hunt.

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In the background, la maison des tanneurs

Having wandered around tous les marchés de Noël, nous étions un peu fatigués; obviously food was une priorité by this point, and Strasbourg did not disappoint. The marché Belge had the best frites outside of Belgium…and also seemed to play host to a procession of hommes dressed up as père Noël.

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trop délicieux

Après drinking un chocolat chaud (un peu too milky) and seeing a lit-up gingerbread man, we went to see the biggest Christmas market dans le noir. Laurence had une tasse de jus de raisin chaud (essentiellement, hot Ribena) whilst I opted for jus d’orange chaud. After satisfying all bratwurst and pretzel (both sucré and salé) needs and seeing the sapin de Noël in Place Kléber we headed back to Colmar.

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Back in Colmar, on est allé à la patinoire: no blisters cette fois! Ice skating was followed by Dominoes; how français, all I can say is that après plusieurs semaines without an oven, it was desperately needed.

Ice skating Colmar 20.12 (4)

à la patinoire

Yesterday, the final jour of le week-end, we went to Basel. I’m still utterly confused about la prononciation anglaise of the town’s name: ‘Bar-sel’, ‘Barl’, ‘Baa-l’…who knows? Le petit déjeuner consisted of un manala au chocolat; all these boulangerie delights vont me manquer.

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un manala au chocolat

After leaving suitcases in the lockers à la gare, on est allé en ville. We saw la fontaine Tinguely before walking down vers le Rhin. Next, we saw la vieille ville, which is très jolie, before heading to Münsterplatz to see the first Weihnachtsmarkt (of two, rather a cut down from the dix marchés de Noël in Strasbourg); there was a section pour les enfants, complete with un petit train, glass-blowing and une belle flambée which people were toasting bread on.

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Münsterplatz Christmas Market

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Frankfurter time for Laurence

Comme hier, we went up the cathedral spire; they were not having une blague when they told us it was narrow…it would have been far from amusant to meet someone coming the opposite way!

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la vue panoramique

Then, to recover from le vent froid at the top of la cathédrale we headed to the market in Barfüsserplatz for an apfelpunch heiss; a warm apple flavoured drink. J’ai trouvé an insanely good Toblerone doughnut: malheureusement, doughnuts will never be the same again. Next on the agenda was a chocolat chaud; the boot-shaped mugs were trop mignon to return, so I now own trois festive cups from this year’s Christmas market trips.

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Barfüsserplatz

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Toblerone doughnut

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chocolat chaud

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Vers 5pm, il faisait nuit…so after a last wander around the Christmas market we headed towards la gare and took the bus to the Euroairport. C’était un week-end super; after presque four months of seeing each other via the wonder of Skype, nothing beats an actual visit. My flight home arrived en Angleterre earlier than expected, and after a battle with the automated passport checkers I was met at arrivals par toute ma famille.

Joyeux Noël, Bonnes Fêtes & Merry Christmas…

…et à l’année prochaine!

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