My house mate reminded us all the other day that Saint Nicholas would be coming on the eve of St Nicholas day (6th December) and so to put a shoe outside of our door. Apparently in many countries in Europe it is a big event for children that Saint Nicholas comes to your house to see whether you’ve been good or bad this year, if you have been good then he leaves you with sweeties and maybe gifts. I find it strange though how it’s such a big deal to our European neighbours but us Brits know absolutely nothing about it, however despite my ignorance I woke up this morning to a pile of chocolate and sweets in my shoe, as well as treats dotted around the house in all of our nooks and crannies. I WAS LIKE A CHILD I WAS ABSOLUTELY LOVING IT.
To say I was excited to go to the Christmas market in Toulouse is a minor understatement. It opened a week ago, and since coming back from the UK last weekend I’ve been desperate to see all the little stalls and get in the festive mood. So, having spent the entire day in bed (I am not joking, not even my bedroom saw daylight until about 4pm) it seemed like a good idea to go and get some fresh air and have a wander.
It feels weird to see Capitole square looking SO different to usual. Normally its a mostly empty space with people taking pictures and generally wandering around, but now it is full to the brim with stalls and lights, which is GREAT don’t get me wrong, just a bit bizarre at first to get used to! Upon approaching I could smell what I can only describe as a Firework night, it’s so nostalgic.
So me and my two pals had a nice stroll through the little stalls although it was packed and so not always possible to get close to the stalls to have a good look. The food stalls looked to die for, and I’ve kind of planned to come back on several occasions just so I can try the amazing smelling food stalls one by one. Crepes, Tartiflette, Saucisson and some sort of glorified Cheese on Toast (tartine fromage?), my mouth just waters. We bought a nice cup of ‘vin chaud’ (mulled wine basically) to warm us up a little bit and I grabbed some roasted chestnuts having discovered what I’ve been missing out on when I tried one for the first time a couple of weeks ago. It turns out they are difficult to eat when you only have one hand free.
On the inside of the Capitole building you can go to see Father Christmas (eee!), and there is also a huge teddy bear tower. My favourite part however is that there are Christmas trees on which you can hang a decoration that you’ve written what you want for Christmas on. Literally some of the things children had written was about to make me blub, although it could have been the vin chaud.
When I got in my house mate had made ‘Crozziflette’, a dish from his region Savoie, which is basically pasta, cheese, ham, cheese and more cheese and was pretty darn amazing. They don’t mess around with cheese in France… I often wonder if there’s anyone here that actually doesn’t like cheese or if that is just a straight out criminal offence.
Overall I’ve had a brilliant day, but I have absolutely no doubt that I will be back at the Christmas market many many more times before going back to the UK for Christmas. I think it could be the new Garonne!