I feel very lucky to be in Toulouse around this time. Unlike passing tourists, just visiting for the weekend and experiencing a sliver of the city, we get to live here and see every side of Toulouse during every season.
Fall is definitely gone. The crisp, sunny days have been replaced with something markedly more overcast. In a way, I’m glad because I don’t feel
guilty for staying under the blankets all day lesson planning. But I’m also glad because the dreariness has been heavily offset by Christmas cheer all over the city.
Almost overnight, lighting has been hung, shops have been decorated, and mini Christmas trees line the streets.
Like many European cities, Toulouse has a marché de Noël. There are several throughout the city, but the largest is set up in Place du Capitole.
Here, there are at least 100 white tents selling vin chaud, pretzels, beer, spices, and gifts of all kinds. During the day, you have more of a chance to browse at your leisure, but come nightfall, the crowds are so intense that it’s better to just let them pull you down the aisles like a strong current.
Besides vin chaud, something you must treat yourself to is aligot. Specific to southern France, this dish is made from mashed potatoes blended with butter, cream, crushed garlic, and melted cheese. It’s often served with sausage or roast pork and it’s also liquid gold.
After walking through the market last night, Daniel and I rode bikes over to Rue d’Alsace Lorraine, the large shopping thoroughfare where I had heard there were impressive Christmas lights. It was true!
I visited the Christmas market along Allées Jules-Guesde this afternoon after work. It’s smaller than the Capitole market, but with more locally made items.