Pre-Christmas in the South of France 2013
Note: We are in the South of France near the Italian border. We’ll bring you up to speed with a new segment of blogs soon – after Christmas.
Sunday, December 22, 2013
Today, when Swiss light the fourth candle on their Advent wreaths and Nevada City has the last of its famous Victorian Christmas markets, we too brought a little pre-Christmas spirit into our Turtle home. A small Poinsettia, The Turtle and a simple arrangement are decorating the table. The four candles are lit and the little red Christmas tree is reflecting in their light. We are sipping a glass of French wine and enjoying a piece of Italian Panettone. Christmas music is playing in the background. As you can see, we are safe, warm and content…..
Pre-Christmas season in the South of France is mellower than in the States. City streets are decorated and grocery stores are displaying all the traditional Christmas foods like fois gras (f. ex. goose liver), pain d’épis (spice bread), peeled canned chestnuts, oysters in baskets, escargot (stuffed snails), lobster, scallops, sea urchin, crab and giant shrimp, lamb, rabbit, goose, Bûche de Noël (Yule log), panettone, seasonal soft cheeses, dried fruit and nuts, chocolates, etc. What’s lacking is the constant drizzle of Christmas music. We certainly don’t miss it.
On Christmas Eve, Père Noël (Father Christmas) also enters the homes through the chimney but he does not seem to have the luxury of a reindeer-pulled sled instead, he arrives with a donkey named Gui (French for Mistletoe). Children fill their shoes full of carrots and treats for Gui. Père Noël takes their offerings and replaces them with small gifts. Now we understand why we have spotted Santas clinging on a rope from windows and balconies…..we think it’s not the Mediterranean diet that keeps him slim but all the rope climbing….
We were fascinated with all the tempting gourmet foods on display in the supermarkets.