Thursday, December 7, 2017

December - Christmas Market in Bordeaux

Bordeaux & its Christmas Market

Now that I've been here in Bordeaux for 6 years, I have come to appreciate many of its Christmas traditions.  I have seen some events come and go like any city, but many events stay and traditionnally appear every year.  One being, all the lights and decorations that go up around the city and another the annual Christmas market set up in Allee Tourney located just down from the Place de La Comedie & Grand Theatre.  This event is traditionally held each year and any French person you speak to, often talk about the Christmas market.
This afternoon I had the opportunity to wander around a bit on my own.  The market is open everyday through December 26 from 10h30 am to 20h or 21h on Friday and Saturday nights.   The ambiance is fun, festive and there are some very creative artisans and some traditional ones also.
 It's less crowded during the weekdays - but by late afternoons and early evening, especially on Friday and Saturday nights it's packed with standing room only.  I have seen this year after year.  The girls and I will be venturing out this Friday evening to enjoy it all together with all the lights of the city.
Love the Beer choices here at this stand
 In addition to the many artisans, there is food and drinks served too.  Traditional drink, mulled wine or Vin Chaud.  It's tradition here to order a cup and then walk around the market drinking it.  There is nothing like that festive feeling, day or night.
Traditional Vin Chaud - Mulled wine
 Another very traditional booth/display at the Christmas market are the Santons or creche pieces.  These are beautiful works of art and mainly come from the Provence area of France.  Many people will add to their collections year after year with these beautiful figurines, mainly depicting the bible scene of Jesus' birth.  French families will display these in a creche, on a mantle, on a window sill or even a holiday table.  
 One can find all sorts of unique gifts here at the Christmas market.  Anything from scarfs, jewelry, pottery, regional products, artwork, sculptures - it all can be found here.  Always a treat to wander around and see what each year brings.  I have seen some of the same artisans return, year and year and many new ones too.
 It's not just local either, the booth below was all kinds of products from Canada!  Especially Quebec.  For my American friends, there was also a Yankee Candle booth this year. 
Canadian Booth
 I adore this market and the festive feeling one gets just wandering through.  It's becoming one of my favorite Christmas traditions here.  I love browsing during the day but it's also amazing in the evening with a totally different vibe! 

Bordeaux is just one example of these French Christmas markets - other cities have them too and even small towns will hold theirs over a single weekend.  There is one coming up the weekend in the village of Saint Emilion.  It's a fun way to bring on the Christmas spirit.  Larger ones like this one also have Pere Noel (Santa Claus) appearing in the evenings and on the weekends - making this place even more family friendly! 

Hope you enjoyed the photo tour, would love to hear if you have enjoyed any of these markets before.  Have a lovely afternoon.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Fall update from Bordeaux, School, Work and the beauty of the region- Where has the time gone?

Cap Ferret, Work, Back to school, moving.....
Cap Ferret - looking at the Dune du Pyla

Where has the time gone? It seems to pass at warp speed these days!!  I have finally have found some time to focus on the blog a bit, now that it's slow tourist season.  Additionally, it's giving me some time to settle in, and unpack the new house.

I'll back up a bit....if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might be aware that I moved into a new house about 6 weeks ago.  This move a bit complicated by the fact that Bordeaux is a highly desirable place to live these days and it's highly competitive to find housing to rent.

Luckily, I was able to take my time to find the right place - about 5 months!  But that's another post - and I promise I will include more photos of the new house - which I adore!!

We have been enjoying a warm and sunny Fall here in Bordeaux.  It's the end of November and yes, it's finally getting cold...but as I look back on our Fall - it was quite fun.  I'm looking forward to the holiday season which is right here - I adore the lights and festivities of the season.
My youngest and me enjoying some family time during vacation.
The girls are now in High school (Premier/or 11th grade, 4eme or 8th grade and CM2 or 5th grade).  I have one in each school - elementary, middle and high school.  We are still in Pessac and they are in general all happy with their classes.  My youngest changed schools this year - so she would be with students who will be going to the same middle school next year.  She's adjusted very well. We had Fall break in October and my youngest daughter , was even able to spend a few days at work with me..  She enjoyed following her mother around French markets, touring a wine chateau and walking through a medieval village. (If you are one of my Viking clients and you are reading might have seen her and all her energy!)

We did enjoy some family touring out on Cap Ferret and in Bordeaux also during break.  Truthfully, there is so much here and around us - it's nice to do a bit of a stay-cation.  Also, as my 2 older daughters are more and more independent - they love spending time with their friends, so it's harder to do things as a complete family. So I take what I can get and we have been able to enjoy some fun moments together.

Always fun to bring my daughter to work!

Art Museum in Libourne - a third statue!
For me this Fall, it was a bit of non-stop work, as guides we were in high demand and often worked many days straight.  I adore touring clients through the wine regions of the Medoc, Saint Emilion, Pomerol and Sauternes.  Mixing in history of the region and city balanced out my weeks.  Then there was always the nice trips to see the Oyster farmers in the Arcachon Bassin.  Again, so much to see and so little time often!  Balance all that touring with a move and starting a new school year and I very much enjoyed those great wine tastings!!  (and then some!!)
Chateau Giscours - Tasting and tour with clients
Chateau Siaurac - always peaceful to walk through the parc 
 My plan is to continue sharing our life and this region with you.  I have so many fun photos to share and great areas that I've just visited:  like Cognac and Pineau, a visit to Cap Ferret, a listing of some wonderful wine vineyards that do an impressive job with tourism, our vacations this summer in the Alps, Lyon, & Marseilles.. .We will be touring around France with my various posts....this is just beginning so stay tuned, as they say!

In the mean time, are you planning to visit Bordeaux sometime soon?  or even to France?  How's your French?

Just for taking the time to read this update - I wanted to offer a special - one month free of French lessons with Frantastique.  I love this program as it's great for all levels - it will assess your level and then give you the lessons you need.  If you are a beginner - or even if you are just looking for a refresher:  It's perfect - plus you can do it on your own time - all on-line.

Have a great rest of the week - and Happy Weekend.  Stop by again soon!  

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