Who would think it's Christmas Eve day here, what with sunny skies and 12 degree C temperatures in Annecy and surrounding area? I hope you are enjoying your day and preparing for a night with loved ones. My hubby is flying tonight, alas, but he'll be home tomorrow afternoon, so in honour of Christmas Eve, I thought I'd show you around the holiday market that's been in the old town since early December and runs until the first week of January.
The market has stalls whose vendors sell everything from gourmet goodies and handmade artisanal goods to cheap jewellery and local food. Don't let the quietness of the market today fool you. I snapped these around lunchtime, which in France is between 12-2p.m., sometimes even to 2:30, and every one was in the restaurants eating (the restos promptly close after 2, so getting a meal, let alone a snack, is next to impossible until dinner starts at 7 or 8).
This morning, after saying bye-bye to hubby, I went to the butcher to pick up the turkey we had ordered on Saturday. We're not huge meat-eaters (a sin in France), but it's custom for us both to have turkey for Christmas. The food shops were packed. As you may already know, the French take their food, and wine, very seriously. Shops are normally closed Sunday and Monday, but they were open yesterday and are open today not so much that people can run around and buy gifts - no, I'd say the main purpose is so people can buy the food they need for their holiday dinners, which traditionally are celebrated on Christmas Eve in France.
Yesterday while buying wine for our dinner tomorrow night, I said to the gent in the wine shop across the way, in French of course, that I wanted a red to go with the turkey (**dinde** in French), and also a white. When he asked what the white was to go with, I almost said in French, ``Nothing, it's to get pissed.`` But the French wouldn`t understand the concept of a person drinking wine around meal-time without food, so I caved and answered cheese, maybe the turkey too. Sometimes it is **plus facile** to pretend you have fully internalized the French ethic!
Back to the market. SPOILER ALERT: Hubby, if you are reading this, stop right now or one of your pressies will NOT be a surprise (hey, you keep telling me you prefer surprises)!! Yesterday I was thrilled to find, at the stall to the right in this pic, a women (the blond-haired one) from Quebec City in Canada selling ... Canadian beer!!! Yay! Perfect man pressie as hubby loved sampling Canuck beers when he visited. She's there until the 30th so hubby can stock up if he so chooses.
Apologies for the blur in the centre of this and several pics to follow. I took these the other day with hubby and, like an idiot, somehow managed to do what I do every time I use his camera: smudge a finger print right in the centre of the viewer!
I wanted to show you a few of the shops and restos/bars on our street as they are decked out so beautifully for the holidays. Lots of natural greenery and such. This is where we buy our jams.
One of our fave restos, literally a 5-second crawl from ours. Inside the decor is bohemian-chalet-chic, very cosy and welcoming, and the menu is good considering it's in the old town - not so very touristy that it`s utterly boring (fondue upon fondue in the old town is the norm - and can get tired quickly), yet not so wholly French that I can't eat the food (sorry, foie gras isn't my thing, nor are frog's legs).
A touristy shop but I just loved the greenery on the old arches. Parts of the old town were around in the 12th century, but these arches appeared in the 18th century, if memory serves.
Even the rubby-dub bar, where all the old gents go to get hosed (well, the drinks are cheap so we spent some time on the patio in the summer too) is all decked out.
This isn`t very Christmasy-looking, but I had to snap a pic of this wee patio as it looks so pretty and inviting.
Look - even the blue candle holder matches the cushions! The inside looks very cozy, and the menu good, so hubby and I will have to try it in the New Year.
I was going to make myself some squash soup tonight, but souvlaki is calling me, and this Greek place in the old town (for all I know, the only Greek place in Annecy) is open tonight. I used to live in Greek Town in Toronto, and boy do I miss the `hood, not to mention the food. With its blue awning, the place looks exactly like the restos I`m accustomed to in T.O.
I must dash out to buy some artisan-made chocolate for hubby`s stocking before the shops close (hopefully the crowds will have abated by now. My theory is the French are all at home just starting their cooking at this hour). But before I do here`s a peep at a vintage goodie, a gorg multi-hued velvet purse with neat structural shape, courtesy of Etsy, that I found in my box this morning. It`s under the tree and can be a pressie to me, from me. I don`t mind at all that it`s a little beat up and bought it knowing this. Perfection isn`t important to the Grunge Queen, but coolness, colour, texture and items that are just plain different are!
I may add a post-script photo or two when I return as Annecy at Christmas, at dusk, is pure magic. In the meantime, I hope you and yours have the loveliest of holiday seasons, whatever your tradition.