Noël à Toulouse

Bonjour à tous et une très bonne année à vous ! J’espère que vous avez tous passé de bonnes vacances avec votre famille et vos amis.

Returning home to Scotland for Christmas was a little bit tricky this year because of the Covid-19 situation and the constant changing travel restrictions between France and the UK but, thankfully, I tested negative and was able to spend the holidays with my loved ones at home – quel soulagement !

However, before I returned home I got to experience some of the Christmas festivities that Toulouse has to offer and I’d like to share that with you in this post.

The Christmas period kicked off this year in Toulouse on Friday 26th November with the streets being decked out in jolies lumières, as well as the opening of the marché de Noël at the Place du Capitole, the heart of Toulouse’s city centre.

Developed in the 19th century, the Place du Capitole is modeled after the famous square in Madrid. It covers two hectares, making it the city’s largest square and the focal point of many public events in Toulouse – hence it is the perfect location for the Christmas market.

From handcrafted goods and decorations to sweet treats and food, Toulouse Christmas Market had a plethora of stalls to explore – there was something for everyone!

I visited the market several times with my friends during December and, consequently, had the opportunity to try a wide range of of foods – some of which were specialties of Toulouse and the South-West region of France.

Aligot

This hearty, fondue-like dish from the Aveyron department of South-Western France is made from mashed potatoes blended with butter, cream, garlic and melted cheese to form a smooth, elastic texture like you can see in the video above. This was one of my favourite foods on offer as it was extremely tasty but equally as indulgent so a small portion was enough to share between three!

Saucisse de Toulouse

Saucisse de Toulouse is a fresh sausage made from pork, salt, pepper and various additives (often wine, garlic and other herbs and spices). It has a rich, strong flavour and is most famously used in Cassoulet, a rich casserole dish from Southern France.

Pastel de Nata

Finished with a dusting of cinnamon, these Portuguese egg custard tarts are perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Crispy, flaky pastry forms a case for a soft, sweet custard filling which is simply to die for.

La Patinoire

As well as the various market stalls, during the festive period the Place du Capitole is also home to une patinoire. For €5, we were able to hire patins à glace for a 50 minute skating session. Ice-skating was a hobby of mine in my early teens so I was thrilled to be able to go skating with my friends. I was definitely nervous at first as it had been a while since I was last on the ice but I very quickly found my bearings. As you can see in the last photo, it was a little bit more difficult for my friend qui est tombée ! Thankfully, she wasn’t hurt and that was our only casualty of the day.

I typically spend the festive period in Scotland so I feel very fortunate that I was able to experience the build-up to Christmas in France and try things that I normally would not have had the opportunity to do.

If you have any questions about Christmas in France, or any requests for blog posts, feel free to leave them below in the comments and I’d be happy to answer them! My friends and I are currently planning a trip to Andorra, a small principality situated in the Pyrenees mountains, so I hope to share details and photos of that trip with you all in my next post.

À la prochaine fois,

Erica 🙂

Vocabulaire

Bonne Année – Happy New Year

Quel soulagement – What a relief

Jolies lumières – Pretty lights

Marchés de Noël – Christmas Markets

Une Patinoire – An Ice Rink

Patins à glace – Ice Skates

Tomber – To fall

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