Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The French Love Their Markets, Especially During Noël!

Hello again, folks!  I do apologize again for the extreme delay on getting back into the groove of blogging, but as many of you know, my beloved computer (which I bought from a friend for 100 bucks, no less), has officially bit the dust!  Hèlas, said blog posts are slow in coming (darn you, French Keyboards, and your misplaced "q" 's!).  But I will persevere!  Alors...
It's Noël time here in France, and in the true spirit of the Holidays, The Hexagon (aka France) has capitalized, just like us 'Muricans (that's "Americans" in Southern Twang accent for y'all), in living up the Holiday spirit with a Marché de Noël, a Holiday Market!
That's right, markets filled with vendors selling everything from Chocolate, to Spiced Wine, to jewelry, completely filling the Place du Ralliment in downtown Angers!  Although the tiny house-shaped vending booths are painted the American traditional colors of red and green, my friends and I noticed that the French tend to focus on blues, whites, and silvers to partake in the Holiday spirit.  Actually, there were a lot of differences we found during our visit to the marché's opening.  For example:

Get your umbrellas ready, 'cause there isn't a snowflake to be found in this part of France, just a bunch of rain!

The French apparently use any excuse (as they should!) to put a carousel in the middle of town.  When I met my friends downtown one day before the festivities began before the marché closed for the season, I found them riding horses and giggling like little kids:

The French even embrace the exotic with their Holiday Spirit.  The opening ceremony consisted of women dressed in lit-up costumes, walking on stilts, meandering through the crowd with a band playing the steel drums:
But the best part for me was the lights.  I decided to stay in France until the New Year in order to try and take in as much French culture as possible before I absolutely had to come back to start Spring semester back in the States, and I was very happy to see that, at least in the downtown areas, France really gets decked out!
She makes dancing on stilts look so easy!

The Holidays France-Style, complete with steel drums, tambourines, and girls wearing dresses with lights while dancing on stilts!
Lights? Check.  Churros?  Nada :(

This, to me, is especially nice, because someone very close to me who shall not be named (*cough cough* Dad! *cough*) dresses the house up more than three girls getting ready for prom!  At one point during my childhood, I specifically remember the phone ringing one night.  I answered it, and on the other end was a woman asking if ours was "the house with all the lights".  Considering, at this point during my dad's heyday, that there were over 10,000 tiny bulbs stuck onto every imaginable surface on the house, not including on half of the trees in my parents backyard, the garage, the TV antenna, and all the bushes up front, as well as animatronic deer, lightrope trees, and two (or three, I can't remember) inflatable "waterglobes" in the front yard, I answered "probably!"  The woman explained that she could see our house from across town, and that she was always happy to see that by the time she came home exhausted after work, she would see our house all lit up, and immediately felt recharged. 

Yep.  Pops is the Griswold of rural Ohio.

So while I'm not around to see how many electrical transformers my father can single-handedly blow up this season, I restarted my quest for those elusive little funnel-cake-like straws, churros!  Those of you who have read my Thanksgiving post will remember that I struggled, in vain, to mange these little buggers as a "at-least-it-tastes-kinda-American" food for Turkey Day, and, unfortunately, during my first attempt to end my quest to successfully eat these Spanish/French fried wonders, I failed yet again!

But I was not so thwarted by the second round, and enfin, I had my churros!  Better late than never,  I say!  So on this note, after successful churro-munchage, I will show some of the other goodies one can find in the marché.  I was able to take a couple of good photos of the venders after explaining that I was a blogeuse (a female blogger), albeit with an obviously not French accent. 

I love seeing the colors of the dried fruit!

Is she smiling because I told her I was blogging about this, or because she's completely surrounded by chocolate?  You decide :)

You can always tell when someone starts giving out free samples...

  Bon Noël à tous!

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