Joyeux Noël du sud de la France
To all our family and friends at this special time of year:
The climate in le sud de la France is not exactly what most of us think of at Christmas. But, among evergreens and palm trees (and daytime temperatures up to 17C), Saint Chinian celebrates the spirit of Noël with sparkling lights.
Many of the local shops decorate their windows to add to the Noël ambiance.
Santa Claus is Père Noël here. He wanders the craft markets and neighborhoods on special days, handing out candies to les enfants. One Père Noël we came across in a nearby town looked a bit more like Mère Noël, but, whatever.
Of course Père Noël does not arrive in a sleigh drawn by reindeer. And houses here do not always have fireplaces. So, he has to be a bit more adventurous in getting into les maisons to deliver les cadeaux to les enfants.
How many Père Noëls are there anyway? He must have a lot of helpers.
Saint Chinian has une École de Musique and les enfants join the local choir for un Concert de Noël.
Notre maison also has lots of lights. Deidre climbed the stairs up to the attic where, besides birds flying in and out, she found a box of Christmas decorations, including three strings of twinky lights. The structure on the fireplace mantle is a piece of grape vine trunk. These are often lying around vineyards that are being renovated. Yes, they do renovate vineyards but we will explain that in another Blog.
That little cardboard Christmas tree is one Deidre’s family bought for a family Christmas in Amalfi, Italy, in 1986. It travels with us folded flat in the suitcase.
Good friends are a recommended seasonal addition. Enjoying Martinis with our newly acquired Noilly Prat vermouth from one of our “out and about” adventures.
Lots of local wines, local cheeses (in this case Roquefort, another specialty of the “neighborhood”), and local produce (dried figs, olives, hazelnuts) are always in good supply. Food for foodies.
So, here we are, living the good life in le sud de la France, enjoying un Joyeux Noël, and thinking of family and friends wherever they are. We love you all and wish you the very best of the season and une Bonne Année.
Deidre and Murray/Mum and Dad/Grammie and Gram