Christmas season in Carcassonne (Le Magie de Noël, The Magic of Christmas) is so festive and delightful, with a month of Christmas markets, music, events, lights, and vin chaud (mulled red wine.)
Here’s a little peek into a few of the simple pleasures that Jeff and I enjoyed during the Christmas season. Happy New Year (Bonne Année) everyone!
Christmas merriment starts Dec. 6 — it’s Feast Day of St. Nicholas and also the day that our Christmas Markets open!
This was the first year Jeff and I walked in La Marche aux Flambeaux (The Torchlight March). Hundreds and hundreds of people marching with lighted torches from La Cité to La Bastide’s Place Carnot. It was absolutely amazing to see torch lights in front of us and behind us, as far as we could see.
I enjoyed another Christmas delight with my friend Carroll: Le Rooftop de Noël, Carcassonne’s Christmas Sky Bar with beautiful views of La Cité.
I was lucky enough to stop into Cathédrale Saint-Michel during the children’s mass. (The cathedral was first built in the 1200s as a parish church.)
After going out to a movie, Jeff and I stopped by Le Marché de Noël et la Patinoire (The Christmas Market and the Ice Rink) for vin chaud, duck, escargot and cheese fondue. Love stopping here throughout December!
Here’s a beautiful view of the Christmas Market and Ice Rink on Place Carnot – my friend Joëlle took this from her apartment.
What do you do if it’s a 60 degree Christmas day? Take a bike ride on the Canal du Midi, of course!
After our bike ride, what fun! We rode Carcassonne’s Christmas ferris wheel (La Grand Roue) for absolutely amazing views of La Cité.
Le Parc du Père Noël (The Park of Father Christmas) – Loaded with rides for kids – what fun childhood memories! (The Park is across the Canal du Midi from the train station.) That’s where we rode the ferris wheel.
I made one of my favorite dishes — duck leg confit over roasted potatoes — for our Christmas dinner main course. I buy the duck and potatoes at our Saturday farmers’ market.
Jeff and I went to our medieval walled city, La Cité, and took the audio-guide tour of Chateau Comtal, the “castle within the castle.” It was so fun to remind ourselves of La Cité’s amazing 2000+ year old history. While entrance is free for most of the medieval walled city, entrance into Chateau Comtal costs 9 euros (7 euros with a discount card) and the audio guide is and additional 3 euros.
Below: View of one of the barbacanes from inside Chateau Comtal
New Year’s Eve
I went to La Bastide to buy escargots from Burgundy for our New Year’s Eve dinner. (We learned from a friend that this is the only time of year that Burgundian Escargot are available here, and they are fabulous!) It was so fun to feel the hustle and bustle of town, with everyone scrambling to gather their last minute ingredients for their réveillon du Nouvel an (New Year’s Eve) dinners. Below are two of the many lines at shops in La Bastide.
Our New Year’s Eve dinner starter — delicious Escargots de Bourgogne
La Cité at night, as seen from Pont Vieux (the Old Bridge.)
What a merry Christmas season it was!
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