Hearing about the first snowfall in Illinois has made me miss snow a little bit. I still have some heavy-duty winter clothes I haven't been able to wear yet here in Poitiers. But then, a winter weather advisory for Chicago brought me back to reality.
So, there's no snow, and the ice rink in front of L'Hotel de Ville (City Hall) melts once in a while, but it could be worse. Since the weather does not seem especially Christmasy, the town has done its best to put everyone in the holiday mood. There is an outdoor Christmas Market (with rides and ice rink) in front of L'Hotel de Ville, and most of the shops were open this past Sunday despite the French ban on opening on Sunday.
The shops along the street where we live seem to be doing pretty good business (what recession?). However, to prevent you from having to go home periodically to do those daily, mundane things (like listening to Christmas music, eating sugary gluten, or riding your pony), the town has cheerfully provided these amenities to improve your shopping experience.
As we mentioned a few weeks ago, there are speakers playing Christmas music conveniently located every 100 ft or so along the pedestrian streets where most of the shops are located.
also called "Churros"--long thin crispy batons of dough), along with pretty much anything else you can put Nutella on: waffles, crêpes, and doughnuts (which they call "beignets," but bear little resemblance to New Orleans-style beignets). Jeff decided to opt for a crêpe with "chocolat maison" (house chocolate--a darker, less sweet blend than Nutella)
and Rebecca (who is gluten-free) had to be content just to watch as they were being made.
And, for the adults, in case the kids get too much Nutella and can't stand still, they can ride around on one of those donkeys (or pygmy horses?--any animal experts reading?), spin around on the carousel, or fall down on the ice for a while until they calm down.
Another crucial component of the French holiday season--especially for the adults--is vin chaud (mulled wine); vin chaud is so important in fact, that we will be dedicating an entire post to the topic...
so, until then, stay warm and stay tuned.