The decorations are up. The shoppers are out. And, for the kids, the Magic of Noël is in full swing.
The rides for the littlest ones are concentrated at Parc André Chenier, next to the Canal du Midi. The city put up an appropriately impressive entrance, and the whole thing is ringed in, I suppose for security. But it’s also a good idea as far as limiting escape routes for little ones who wander off.
My favorite has kids in the kindergarten-and-below range atop reindeer that bounce at a stately pace along a rail that winds through a forest of flocked Christmas trees. I could stand there all day watching their faces full of excitement. But between the trees and the bouncing not one of my photos came out.
The skating rink at Place Carnot in the center of Carcassonne has grown over the years, now wrapping around the statue of poor shirtless Neptune atop his fountain, which is covered with fake icicles. Temperatures have been in the mid-60s this week.
Even the skating rink has a tough time of it, with one corner that gets a bit more sun tending to melt into slush. Check out the skater in a tank top!
Around the skating rink, chalets sell potential Christmas presents, from light-up skateboards to handmade leather belts to jewelry to scarves, as well as food and drink.
The chalets and rink have displaced the market, but they make a festive backdrop. It feels like a big party. Maybe because the chalets, and the cafés around the square, are about taking a break from shopping, about meeting up with friends. A little respite from consumerism.