trainThe decorations are up. The shoppers are out. And, for the kids, the Magic of Noël is in full swing.

slide-curved
A big slide

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.

kiddie-entranceMy 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.

merry-go-round
Gorgeous…and sponsor free.
tree-ride
A tree whose ornaments go up and down as it goes around. 
slide-straight
Previously, there was “sledding” on polystyrene hills, a little one for the small kids and a big one for the break-necks. As the palm tree in the top photo suggests, it doesn’t snow much here.
roller-coaster
A modestly sized roller coaster for the slightly bigger kids.
ferris-wheel
La Grande Roue, for excellent views. Right next to the canal.

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.

santons
Santons, figures of traditional métiers, to add to a crêche.
bonbons
Candied apples are called pomme d’amour–love apples–in French.
marrons
Chestnuts roasting on a fire inside the “engine”
nougat
Nougat candies….the little sign says porte bonheur–lucky charm.
t-shirt
Chalets with little tables for consuming fresh oysters with white wine, aligot, tartiflette (both cheesy potatoes, just different styles), crêpes, grilled sausages and more. Check out the range of clothing–T-shirt vs. parka and boots.

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.

market

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25 thoughts on “Christmas in Carcassonne

  1. Ah, I do miss having little ones around at this time of year (only at this time of year!) But my kids are too old for such fun, and so far too young to provide us with their own offspring. I must say Christmas in Carcassonne looks like a lot of fun! I’d have a go at that skating rink!

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  2. Looks like lots of fun and something the kids no doubt look forward to all year. Is that a real Roman column with wires running from it to the rides in one of those pictures?

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  3. Isnt Christmas wonderful, although I dont like this time of year or rather the run up to Christmas but once it gets going and the deckies go up I am just like a little kid, sadly we dont have anything like you have there going on as we are very rural…. I have never been brave enough to try oysters though and probably never will, 🐍

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  4. I love the Christmas villages that are set up. The first time that I saw one with the skating rinks in Nice and the people skating I could not believe it. It’s so wonderful that the towns and cities make a special effort to make Christmas magical. The illuminations are a treat also.

    Ali

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  5. That looks like such fun. The Ferris wheel, and I love the glacé slide. The no-sponsor part is excellent, too. Adding santons to my shopping list.

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    1. I have lusted after santons for a long time, but they are pricey. Mostly handmade, though. The Ferris wheel (you get points for the capitalization!!!) was on Place Gambetta one year and I went up a few times in order to get a bird’s eye view of the hidden courtyards. I haven’t tried the canalside location yet. Maybe tomorrow.

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  6. Jumping around your blog now! It’s the chalets that have always attracted me and my grown up kids; the mulled wine, the champagne, oysters, the mulled wine, half lobster, sausages, the mulled wine, …. We spent Christmas in Brussels two years ago and the markets and light show were spectacular. Did I mention the mulled wine?

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