Christmas Markets & French Festivities


We’re racing towards Christmas. Driving through our small local villages is truly a wondrous experience; no decorations are quite the same, and in many places there are twinkling lights in abundance


A few kilometres from where we live I pass this Christmas tree outside the Mairie each day on my school run; it might not be perfect but it was decorated by the children from the local pre-school and for that reason alone I love it.


Les boulangeries have decorated their windows with wintry scenes. A sense of festivity flows out from every street corner and yet, incredibly, there is also an overall feeling of peace and calm.


Nothing is hurried; if you ask any local if they are ready for Christmas they will most likely smile and say no, but no one seems in the least bit concerned. Everything will get done in the fullness of time; it’s this lack of pressure that is so appealing and probably the reason why the atmosphere is so special.

One of the highlights of the holidays here is our wonderful open-air ice-skating rink which transforms the Place Colbert in the centre of Rochefort into a winter wonderland for December and the beginning of January.


It is advertised as one of the ten most beautiful rinks in France and I couldn’t disagree with that. It is framed on all four sides by architecture dating back as far as the 17th Century which makes for a stupendous setting and it is enormous; somehow this year they have squeezed in an extra 110 square metres of ice, pushing the boundaries to their absolute maximum.




There is a restaurant at either end, perfect places for a little ‘aprés-skate’ or just to soak up the winter sun


and wooden chalets, temporarily  in situ for the holidays, selling locally made artisanal products.


The carousel might be a magical place for young children but it also never fails to make me smile too as I remember the many many times I have ridden on one holding a small child with a grin stretching from ear to ear!


Yesterday I was in Saintes with Gigi and was more than happy to have an hour to spare so we could wander around another Christmas village. A couple of weeks ago I showed you the white chalets which had been put in place but were empty and deserted. Last weekend, they opened for the first time, the bare earth has been filled with trees and the whole area has been completely transformed to mimic a snowy paradise. I have spoken to many French friends and they all have said how they adore shopping at these Christmas markets. In glorious sunshine it felt more like spring than mid December as we wandered towards the marché and small skating rink,


looking to our left across the river we were somewhat surprised to see sculptures of icebergs complete with penguins!


This gave us an inkling of what was to come as we entered the Christmas village beside the Roman arch, (the signs we had seen advertised Les Noëls Blancs en Scandinavie). 


White matting had been placed all over the cobbles and sprinkled with very pale sand to resemble snow.


The next surprise was a polar bear



and then there was an igloo complete with modern chairs for relaxing – all in white of course


and then more penguins!


We wound our way through the Christmas trees; if you look closely you can see the icebergs on the far side of the riverp4930455

and we came to the first of the white chalets



each little building sold local specialities and crafts


each one was adorned with the head of a reindeer.


If you visit one of these markets, it’s good to be a little hungry for there are always plenty of refreshments, here they all had a French/Scandinavian flavour; hot mulled wine, hot chocolate with honey and cardamom, and hot orange juice with honey and spices.



and naturally, local homemade patisserie


and a charming florist who saw me taking the photo and stopped and chatted, laughing as she asked if she would be famous!


I so wish you could come here with me and join in the fun, instead I hope this virtual visit has added a little festive cheer to your day. I have to admit we are really enjoying getting into the Christmas spirit, most of all I love the conviviality wherever we go. Tomorrow school finishes. We shall bring our tree indoors and decorate it en famille in the evening. It’s our traditional start to the holidays and I’ll share it with you on Sunday. I can’t wait, I think I’m as excited as the children!

In the meantime if you want to see last year’s tree, I was delighted to be interviewed by Pat at ‘French Country Style from the Foot of the Rockies’, and you can read the post here.

See you on Sunday and have a lovely end to the week. x

123 thoughts on “Christmas Markets & French Festivities

    1. Thank you so much Pamela, I truly wish I could wander around with everyone, it is so magical and yet so serene, quite an enchanting combination, it’s difficult to describe how something can be so vibrant on the one hand and so calm on the other. Hope you have a lovely end to the week xx

  1. Oh you’ve certainly added some festive cheer as I drink my early morning coffee. The perfect start to my day, thank you and joyeux Noel

    1. Thank you so much Janet, a little festive cheer is always a good thing especially as we are now only ten days aways from Christmas, I think it’s time to feel excited and festive! xx

  2. Looks as beautiful in the winter as it does when we came in September!
    Merry Christmas to all at the ‘Hayes’ residence! Xx

    1. Thank you so much, it’s different at this time of year, much quieter, but then Rochefort is always buzzing and Saintes is beautiful. Hope you are enjoying your winter sun! Hugs to you both xx

    1. Thanks so much Kim, I agree, I love seeing how people celebrate around the world, everyone has their own style and traditions and each country does things differently. The tulips were just gorgeous, naturally a few came home with us! xx

    1. Thanks so much, it is so pretty here, understated and elegant and just right in my humble opinion! the skating is fantastic fun, such a great thing to look forward to every winter. xx

  3. Susan; you know THIS Christmas Market really draw me in – my very best memories however go back to German Xmas markets – they were the best. I’m never v impressed by the Champs Elysées’ stalls, sad to say, loved however our Swiss markets during the time I lived (back home, that is!)
    As for the time passing – I am NOT proud to admit that ZERO cards have been written and sent yet but I did do a lot of cheerful mails with thank you notes of received cards and goodies to the senders of cheer and joy…. AND they will get their card – in its own time (I really write only ever carefully chosen cards, many hand-made and all written personally, not just a phtocard sent to all and sundry). So, all know my cards WILL arrive, and they’ll surey arrive before Easter 🙂
    For now, sending much love and Christmas cheer

    1. I have heard so much about German Christmas markets and I also know the ones in the Alsace are meant to be truly fantastic too, perhaps one year we will venture further afield. I would imagine Swiss markets are very special, if they are anything like the rest of the country. Don’t worry about the Christmas cards, more importantly relax and have some festive fun yourself. Lots of Christmas cheer to you too xxx

  4. Thank you Susan for letting us share ( even if bough it’s through your camera lens) all that’s going on in your area , wonderful winter land. Enjoy decorating your tree en famille. Look forward to seeing it on your Sunday post.

    1. Thanks so much Barbara, and the best part is it will still all be up and running when you are here, albeit only for a few more days! Super excited for tomorrow, I love bringing the tree in, it’s always quite a milestone! Hope you are having a lovely time with your family xx

    1. Thanks so much Amanda, I am assuming by that you mean it is quiet with you? This is a hugely popular area with Parisians,so many have second homes here and many others live here full time, so it is quite a cosmopolitan area, at least the towns are, the villages are still quiet! Come on over and have some fun ice skating! xx

        1. Which department are you in? We were in Angouleme today, or rather we drove through it to a tennis court on the far side, it was absolutely buzzing with shoppers on a Sunday! xx

          1. Ah, we were in Bressuire a few weeks ago for a tennis tournament and will be again just after Christmas, about as far north as we have been recently! I don’t know the Deux Sevres at all I am ashamed to say!

  5. That IS a big rink! Ours has a fountain in the middle, which takes up a chunk of space but probably helps keep traffic going around instead of across. And there’s a corner that gets a lot of sun and melts faster than it can freeze. The cafés on the ends are a great idea. It’s nice to have a place to wait comfortably while the younger ones skate.
    I see that Gigi has the de rigueur giant neck wrap, like all stylish French teens.

    1. It is enormous, and often very crowded, the trick is to go in the morning, afternoons and evenings are really busy and as you say it gets very slushy, with temperatures hovering around 15C for the past two weeks and with the entire rink in full sun all afternoon, the poor machines simply cannot keep it cold enough! The cafes are of course there year round, in the summer I love them to look over the square and fountain, in the winter, it’s all about the ice! The obligatory giant neck wrap indeed and she is only 10, but they are so snuggly I rather like them, they even look good with tennis clothes!! xx

  6. What a lovely tour, I love ice skating and that rink does looks so pretty, much better than most I have seen and so empty – where are all the people?

    1. Thanks so much Jane, trust me the rink gets super busy in the afternoons and evenings, the trick is to go as it opens at 10am for the morning session, within an hour it will be busy but that first hour is always relatively quiet and one is able to really enjoy the ice and skate quite freely, plus the sun hasn’t warmed it up too much and there isn’t the afternoon slush! xx

  7. I love the arctic theme … largely because it isn’t in fact arctic in temperature. Not only does it look so charming, but it looks like you weren’t freezing your faces off.
    In comparison we are in a deep freeze with a -20C windchill with more ice and snow coming tomorrow. Doing anything outside is not something anyone looks forward to!

    1. OMG -20C with windchill is so cold, it has been around 15C all week here in the afternoons, but today was foggy most of the day and it hovered around 8C, that felt really cold! I don’t envy you quite such arctic conditions, stay warm and enjoy the festivities by the fire! xx

  8. Of course, I love the shot of those tulips at the end!!! But the white sculptures are fabulous….my daughter had/has a thing for penguins, so they are very special to all of us! And the ice skating rink is just wonderful. On a sunny, crisp day what better way to spend a few hours? Thanks for sharing with us!

    1. Thanks so much, the tulips were really beautiful and naturally some came home with us! The penguins were so funny and such a surprise as was the polar bear. We have been ice skating several times already, it’s a favourite family activity during the holidays and one we really look forward to each year. Have a wonderful end to the week xx

  9. What a delight this morning and so festive. I love your first photo the most, what is the building, is it used at all for anything? Enjoy your decorating, can’t wait till Sunday to read all about it xx

    1. Thanks so much Shari, the first building is an old renovated market hall from the 14th century. Sadly it is no longer used as a market but it is supremely pretty all the same. So looking forward to bringing the tree in tomorrow! Have a lovely end to the week xx

    1. I thought exactly the same thing Erin as we were walking around, I imagined what on earth they must be thinking if they were looking down on things! But it did make the most wonderful setting. xx

  10. Wonderful photos. As always, Susan, your post is a combination of elegance, humor and natural beauty. You fully appreciate the efforts of all around you to make a perfect holiday season. My favorite this time is that sweet little “Charlie Brown Christmas” type tree decorated by the children. How thoughtful of the teachers to leave it just the way the children made it and resist the urge to balance out the decorations!

    1. Thank you so much Ellen, I love that tree too, I see it every day, it’s far from perfect but is perfection in it’s own way, as you say, no one has made it look neat and tidy, it is just how the children chose to do it, like you, I love it. Have a wonderful end to the week xx

  11. This is the perfect post to read just before leaving for work. I love the enormous rink, as I love ice skating, and wouldn’t mind a bit of your warmth, as it’s frigid in the Chicago area through the beginning of next week. The market with the wooden chalets looks just like the Christkindelmarket that is this year in Naperville, where we live, as well as in downtown Chicago. Such fun, but ours has a German flavor. I like the white chalets, too. Looks like a wonderful Christmas season.


    1. Thanks so much Janet, you would love ice skating over here, it is warm, we end up in t shirts! The only negative is as the rink is in full sun it does tend to get very slushy by the afternoon, the poor ice machines just cannot keep it cold enough, but then it has been really mild here. German Christmas markets are always fantastic, hope you too are having a wonderful Christmas season, I love this time of year. xx

  12. Nothing says festive like twinkly lights! Thank you for sharing images from the villages as they prepare for Christmas. I love the idea of the slower pace to go along with the peacefulness of the season. Joyeux Noël❣️

    1. Thanks so much Monika, I adore twinkly lights, such a simple thing and yet it always looks so stunning. The slow relaxed approach to the festivities is truly wonderful, everyone has the time to stand and chat and everyone seems happy, this is definitely a great way to spend Christmas! Hope you have a peaceful and relaxed end to the week. xx

      1. Twinkly lights bring the innocent child out in all of us. We have been catching up with holiday baking and staying warm while all around us is frosty and cold. Whipped up some ‘ to stir in strong cups of coffee. Guaranteed to make you feel decadent.

        1. I totally agree with that. So now you have me guessing, what did you whip up, some holiday cookies? whatever, it sounds perfect. Stay warm, do you long for snow and a white Christmas? xx

      2. Ugh, I see the dictation feature missed a couple key words. Like whipped up some ‘chocolate spoons’ – which makes a big difference to understanding. *sigh* Here’s toward moving toward a swell weekend. Hope it’s grand!

        1. Oops, should have read through the rest of the comments before I replied! Now this makes perfect sense, chocolate spoons sound delicious, my children would adore these. can you give me the recipe? and here’s to a fantastic weekend to you too xx

  13. What a charming tour, Susan! Christmas is such a special time, here, and in France. The ice rink looks beautiful, I have such fond memories of the great skating we did when our family lived near Haarlem. I love the decorated tree, isn’t it magical to see Christmas through children’s eyes? Wishing you long, fun-filled days with your family savoring these long winters days leading up to the holidays. Xo Lidy

    1. Thanks so much Lidy, the ice skating is such a huge part of the Christmas season here, we look forward to it every year and have already been several times! I too just adore that tree, I see it twice every day, it’s far from perfect but it says so much, it’s a tree that has given lots of little children so much fun, I am so happy they left it just as it is. Imperfectly perfect. Hope you have a lovely last few days before Christmas too xx

  14. As penguins are from the southern hemisphere, I’m imagining them as puffins, very northern birds. But hey, it’s all part of the Christmas magic. I would be charmed to join you shopping in the Christmas markets. Beats shopping at the mall.

    1. You are of course totally correct Patricia! and I know penguins are from the southern hemisphere, it’s one of those trick questions that often gets asked around our dinner table with the children! But I never even gave the penguins a second thought, oops someone somewhere made a big mistake! But as you say, it’s all part of the Christmas magic, if they can have polar bears alongside a Roman arch built in the year 18 I am sure they can have penguins too!! Would be delighted to show you around if only in spirit. Have a lovely end to the week xx

  15. How so very lovely…a quiet, relaxing road to Christmas…that truly does sound delightful. Thanks for sharing and Merry Christmas!

    1. Thanks so much. Having spent many Christmases previously amidst the hustle and bustle of the UK and USA, I do find this so relaxing, it’s all about family and friendships and really is rather special in it’s own quiet way. A very Merry Christmas to you as well xx

  16. Oh Susan….what can I say that has not been said. I’m so looking forward to visiting Saintes. This Christmas Market is very different from the ones we have visited. They all have the same feeling of peace and happiness though. What a lovely tradition.

    Ali xx

    1. I think you will love Saintes Ali, it’s rather a fun city and the Christmas market is so pretty, Gigi and I were really surprised, now of course we have to go back because everyone wants to go and visit and see the polar bear and penguins!! Hope you are warming up and settling back into Island life. xxx

  17. Dear Susan, I too can not think of a blogging friend I’d rather visit. This post is magical. We had some snow last week in our part of the woods(Seattle) in the Pacific Northwest and it just sent that magical vibe through everything and made the area where we live so peaceful. Slowly preparation will be completed and we will be celebration the Blessed holiday season with family. Thank you ALWAYS for sharing your part of the woods with us. Merry Christmas to all.

    1. Thanks so much Freda, would love to be able to show you around in person, it is truly magical and yet to relaxed. I do envy you your snow though, even though we have had wonderfully mild weather, about 60F every day, there is nothing like a light dusting of snow to make it feel really festive, I can imagine how beautiful it must look, I love the way that snow makes everything so quiet. Enjoy every second of this special time of year with your family and a very Merry Christmas to you xxx

  18. That ice skating rink looks like heaven, and so does the cafe and the white winter market, it all does and I cannot believe it could be so calm, here in the States everyone is frantic and stressed which tends to make people short tempered and the goodwill of the season disappears. I would love a calm peaceful Christmas such as this.

    1. Hi Peggy, I have had many Christmases in the UK and in the USA amidst the hustle and bustle and it is this very relaxed attitude towards the festivities here that makes it so special, it’s just calm and peaceful and very much about family and friendship. I hope even if it is frantic you enjoy everything about the season and a very Merry Christmas to you xx

  19. Addendum: Came back from a trip to the bottlebank…. Both, our favourite bakery & butcher shop are now adorned with the loveliest paintings. Much later this year than any other year but hooray – now even those two shops are in a Christmas mood 🙂 I’m writing this, sitting amongst candles, a huge mug of tea, a tree decorated with little felt/wood/straw/fabric animals, such as a dog-Angel, a mouse with a blue jumper, a Santa-teddy miniature….. white LED-Lights interwoven, some pairs of ice skates from wood, wooden mushrooms, Hobby-Horses, felt-hearts and much more – it’s a child’ Dream-tree and the child is me (and Hero Husband). Such fun and joy – every time I’m passing it I’m smiling ….

    1. and I am smiling too reading this. The tree sounds utterly delightful and I can really picture them all. Candles alight here, fire glowing, sadly I am tapping away at a computer but still I am on the sofa, cosy and comfortable and really enjoying reading all these comments, thanks goodness I can type really fast! children are asleep, husband is away on business and two dogs are snoring! Our butcher still hasn’t decorated his shop this year, much later than usual and normally it is so pretty, I had hoped to include it, but for some reason he is behind this year! Sweet festive dreams to you xx

      1. Isn’t it strange – everybody (incl myself!) is late this year with Christmas preps…. must be the unseasonally warm weather, or is Xmas just earlier this year ? 😉
        In any case, I was afraid that the economical situation wd have hit the ‘artisans’ and I’m glad and thankful that this isn’t the case…. This seems to be very much a French tradition, the shop-windows paintings.
        And btw; I especially thought of you on Wednesday when I prepared a winter soup for us: Spuds, carrots, onions & garlic, some tricolore of peppers, o/g/p first ‘sautée’d’, then hop, the whole thing in a large pan, fresh herbs and dried ones too, a bit of stock aux herbes, some spring onions (ha ha, yeah, at a Christmas time price but I do love them….) 2 laurel leaves and some fresh Rosmarin – let it bubble for a good while on low heat e presto: Bon appétit! (I always like to add a well heaven spoon full of fromage blanc just before eating, it gives lovely swirls and a light cooling effect and it renders the soup somewhat more sophisticated, LOL – we are now transgressing from soup to velouté (a pet hate word of mine as at the beginning of my stay in F I never thought of a soup/potage, it’s windowdressing for me….!)
        Now my presence is needed in the kitchen, I promised a tarte aux prunes to my dearest and nearest.

        1. Maybe it is the warmer weather, I don’t know anyone here who is even remotely ready for Christmas, myself included, have still to wrap a vast number of things etc etc., but for some reason I am not in the least bit concerned, the French lifestyle is obviously taking hold!! when I mentioned Christmas last week to someone here they just looked at me like I had gone mad and asked why I was talking about Christmas already! Your soup sounds delicious, I just had some which was very similar for lunch. Hope the taste aux prunes was a big success and have a lovely weekend, hope the sun is shining with you, it’s stunning here! xxx

        1. Thanks, children super excited, last day of school today and then it’s the holidays! But in typical French style, no let up, school today means tests and normal work, no fun Christmas things here!!! xx

  20. Another perfectly lovely post, I have no idea how you do this week in week out, twice a week, you never fail us and you never allow your extremely high standards to slip, each post is as good as the last and each is a treat of pure pleasure when I see it in my inbox. You deserve all the success in the world. As others have said an enormous joyeux Noël to you and your beautiful family and the dogs and chicks and cats too!

    1. Thanks so much Carol Anne, I am slightly at a loss for words, your appreciation of the blog means the world to me, I honestly can say I love writing it and just enjoy sharing it all so much, but most of all, it is what it is because of the all of you who take the time to read and comment. Let’s hope we all have a wonderful 2017. A very merry Christmas to you xx

  21. Susan,
    Thank you so much for sharing your holiday preparations and festivities with us. I so love reading about and seeing pictures of how they celebrate in other countries. It all looks truly beautiful. The last couple of years we have visited Quebec City Canada, which is also French, in December. They have the same little wooden cottages for their Christmas market and it’s so much fun. It’s all these little things combined that make Christmas magical.
    Sue in Fl.

    1. Thanks so much Sue, I totally agree, it is all these little things that makes it so special, we always look forward to ice skating and we love the Christmas villages. I can imagine Quebec must be simply stunning at Christmas, presumably white with real snow and so pretty and very much colder than Florida! Wishing you a very Merry Christmas xx

    1. Oh you have to come and experience a cold Christmas, just as I have experienced hot ones! I found it so odd to be around a pool at Christmas and I am sure you would find it really bizarre to be freezing cold and relaxing with hot mulled wine in front of the fire! Hope you are not too frantic with your huge family celebration preparations. xx

          1. There are still visits from my adult children and 6 grandchildren often enough. Pizzas by the pool, bowls of fresh berries, icy poles- that’s quiet. Ten or so family members turning up each hot day is my kind of normal. xx

  22. How absolutely beautiful Susan! For a North European born, now in throes of nearly 40C temperatures! Well it is actually ‘raining and pouring’ at the moment, making it more certain that bushfires will not quite decimate our homes on Christmas Day. Oh yes, it has happened and we have been evacuated right amidst the long-awaited festivities. You have taken me back to childhood and decades past and I have SO enjoyed it. Christmas markets your style: almost cannot imagine such in real life . . . but shall work towards being there myself . . . oh, DO have fun!!

    1. The bushfires are terrifying so I am glad it is raining, a little respite I am sure. I have spent many Christmases in hot countries and still never quite got used to it! There is just something so festive, in my mind, about curling up by the fire and drinking hot drinks and mulled wine! Hope you do get to come and have another cold Christmas at some stage. Enjoy yours, it is such a fabulous time of year and a very Merry Christmas to you xxx

    1. Thanks so much, hope you are having a wonderful start to the holiday season and that it is not too cold with you, a white Christmas perhaps? In which case I am just a little envious!! xx

    1. The tulips were absolutely gorgeous, the colours were fabulous, naturally some came home with us! Just strolling through the market is indeed peaceful and wonderful and so festive all at the same time, it is indeed close to perfect! have a lovely weekend xx

  23. How I envy your ‘slow’ Christmas, Susan. The girlfriend and I will be braving the clogged streets of Knightsbridge and Kensington this weekend, as normal. No Christmas is complete without a trip to Harrod’s foodhall, of course, even if you buy nothing these days but just stand amazed at the amount of overseas visitors and what they wear to go shopping. We’re off to Devon to stay with ‘her’ family next week (driving at 9.00pm to hopefully avoid traffic), so hoping there will be some tranquility and peace in the hills. And six inches of snow for three days. Have a great time your end, and hopefully we will see you next year.

    1. Like you Simon, I love wandering around Harrods food halls at Christmas, but I love Harvey Nichols even more, probably because I used to work virtually next door and so I know it so very well! Hope you have a wonderful time in Devon, a perfect part of the country to spend Christmas, I shall keep my fingers crossed for some snow for you. Not much chance here, it’s way too mild! Have a very Merry Christmas xx

  24. I could always roller blade as a child but ice skating has always been beyond me for some reason, it’s the fear of falling onto that cold hard ice I think! That rink is truly beautiful though, it is so rare to see such a pretty outdoor one nowadays I find. Looking forward to seeing the tree!

    1. Hi Lily, I know what you mean, it’s always so miserable when one falls and then one has to continue with with wet jeans! The rink is so stunning, we have been several times already, one of the highlights of the year! So looking forward to decorating the tree this evening. xx

  25. Lovely post Susan! There is something so “pure” about about how small villages celebrate the Christmas Holiday. The sentiment that I see time and time again within these villiages is bringing the community together. It’s a time of year when even Scrooge has to be rethinking his own life…the importance of family, community, friendhip and love. Besides the birth of Christ isn’t that what is really important to us?
    Once again you have captured for your readers something that is so utterly “Magical.” Thank you!

    1. I totally agree Stephanie, it is all about family and community and friendship here which is just exactly as it should be, that and the real meaning of Christmas the birth of Christ, I love how it is celebrated here. It is magical without being too over the top. Hope you are having a wonderful end to the week xx

  26. Your ice skating rink is HUGE! We have one too, at Eauze, but quite a bit smaller. We have also had quite a few Christmas markets now. It is sometimes difficult to decide which one to go to as there are several each weekend. Long may this gorgeous weather last. Wishing you and your family a très Joyeux Noel!

    1. It is huge I know. We saw a couple of others, the one in Saintes next to this Christmas market and another in Royan and were amazed at how small they were, that’s when we realised that our local one really is very special. It’s been going a long time now and is such a huge part of the holiday season, just having a coffee outside and watching the other skaters is worthwhile in itself! This weather is fantastic, 15C here again today and clear blue skies, I was mowing the lawn, whoever mows here a week before Christmas, unheard of December but the grass is still growing! Have a lovely weekend xx

  27. Lovely tour. I do miss being in Europe at Christmas and seeing the Christmas markets and skating rinks. A few years ago I was in Bruges in December. They had a small rink on a riser in their main square which was surrounded by the little market stall chalets. Everything was lit up at night; so pretty and atmospheric (and c-c-cold). But fun. Have a beautiful holiday with the family.

    1. Thanks so much Mary, I do love how these open air ice skating rinks have become very much a thing across all of Europe, it is so festive and we look forward to ours so much, one of the highlights of the holidays, we all skate together and usually then have a hot chocolate afterwards, it’s very festive and great fun. At night here too it is lit beautifully and often there will be ice skating shows performed by relatively local clubs, it is always fabulous to watch. I can imagine Bruges was gorgeous in December, even if it was bitterly cold, I have only ever been there in the summer. Have a lovely weekend xx

  28. The ice rink and the pop up restaurants and shops surrounding it look so magical. I so enjoy your window on your village that you share. I am dying to come to France. Thanks for letting me know about the commenting problem. I haven’t had anyone else who has an Apple with that problem. I am not sure what is going on. Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know I so appreciate it. Happy Holidays!!

    1. The ice skating rink is gorgeous Cindy! Do let me know if you ever plan a trip here, would love to show you around. I am pleased to say that the comments are working, whatever you did it was a success! xx

  29. Hygge Holidays!! You’ve shared this mindset with us once again! Would love to be having cocoa or cafe with you right this moment while watching the young ones ice skate!!
    Thank you for another peacefully inspiring post!☃️☕️

  30. Lovely Chrissy post and as ever, great piccys. Don’t know if you’re aware but you’re next post about putting up the Xmas tree seems to have a glitch. I am taken to the page but there is nothing there.! Just thought I’d mention it if no-one else has. Happy Christmas!

    1. Thanks so much Sheila. There was indeed a glitch with wordpress, coupled with internet problems and the fact that I clicked post and literally ran out the door to take youngest daughter to a tennis tournament all day! However, if you go to the website directly, the page shows as the latest post quite successfully and you can read it from there. Do hope this works for you and sorry for the confusion. Let me know if it was successful! Have a very Merry Christmas xx

  31. Susan,
    Seeing the authentic village French chalets for a Christmas market was a special treat for me. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into a real French Country Christmas.

    Joyeux Noël,

  32. Arrr how wonderfully, beautiful. I can only dream… one day… one day I’ll have a white Christmas. Until then I’ll continue to live in the air conditioning due to our extreme temperatures, humidity and the occasional summer storm, cyclone to cool things down a bit then the humidity starts again. One day… One day… LOL

    1. Sounds really hot, I have spent plenty of Christmases in hot and humid countries and I have to admit although it was different and rather a novelty to swim on Christmas Day I do prefer the traditional colder winter weather! Alas, we have no snow and no magical white Christmas, if that makes you feel any better, just grey and drizzling and foggy! Whatever the weather hope you have a very Happy and peaceful Christmas xx

  33. J’arrive dans votre jolie oasis française alors que je consultais le blogue d’une Américaine “French country cottage” et j’ai réalisé qu’il y avait un bon moment que je n’étais passée chez vous. J’ai adoré revoir cette belle Place Colbert que nous connaissons si bien après y être allée à quelques reprises. La dernière fois, il y a 2 ou 3 ans je crois, alors que nous logions dans la belle “Villa des Demoiselles” dont les hôtes sont un couple tout à fait charmant. Nous avons aussi de très bons amis qui habitent Échillais, tout près de Rochefort. J’ai pris plaisir à lire quelques-uns de vos billets et j’essaierai de passer plus souvent chez vous. Souvenez-vous, je suis celle dont le français ne passe pas sur votre page Facebook.

    J’en profite pour vous souhaiter une très agréable année 2017 dans ce beau coin de France alors qu’ici, au Québec, nous avons eu un très beau Noël tout blanc et je vous invite à nous visiter sur notre page “Le Québec au fil des saisons”.

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