The Christmas markets or marchés de Noël are in full swing in Grenoble. With Christmas music and lots of lights, the mood is festive. The little cabins feature everything from Christmas trees to teddy bears to santons (hand-painted terracotta nativity scene figurines) to spiced wine to lunch and dinner options.
In Grenoble, there is a main Christmas market at the Victor Hugo Square, a smaller one on Place Grenette, and then also a fair-trade Christmas market at the Dr. Martin Square.
A feast for the eyes and the senses, you keep coming back to look, taste, and to make some Christmas purchases.
Although we don't have snow in the city to add to the festive mood, we just need to look up or look to the end of a street to find the snow.
The "marmotte" or groundhog, a symbol of the French Alpes, makes an appearance at the market.
You can buy your Christmas tree (un sapin de Noël) here. These are not large trees and I've seen people carry off a tree in a stroller and even on the back of a bike.
During the day or evening, a "vin chaud", hot spiced red or white wine will keep you warm as you wander through the market. I have only tried the red wine, which I like a lot.
Santons in all sizes. They often represent different workers, all showing up at the manger.
Even French-Canadian products
Nougat—a confection made with honey, roasted nuts, and whipped egg whites. I'm not a fan, but there are plenty of people who love this sweet. A kilo of it sells for about 59 euros. Not that you would buy a kilo!
Amongst the many lunch/dinner options, this is "raclette", a semi-hard cow cheese that is melted on this machine and put on a baguette. More commonly, this melted cheese is served over potatoes.
"Pain d'épice" or spice cake/quick bread, is a Christmas treat. These cakes are huge and come in various flavors such as cinnamon, ginger, chestnut, orange, or salted caramel. Ingredients are simple: honey, flour, baking soda, salt, and spices, and sometimes butter and eggs. I bought a wedge of the salted caramel.
I had a piece of this slice today: moist, dense, chewy, and super-flavorful!
It also comes in loaf form.
Le Père Noël showed up yesterday to hand out candies to kids.
This weekend the fair-trade market will begin. More to come!