Nouzerines’ Marché de Noël got underway this afternoon. Caitlin has been busy with it for a couple of months now, going down to the school on Saturday mornings to make Christmas decorations and other trinkets to sell on the Comité des Fête’s stall. Benj went down to help one morning but was sent off to clear paths instead – he wasn’t that impressed!

As usual, one of the first activities of the afternoon was the installation of the crèche at St Clair’s in Nouzerines. St Clair’s hosts very few services now – such a shame as it is a beautiful Romanesque church. Every year there is a different theme – this year’s is wool so Ruadhri did some sewing with wool on a swatch I’d knitted, and I took some baskets of alpaca and llama wool. Ruadhri read one of the meditations during the service. We were very proud!

Christmas markets like Nouzerines’ are usually organised by the commune and held in December.  They sell Christmassy things and locally made or produced items. Nouzerines has a dozen craft stalls or so, with some really beautiful things. I’ll take some photos tomorrow to add to the blog.

Marchés de Noël date back to the fourteenth century in Alsace. They were originally known as Marché de St Nicolas. The very famous Strasbourg Christmas market (Christkindelsmärik) began in 1570. This is probably the most famous one in France. Our Benj is thinking of going to Strasbourg University to do languages, starting next year, so that would mean we could get to visit when we pick him up at the end of Autumn Term. I’ve been wanting to go to the market since we came to France.

However, Nouzerines’ Marché de Noël may not be as famous, but it’s a very enjoyable occasion that really brings the community together.  And it marks the start of Christmas for everyone.

Bernard, our black llama, was under consideration to be Père Noël’s companion when he comes to deliver presents to the children at the Marché this year. I spent an afternoon making him a festive blanket in case he was needed. But llamas aren’t very happy with too much noise and excitement  going on around them, so although flattered to be invited, Bernard decided he would be much happier munching hay at home!