La Vie à Lyon

Living, learning and loving in Lyon !

Archive for the tag “Christmas”

Continuing Christmas

Christmas II was celebrated at Chez Besacier, on December 24. It was cozier than Christmas I, with just Sim’s immediate family present. We were 9, well, 10 if you include the fleeting visit from Père Noël. In France, we put our slippers around the Christmas tree and Père Noël puts our presents around our slippers!


During…checking out the presents. No Mum, I haven’t changed!

After! Joyeux Noël!

We enjoyed a few glasses of champagne for our apéritif, accompanied by petit boudin blancs, smoked salmon and the assembling of Evan’s tractor.

The tractor mechanics.

Escargots, cervelas and salad for entree, plus star sign scratchies and French Christmas tunes.

Shells of snaily goodness!

I tried to sing along…Petit Papa Noël!

A fabulous Madeira ham for main course, with hashbrowns and mushrooms, washed down with a lovley glass or three of Bordeaux rouge.

Nom nom nom.

I made a pavlova for dessert. As my second Christmas away from home, I wanted a little more Australiana at the table! But French cream doesn’t whip! Not the three we tried, anyway. So after many adventures in chantilly, we gave up and, after serving, just poured the slightly thickened cream over the top! Voila!

A touch of Australia!

Then it was time for presents…

But that’s another blog post!



Kicking off Christmas

Sim’s extended family is pretty big. His dad is the youngest of 6, so it’s pretty difficult to celebrate Christmas together on Christmas Day (or Eve, as they tend to do over here). The solution? Simple. Three Christmases. The first was celebrated yesterday with the Guyots (Sim’s mum’s side) at chez Besacier in St Sym.

Everyone’s still in their pjs, but at least the tables are ready!

 A typical French Christmas lunch is … long. And yesterday’s lunch was typical!

The guests arrived between 12:30 and 1. In this case it was Sim’s grand parents, aunts, uncles and cousins – we were 24 in total. We began with a champagne aperétif (no, I tell a lie – we began with kissing everyone twice, but I’m getting used to that!) and some delicious aperétif snacks.

Anne-Gaëlle and Raph’s take on Père Noël – Père Radish!

We played a musical game to determine our seats for the entrée, and drew numbers for each course thereafter so that we didn’t sit with the same people twice.  Well, hardly. A nice way to catch up with everyone! Entrée consisted of smoked salmon, foïe gras, bread, and wine. Of course.

I can feel my arteries tightening just looking at that foïe gras…

I seem to have misplaced my camera during the vegetable, meat and cheese courses – must have been all that swapping of chairs, sampling of wine and trying to remember all the French I’ve learned in the last 6 months! The vegetables were a cardone gratin and green beans, and the meat was duck with fig sauce. The cheeses were brie, chèvre, morbier, comte and blanc. Plus bread and wine…

Presents before dessert!

We had three desserts, traditional log cakes called bûche. One chocolate, one speculoos and one ice cream. We also had a dessert dessert with coffee, in the form of the witch’s house from Hansel and Gretel, made by Sim’s German aunt. It got demolished pretty quickly once we got the go ahead! Plates of chocolate, biscuits and fruit were plentiful as well.

Bûche glacé – vanilla and raspberry ice cream, encased in meringue and covered with whipped cream. The perfect dessert!

Evan inspecting the witch’s house!

We had a rest after that. Did some dishes, played cards and Rummikub, read, napped…then it was time for tea! Yes, really. We ate cold cervelas and salad (and what was left of the house) with bread and mineral water.

Then it was 9:30pm and time to call it a day. Night. French Christmas lunch!

And yes, it snowed!


Marché de Noël de Lyon

I love Christmas, and Christmas in winter is such a novelty! The Christmas Market in France is a tradition from the Alsace region, with the market in Strasbourg being the most well-known. The market at Place Carnot in Lyon is in full swing now and, much to my delight (and distraction!), I have to walk through it to catch my bus after classes each day.

Très kitsch!

The market is full of stalls selling hot spiced wine (red and white), hot fruit juice, plates of tartiflette, waffles and fat sausages. There are all sorts of wintery, Christmassy trinkets for sale and it’s lit up like a fairy land at night time.

Really hits the spot whilst wandering around the market at night!

Actually, now that the TGV is up and running between Lyon and Strasbourg, a visit to the most famous market in France isn’t out of the question! Maybe next year!


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