Every year the holiday season seems to roll around a little faster! Do you agree?
It always takes that first snowfall in December for me to feel fully committed to Christmas. This year it appears that France is enjoying the fluffy white stuff before we have any in Toronto. Videos of snow falling in Paris, Provence and other areas, flooded the internet these past few days.
Speaking with a friend in Nice today, I was told the tops of the Alpes-Maritimes nearby are becoming covered in white again. I love the dramatic effect created by the combination of the snow-capped mountains, that are the backdrop to the area, and the sparkling azure Mediterranean. The shot below is one I took a few years ago, driving along the Bord de Mer on the way to Nice.
A number of ski areas are already open just an hour from Nice! If you want to keep in touch with the ski conditions on those slopes, click right here.
Calendales (from the provençal word for Christmas), begins today in France, December 4, Saint Barbara’s Day or la fête de la Sainte-Barbe. This marks the beginning of a lengthy period of celebration that blends Christian and pagan traditions.
In most homes and shop windows, on the counter at la Poste, on the bar in all the cafés and even in the windows of the patisseries, saucers of sprouting lentils and wheat seeds will be on display.
Read this excerpt to see what it is all about!
Excerpt from Promises To Keep: “Joy had explained on the phone. “It’s a tradition that goes back to Roman times. The sprouts are carefully nurtured, and if they grow straight and green, there will be a bountiful harvest in the coming year. If they go yellow or droop over, then that’s bad news. Some of the wheat is used to decorate tables and crèches on Christmas Eve, but most bunches are wrapped with a red ribbon and cared for right through to la Chandeleur, la Fête de la Lumière, on February 2.”
It was a surprise to discover how this ancient tradition still is so lovingly observed in shops and homes.
Christmas markets in France are well under way, many with ferris wheels and skating rinks as well as the ubiquitous, decorative carousels. Enticing aromas of mulled wine and roasting chestnuts fill the air.
This photo is from Place Massena in Nice and was sent to me by my friend, Teresa, a couple of years ago.
When do you begin your holiday celebrating? Is there a special Christmas market in your town? If you have a Christmas tree, is it already decorated? The Christmas market in the Distillery District, in Toronto is up and running. It’s always a treat!
Let’s start celebrating December with more good news! Enter this new Goodreads giveaway for a chance to win one of five signed editions of DRAWING LESSONS. This giveaway is live until December 14th ~ feel free to share it with your friends.
Click here http://bit.ly/2AvvmZI ~ Bonne chance/Good luck!