Blog Archives

Chocolate bunnies, eggs, bells, and fish

Chocolate fest poster from the city’s website

Carcassonne has many shops that sell just one product: chocolate, and we’ve been to most of them. Naturally we’ve had to sample the goods at each location in the interest of being able to recommend to visitors where they should go. Since we’re still in that decision-making process, we returned to some of these boutiques for a second opinion. As you might expect at this time of year, the window displays all featured what we typically think of as treats at Easter: colorful eggs, long-eared bunnies, plus cute chicks and hens. But what about those bells and fish? Read the rest of this entry

Comfort food

Plate of the day

Plate of the day

One morning last week I happened to look out the kitchen window just as a couple of our neighbors from the end of the street were passing by. They were clearly on the way to the market, rolling cart in tow, but stopped long enough for a quick chat. Francis told me that they were going to buy the ingredients for a choucroute that his wife, Isabelle, always made at this time of year. That word sounded familiar and it only took a minute to pull out an ad that we had saved from our favorite bistrot promoting their 10 euro/dollar plate of the day: Choucroute-charcutière. Read the rest of this entry

Winter blooms

Traditional winter blooms at the base of the war memorial

Traditional winter blooms at the base of the war memorial

Former Carcassonne residents Tracy and Alan, whose “An Italian Point of View” blog we follow (link in the right column), told us that although the streets here might seem deserted if the weather is bad, as soon as the sun comes out, so do the people. That was definitely the case last weekend when the city seemed to come alive after being cooped up for several days running. Read the rest of this entry

Close to home

Onions by the 5 kilogram sack

Onions by the 5 kilogram sack

Although I grew up in a city in Virginia with twice the population of Carcassonne, we still weren’t that far from the farms that produced a lot of the food we ate. Leisurely Sunday afternoon drives would take us out into the country where our parents could buy vegetables that had been picked that morning and we could have them for dinner that night. I remember as a child being overwhelmed by the huge burlap sacks holding 50 pounds (23 kilograms) of peanuts, standing taller than I did at the time. Recently, although our backpacks weren’t quite that heavy (but felt that way), we did bring back from the market a woven bag of 5 kilograms (11 pounds) of onions. At a cost of only 1.49 euros for that entire sack, it was hard to pass up. Read the rest of this entry

Window hopping

Florist shop window

Florist shop window

One of my earliest trips to New York City nearly 40 years ago was at the end of November that happened to coincide with a huge Thanksgiving parade orchestrated by an even bigger department store chain. While those helium filled cartoon character balloons are impressive, I was more in awe of the thousands of store employees, who walked the two and a half mile parade route in below freezing temperatures, yet managed to keep the balloons under control. Another highlight of that trip was viewing the department store windows that had been dressed up especially for Christmas. Although we now live 4000 miles (6400 km) from New York, walking past the festive window displays in Carcassonne was just as much fun. Read the rest of this entry

The magic of Christmas

Entrance to Père Noel park

Entrance to Père Noel park

The city of Carcassonne never seems to do anything halfway. After all, with Europe’s largest medieval fortress as your imposing background, it’s hard to do anything less than big.That thought is carried over into this year’s month-long celebration entitled “La Magie de Noёl” and there is definitely lots of magic in Christmas here. Last week’s post about the torchlight march was just the beginning of a very colorful time in the city. Read the rest of this entry

Welcome to the season

Garden gate welcome to Christmas

Garden gate welcome to Christmas

When I was growing up, the school year always started at the beginning of September and the first holiday we had to look forward to was Halloween. That was followed a month later by Thanksgiving and only after that huge feast was a memory did we start to look forward to Christmas. Somehow, over the years, all of those months got compressed into “Hallo-anks-mas” where store shelves that had been stocked through the summer with back to school supplies were suddenly filled with a combination of candy corn, pumpkin pies, and candy canes. It’s a little bit different here in France. Read the rest of this entry

Renestance

French Retirement Dream

A year in Périgord

The life of a British Francophile

Southern Fried French

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

wcs

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

Chez Loulou

Two American Guys & Their Dog Move to France

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for meaning...in between leg shavings

Post-Industrial Eating

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An Italian Point Of View

Alan and Tracy's Expat Adventures