Christmas Day kicked off early with a trip to the Abbey for Christmas Mass on Christmas Eve. Not quite what we expected, but a great experience all the same. Our Christmas feast involved everyone being assigned a course, we all had to plan what were going to make and buy the ingredients. Sam was first up with some very impressive Blueberry French Toast and Hot Chocolate (with real chocolate and cream). We all decided we might have to postpone Christmas after eating it, did someone say overindulge... but delicious!
Somehow we all rallied and were ready for Anastasia's aperitifs by 12pm. Very sophisticated and suitably French. Smoked Salmon Blinis along with Olive and Tomato Pastries and some French Champagne for the grown ups, pink grape bubbles for everyone else.
Jigsaws, robots and poetry (all presents) occupied us for a few hours while Maddy whipped up our next course, a Cranberry, Brie and Pistachio Wreath Pie. Tasted as good as it looks. Very festive!
Then time for a walk, along the river to the bridge then back on the other side. It's actually pretty mild out today but still everyone gets their new scarfs and hats out!
Time for a movie and main meal, Roast Chicken with Chestnut Cranberry Stuffing, Potato Dauphanoise and a Salad with Fresh Cranberries, Pear and Blue Cheese.
By this stage we were feeling a little over Christmased, but we soldered on and Camille called us back together for her Buche de Noel or Chocolate Log. And lucky she did, because it was delicious! Somehow we managed to eat it up with cream and meringues, amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it. What a fantastic Christmas Day!
We went to an amazing Christmas market in Cusset, it was very big. Daddy brought 5 macaroons, they were delicious. That was the best thing I had all day! There were lots of other yummy things there too.
Then we went too Chatel-Montage and had hot chocolate to warm ourselves up. Then we went to a brocante (second hand sale), they had mostly clothes, shoes and toys.
Like in manu other towns the poeple have their Christmas tree outside, it looks very pretty.
Camille got some snow boots, she liked the pompoms on them. Then it was home time.
Today we went to Vichy to a Brocante or second hand/antique market. We got some Macaroons, they were delicious. Then we went to Issoire for a Christmas market, but it wasn't on!
We looked in the church, then drove to Champeix, a pretty nearby town.
When we were driving home we went through a town called Pouzat. There was a market there. We stopped for a look. They had horse and carriage rides, trampolines, pretty stalls and Candy Floss. So we got our Christmas market in the end ... just not where we thought it was!
We woke up early and took the bus to Vichy. When we got there we went to the Petit Pot - which is a cafe. We got 5 delicious croissants, then we picked up a rental car. In the car we went to Varennes, half an hour away, for their Marche de Noel or Christmas Market. The market was in a big hall/shed. Santa wasn't there yet, but there were lots of stalls and we got some hot chestnuts.
All around the town there were Christmas decorations, outside all the shops were real Christmas trees and all the rounds abouts had huge displays.
We're an ordinary family of 5 dreaming, planning and now beginning our adventure around the Mediterranean (and further afield), having an awesome time! Look out for our boat and come and say hi.