The year generally ends this way. There’s always a project to complete or people to meet. With that comes the prospect of getting away from Nice for a few days. (This may not be a good thing where the weather is concerned, especially if leaving Nice means heading north to colder temperatures.)
Our itinerary was a voyage through the regions of Champagne-Ardenne (Reims and Châlons-en-Champagne), Lorraine (Metz), Franche-Comté (Montbéliard), Alsace (Mulhouse), and finally back to Île-de-France (Paris).
From such a crazy schedule come two highlights. The first, for me, was the food and at this time of year I always feel tempted to eat everything in sight. Out come the potatoes with Mont d’Or cheese melted over them. Don’t forget the cured meats, the saucisses. And to drink? Apéritif of kir à la violette. Or enjoy a glass or two of riesling with your coq au riesling and spätzle. Of course, you could just enjoy a bottle of champagne during your meal.
The second must, at this time of year, is the marché de Noël. We visited the marchés and villages de Noël in Mulhouse and Metz, with their ferris wheels, waffle and crêpe vendors, and booths where you could buy vin chaud (hot wine). This makes me wonder: in Reims or Épernay, do they sell champagne by the glass at their marché de Noël?
Our trip ended, at least for me, with a weekend en amoureux, in Paris. We had a lovely dinner at our favourite restaurant in the 17th on Friday night. On Saturday, after a late morning — a well deserved grasse matinée — we went shopping. Sunday, I flew back to Nice leaving D in Paris for a week of meetings.
My solo week at home in Nice will be a welcome break after last week’s crazy schedule.
D and I had decided to travel light. We each travelled with a carry-on luggage plus our laptop bags. Everything was going well until the day we left Montbéliard on Thursday. We had spent Wednesday with D’s uncle and aunt and enjoyed a simple franc-comtois dinner of saucisse de Montbéliard, potatoes, and green salad. The lettuce in the salad came from the garden, which got the four of us talking about home-grown vegetables. It was at this point that D’s uncle mentioned the nuts. Bags of nuts. Three bags of nuts. Three huge bags of nuts. Nuts from their garden (if you want to call the forest in their backyard a garden). Three bags of noix and noisettes (walnuts and hazelnuts), one each for me and D, for les parents, and for D’s sister. Three bags of nuts that we had to take back with us. In our carry-on luggage. Plus a bag of apples. And a jar of home-made groseille (red currant) jelly.
Now that I’m back in Nice (with one bag of nuts and the jelly), I’ll have a few days to relax before the siege starts. Like last year, D’s business partner will be in France for their annual year-end celebration. A quick trip to Nice for the weekend is included in SC’s schedule. And timing couldn’t be better. The marché de Noël in Nice starts this weekend!
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