Tuesday, 27 December 2011

2011-2012 Carcassonne, France.

It seems like a lifetime ago since I popped in to say 'Hi'.  I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, we all enjoyed ourselves tremendously here at No.11. The run up to the festive season was so exciting.  Carcassonne looked terrific this year.  The ice rink was larger than before and every evening it looked utterly magical with the lighting and vibrant music playing complete with blasts of dry ice to make it even more spectacular.  I love the new wine bar opposite, Le Cochon Noir which used to be the barbers shop.  It still has its stripey barbers pole outside but inside its black and chrome with candlelight.  We sat there and watched the bustle outside whilst I recalled when I used to go down to the local rink complete with my skates and whizz round effortlessly.

Place Gambetta which is a mere two minutes stroll from me looked equally impressive this year too. An enormous silver tree surrounded by miniature houses, polar bears and penguins twinkled sharply against the backdrop of the blackness of the evening.  Two upright wooden soldiers guarded the entrance to the snow ride which glided gracefully around the animals.  Visitors this Christmas would not have been disappointed with 'la Magie de Noel' that Carcassonne offered.

On Christmas Eve the atmosphere in the centre was very jovial.  I arrived at the food market at 8am and bumped into so many neighbours exchanging 'bisous' (kisses) with each other I nearly forgot to buy my parsnips.  There wasn't a great demand for the mistletoe because exchanging affectionate greetings is the norm in France amongst friends.  With all the tasks done it was time to meet up for a jolly and where else but Café Saillon ?  We all squeezed round a small table with a brightly red and white check tablecloth.  Families surrounded us, the adults clutching chilled bottles of rosé, the children excited and boisterous.  On the old wooden counter there appeared a huge truffle, its black knobbly ugly exterior causing a frisson of excitement.  A plate of oysters appeared, glistening and luscious,  a selection of thinly sliced fois gras on crispy toast was to follow.  But then the most divine nibbles of all materialised. Shavings of truffle mixed with butter were being offered around on plates, we all just sat there and swooned.  We were all in seventh heaven and knew it.

But this year seemed especially poignant.  I started my new venture, No.11 Bed and Breakfast in Carcassonne and have been fortunate to meet so many interesting people and make special friends along the way.  I have many memorable evenings discovering places that before would have lain unvisited so that I can pass on my knowledge and recommend those I have experienced.

These days life seems so full and busy.  Social networking is an important part of establishing any business and that in itself is a daily job.  Have you visited No.11 on facebook ? , I would be delighted to see you and shall endeavour in the New Year to post up regular updates.

I have announced that Johnny Hallyday will be playing at the Carcassonne Music Festival in 2012 on July 30th. If the festival is as exciting as 2011 then there is certainly plenty to look forward to in the New Year.

I for one can't wait !


Majella21 said...

Thanks for that, Sally.

I could really picture the wonderful Christmas scene and atmosphere. Best wishes for a fab year in 2012 and I am sure No 11 will go from strength to strength. Bon annee! (Sorry, I don't know how to do accents on iPhone!) Love reading your blogs.


Frances said...

Sally, it's wonderful to see this post from you and to indulge myself in the fantasy that I was actually by your side as you took that walk around your beautiful area. I could almost smell the truffles.

Here's a coincident...I've just finished a mystery novel by Martin Walker, called Black Diamond, set in the Dordogne. I have now learned a lot about truffles, but still need to sample this luxury for myself.

Perhaps in 2012? Best wishes for a very Happy New Year! xo

Pondside said...

You take us to a completely different world, Sally. How beautiful Christmas must be in those ancient, exotic surroundings. Your description of the atmosphere in the cafe was delicious!

her at home said...

It sounds so perfect that I am so sorry I missed Christmas in Carcassonne what a real feast ti must have been with you as ever as the perfect hostess no doubt!!!