Every year for 3 weeks in December the Capitol Square of Toulouse hosts the traditional Christmas Market.
This tradition is however not a local one but rather spread to the south west of France from Germany where the winter markets are held since the 15th century.
The origin of this festival dates though since well before and can be found in the celebration of Saint Martin day on the 11 of November the last important Saint Day before the Christmas fasting period (a kind of Mardi Grass of Christmas!).
In time the celebration moved around the day of Saint Nicolas on December 6th and, dated in 1434, the first recorded document talks about a Striezelmarkt (or market of Strüzel the famous German cake that is now known as Stollen) that took place in city of Dresden.
During and due to the Reformation in the 16th century the custom of Saint Nicolas market changed to a Christmas market and in 1570 is organized the first Christmas market of Strasbourg that in time becomes the most famous of its kind in Europe.
Nowadays Christmas markets are held all over France (and indeed whole Europe).
The market of Toulouse is organized each year in the center of the city and is well appreciated by the locals and tourists alike (don’t try to go to the center of Toulouse in the weekends during the market, you’ll have a hard time finding a parking place!!!).
It includes more then 100 chalets each displaying items as various as hand made jewelries, traditional cheese, hot wine, warm hats and scarves for the winter to come and many other locally made artisanal items.
The little Henri IV court inside the Capitol, all dressed up for Christmas hosts its own animations including this year an interesting show of objects defying gravity, display called “Le Tricot de Denise”.
(Henri IV, whose statue overlooks the court, will not get bored during the holiday season!)
Hi, I am Carla. I am living and working in the beautiful city of Toulouse, France.
I like history, travel and... the southwest of France and try to share through this blog information about events that might be of interest to the travelers to this part of the world!