Toulouse, Christmas Market and the…”Irréels”

The last days of November are the long-established time of the opening of the “Marchés de Noel” – or the Christmas Villages – in cities all over France.
France has a strong tradition of Christmas Markets with the Strasbourg one, in Alsace region, being one of the oldest in Europe – it exists since 1570 – and now the biggest.
In Toulouse, the little chalets settle on the Place du Capitole, in the heart of the city, every year between November 29 and December 26.
This little shops, festively decorated, offer local products like foie gras, confit, cakes, jams and confectionery, traditional local crafts -wooden toys, pottery, jewelry, candles, decorations, clothing, leather goods – as well as the inevitable hot chestnuts and mulled wine.
The market days are punctuated by animations like chorals, acrobats and jugglers, and even visits from Santa himself!
At this 2013 edition the visitors can also observe the masqued personages called “les Irréels” that “live” in the Henry IV court of the Capitol.
According to their creator, Lou Broquin, the “Irréels” are:
“silent characters, pacifists, soft and timid. A parallel, invisible and noble people, that serve the humanity. Noble because the “Irréels” give freely in the shadow and totally disinterested. Everyone works for daydreaming and states of just existing … Their kindness soothes and makes you stronger, but humans are responsible for their fate”!

Monkey masque
Monkey masque – “Irréel”
Lion Masque
Lion Masque
Elephant "Irréel"
Elephant “Irréel”
Christmas market of Toulouse 2013
Christmas market of Toulouse 2013
Santa and the music box man
Santa and the music box man
Mulled wine - a must at any Christmas market
Mulled wine – a must at any Christmas market
Regional products stand
Regional products stand
Violet of Toulouse based items stall
Violet of Toulouse based items stall
The famous Alsacian bretzels
The famous Alsacian bretzels
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