Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Collioure Castle Christmas Market


 I had seen many posters for the Collioure Castle Christmas Market and was keen to go but wasn't able to fit it in until its final day.

 I set off by train from Perpignan Station, aka the Centre of the Universe (according to Dalí). The scenery was lovely and very lush and green for winter.

 We arrived in Collioure which was as pretty as on my first visit. There were a lot of ducks!

The Castle!

 I got an ice-cream and took it on a mini-tour of Collioure before eating it by the sea.

There are several frame like this around Collioure.

Through the frame

 I entered the Castle and climbed up through a low tunnel to the Market.

 Up in the castle courtyard there were a lot of people and a great Christmassy atmosphere. There was also a lot of livestock - whether they were for sale or more a kind of petting zoo I'm not sure - but they were adorable.

They had a tendency to rub their neck against their body - I hope it wasn't a sign they'd been force-fed.


 At one of the stalls I ordered a galette complète - like a savoury pancake, with cheese, ham and an egg. Eating it at a picnic bench in the open air really seemed to make it taste even nicer than a galette complète usually is.

 I went into one of the castle tunnels and inadvertently ended up outside again. I took a few minutes to enjoy the view of the deep green hills in the white winter sunshine,

If in doubt about what to do with your castle's grounds, install a basketball court!

 A sparkly chandelier welcomed me back into the castle.

Christmas donkeys!

Not sure what this is...

 I took the right door this time and found one of the indoor market areas. From then on it was easy as everything was signposted. 

 I had a great time looking around - and it was a chance to explore the castle, which I might otherwise not have found time to visit (especially when you normally have to pay to enter).

 There was huge diversity among the products for sale: Christmas decorations, hand-stitched bags and purses, local cheese and honey, chocolate (what Christmas market would be complete without chocolate?), books, clothes, toys, ornaments and much more.

 I didn't actually buy a lot; just admired. I did, however, purchase this beach bauble, as the shopkeeper called it, for my family. They love it.

 At intervals along the Market route there was the chance to go out onto the little terraces and admire the beautiful bay. I was so moved that I wrote a poem about it. One day I might publish it on this blog along with some other poems I've written on my year abroad.

So high up!

Our musical entertainment

 As afternoon turned to evening the giants arrived! Their dresses were really stunning.

Such a gorgeous view

It's hard work being a giant!

 As night came and the lights in the town came on I wandered back to the station. I'm so pleased I found time to get to the Collioure Christmas Market - it really didn't disappoint and was quite a surreal and magical day.

 My camera's battery ran out as night fell so I took a few pictures on my phone of the dark bay. They're not the clearest photos in the world but I hope they manage to capture the sheer beauty of the lights in the sea and a town going to sleep.

 Thanks for reading,

 Liz x

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