After missing countless buses back to Grenoble, I was finally on a tram back home to my new residence… but wait, what was this? Little huts in the middle of Place Victor Hugo—was this like a better-designed Hooverville?
No, it was the Grenoble Christmas market. Christmas has finally arrived in Grenoble (although as an American, I feel like this really marginalizes Thanksgiving, right?). But as a study-abroad student looking for something awesome to do and eat, I went to check it out today.
We started our journey at Place Grenette, right by the Maison du Tourisme stop.
But knowing about Christmas markets from Christkindlmarket in Chicago every year, I knew exactly what I wanted: vin chaud (hot wine) and german sausage… andwafflesandsconesandcrêpes.
As we scurried up to the first booth we saw selling hot wine, the monsieur greeted us happily. “Bonsoir!” we replied, eager to get our hot wine on. But first, we had to pass a conversation in French in which he told us about all the nationalities that dropped by that day and ended with a warm, golden chestnut in each of our cold hands.
I have to admit, I was a little disappointed in the scale of the Grenoble markets… until my good friend Lisa scoffed and brought me over to the main section in Place Victor Hugo. Ah, much better!
From there, we tackled the layout strategically. Shang would’ve been so proud of our tactical skills; outside first, then weaving into the inner lanes, then after seeing what every booth had to offer, we could start our purchases. Choose wisely, or else you may stumble onto a better deal tucked into a corner a few booths over.
We were doing excellently with our plan of action until… the smell of food wafted on over and, like me on day 2 of a diet, we fell hard. There is this specific dish in France that I love a lot… we’ve seen it before when I went to Annecy for a day; sausage drenched in a white wine along with onions and cabbages and whatever low-nutrient vegetable that blends into bread.
We peeked into each booth, saying hello and having small conversations here and there, but never buying anything. Although, I do want to return to get some leather-bound journals that look like Bilbo and Frodo wrote Lord of the Rings in them. The only problem with getting something like that is feeling like normal pens no longer suffice—you’d have to write in those babies with calligraphy.
Here’s hoping we went early enough for me to escape a larger probability of getting lice from all those hats I tried on.
Remember the raclette I had the other day? The French have found a way to turn it into street food with these long cheese-heaters (think those space heaters they put at Costco entrances). This was not the only fancy dish we saw that day. Unlike in the states, where the greasier fair food is, the better it is, the quality of the food comes first here.
While walking around, we accidentally walked through a few makeshift restaurants that had something like a clambake going on. Whaat? In the states I would never have any form of seafood at a fair. That’s as good as taking a laxative. Although much tastier… I must rethink my choices.
Finally, when we were no longer able to feel our toes (where are my fuzzy socks when I need them?), we finally allowed ourselves to eat. I chose a Hot Duck, which is supposed to be wordplay on “hot dog.” Hint: try pronouncing “duck” with a French accent.
What it was was duck in the shape of a sausage… covered in foie gras. That’s duck… covered in… duck (liver). It’s like that Tur-turkey-key that Ted Mosby made that one time. Drizzled generously on top of the sausage was honey mustard, which really added another layer to the sandwich. My only complaint was that the sausage was so freakin’ small for such a large baguette.
Look at it; it’s like swaddling a baby in a sleeping bag.
I quickly finished it because it was so so small and I was quite hungry from only eating two McDonalds meals that day. While Anna was ordering her only order (mistake), I decided to get another heartier sausage sandwich.
This turned out to be a great idea because, as you can see, there were TWO FAT SAUSAGES for the price of ONE! According to my calculations, that’s a grand total of THREE sausages in ONE christmas market visit.
I have no regrets.
Oh right, except for the man that ALMOST KISSED MY CAMERA. There we were, waiting for our tram at the Victor Hugo stop, when the man whom we were standing next to bent down to the lens of my camera and mimed licking it.
We shouldn’t have been surprised. As we approached the stop, he had been opening what seemed to be his sixth bottle of beer that night.
“Bisous, bisous pour le camara,” he said, creeping closer and closer into my personal bubble, which has really gotten quite small here in Europe.
I swear, my brain is really never present in these completely weird, bizarre moments of my life; I only react physically to things. So what my body decided it was best to do was to root myself to where we were standing and just calmly turn the lens away from him while thinking, Good thing I put the lens cap back on! Whereas Anna, who has a much better flight-or-fight response, hurried away towards the people on the other side of the platform.
Linking up with Bonnie today!