Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Pol and I hope you've had a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

And we'd like to raise a glass of champagne to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR 2012!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas Markets: Plaisirs d'Hiver in Bruxelles

Bruxelles' Christmas Market is called Plaisirs d'Hiver or Winter Wonders (although the direct translation from the French would be Winter Pleasures...), and it takes place from the end of November until New Year's Day.

The first thing you'll probably come across (as it's the easiest place to find in Bruxelles!) is the giant Christmas Tree in the Grande Place.

That wooden structure next to it is a stable where a Crèche with large figures representing the Virgin, St Joseph, the infant Christ etc. are placed. Dunno why I don't have any pictures of it from any of my Bruxelles winter visits!

Like most decorations, things look a lot better a night with the lights twinkling away!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Markets: Village et Patinoire de Noël in Liège

If there's one thing I miss about not being in Belgium at this time of the year, it's the Christmas festive ambiance you see/hear/feel everywhere (and all that crazy snow last year really helped)! And if there's one thing I love the most, it's the Christmas Markets!!! True, they're not as fabulous as the ones in Germany (or Eastern France), but it's the first place I encountered them, my "first love" as you might say. And so I start this blog series on Christmas Markets in the city where it all started for me, la "Cité Ardente": Liège.

Bienvenus au Village de Noël de Liège!

Located on the Place du Marché and the Place Saint Lambert, the Village de Noël - as Liège's Christmas market is called - turns 25 this year! (click on its name for the official website, in French)

It all looks much prettier at night with the lights, don't you think?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

La Saint Nicolas des étudiants in Liège


December 6th is Saint Nicolas, which is a very big deal for children in Belgium and the Netherlands and northern France (they get lots of presents and candy at the houses of various family members where St Nick has left them surprises!).

In Liège, an extension of this holiday is "La Saint Nicolas des étudiants", i.e. the University students' Saint Nicolas celebrations... and trust me, if anyone knows how to party hard, it's the University of Liège students! Particularly the Med students, the Vets and the Engineers... those three branches have their own brand of crazy fun! ;o)

So, in a few words, what happens in the "Saint Nicolas des étudiants"?  Starting a week or so before students don on their pimped out "tabliers" a.k.a. lab coats (the dirtier the coat, the longer they've been doing this! they're never washed!) from their "baptêmes" (now that's a crazy topic for another day, think hazing with lots of beer involved, on a voluntary basis).