Toulouse Christmas MarketI’m a big fan of northern European Christmas markets, with the sparkling white snow, the fairytale forms of the wooden market stalls, the tempting smell of gingerbread, and steaming hot Gluehwein to keep me warm.

But lately, I’ve been discovering the Christmas markets in more southern climes. I already wrote about the Christmas market in Nice, France.

On a trip to Southwestern France two weeks ago, I was surprised to discover another southern French Christmas market, in the pretty city of Toulouse.

Toulouse Christmas MarketI was in Toulouse the weekend this Christmas market opened – it stays open through St. Stephen’s Day/Boxing Day (26 December). In the cool weather, it was a nice place to stop off, browse the stalls, and warm up with a glass of vin chaud (mulled wine).

The market is located in the center of the city, in the grand Place du Capitole – the main city square.

Its ornate city hall – the Capitole, built in the 1750s – is decorated with Christmas lights for the occasion.

2013_December_TouluseXmas3You can visit the ceremonial halls, with their enormous 19th and 20th century paintings, to enjoy a sweeping view of the Christmas market.

Since we were exploring all of Toulouse by foot each day, the market became a good place to stop off, relax, and people-watch. We warmed ourselves eating warm sausage and onion sandwiches and drinking steaming mulled wine.

The kids had fun exploring the stalls, checking out the giant Santa, and watching a few street performers who set up nearby.

So the Toulouse market was another enjoyable discovery in southern France – minus the snow of the northern versions.

Toulouse Christmas MarketToulouse Christmas Market