It’s the big comeback of Christmas entertainment in Aude. But not everywhere. Who does what between Limoux, Castelnaudary, Narbonne, Carcassonne and Fleury?
In Limoux, the Christmas decorations are there, but the chalets on the Place de la République will not be assembled. The capital of Blanquette does not even know yet if the traditional torchlight retreat with fireworks celebration on Christmas Eve could take place. Limoux has kept a low profile since it made the national front page last October with a particularly high incidence rate (250), while everywhere else the pandemic was on the decline.
In Castelnaudary, it is for organizational reasons that the Christmas market will be held on a single day at the end of December. The town of Soupex is organizing a “Féérie” on December 11. Castelnaudary, on the other hand, hosts the most important fat fair in the Aude, on December 5, demonstrating that “mass” demonstrations are still possible: the gourmet market is held on the back alleys of the Cours de la République, the fair in herself at the Coubertin gymnasium. For the meal of 400 people planned at the Halle aux grains, the sanitary pass will be requested, “as in any covered place”, one explains to the tourist office.
In 2020, only the commune of Fleury in La Clape had decided to launch its first Christmas market “Magique Noël”, intended for populations dispersed in Fleury and Saint-Pierre La Mer. But since Fleury was the only offer in the region. department, the Audois had literally rushed on this pocket of freedom. The town hall had pushed the health protocols to the end, going so far as to prohibit visitors from smoking, so as not to lower the mask. Its small size gave it an advantage, while the mixing of thousands of potential visitors in the two main towns of the department encouraged the application of the precautionary principle and therefore outright cancellation. In Fleury, we are preparing to reopen the “Magique Noël” from December 18 to January 2, reducing the activity by one week and focusing on the local population. There will be an ice rink, the Christmas bath on the 24th, a fun fair. There will also be around 20 cabins. The town hall has received “a lot of requests for non-food chalets, despite the reopening of the markets in the big cities” comments the mayor André-Luc Montagnier. This 2nd edition revolves around a friendly space on the village square, where it will be possible to consume products from food chalets (oysters, cheeses, cold meats and even sushi) after presenting their health pass. Wearing a mask will be imposed on the entire perimeter of the town.
The closure – a historic first – of the Munich Christmas market in Germany has thrilled the towns of Aude which have chosen to return to normal. While the Germans offer access with the health pass (vaccinated or cured) or a virtual version of their events as in Munich, Narbonne and Carcassonne want to believe in the maintenance of Magic and Féerie. In 2020, these two events were canceled at the last minute. It remains to know the modalities of access to these markets, which should open next week.
“Asking for a pass at the entrance as in Germany, that means closing the market, which is not compatible with the Vigipirate plan” underlines the mayor of Narbonne Didier Mouly, who coordinated this Tuesday morning yet another meeting with all the department directors, Doctor Jean-Pierre Courrèges, deputy mayor responsible for health policy, and the sub-prefect, to determine the policy to be followed.
What we already know is that there will be no “food chalets” in Narbonne, encouraging stagnation in the flow of visitors, a strategy inherited from 2020. Nor will there be any no more living nursery, Covid but also the context of the future law on animal abuse oblige. The grand parade will be replaced by “Barques en Scène” type events according to the elected official in charge of the dossier, Evelyne Rapinat, with an emphasis on the luminous fresco in the archbishop’s garden and the 12-meter tree in the square. from the town hall. The “Féérie de Noël” is held from December 4 to January 2 in the city center.
In Carcassonne, the “Magic of Christmas” keeps the suspense going, with major construction work on Square Gambetta. The veil will be lifted this Friday at noon on the content of this Magic which wants to be “more ambitious” than the preceding ones, in order to reconnect with the crowds deprived of animations in 2020. Since 2005, the Magic of Christmas aggregates “between 200,000 and 300,000 visitors over the duration of the festivities “according to the town hall, which relies in particular on the contribution of” 8,000 Catalans, on weekends “. Last year, the cancellation of the Carcassonne event resulted in an estimated loss of € 20 million for local businesses, knowing that the “average basket over this period amounts to € 70” as explained by the town hall in 2020 A windfall that the mayor Gérard Larrat does not want to escape.