No doubt, winter is coming and settling in. He creeps into the tips of his toes. In the hollow of the windows, garlands and iridescent decorations illuminate the city centres to let us know that Christmas is not far away. In Laval, it is the perfect opportunity to sublimate the city.
Christmas is not a holiday I particularly like. I am not thrilled by the turmoil of his organization (nice pun, by the way!). And yet, since I became a mother, I feel that my armour is splitting to let the magic of Christmas penetrate again.
I once again want to marvel at illuminations, decorate a tree and imagine the most beautiful gifts. Above all, the desire to see sparks in the eyes of my child, children and people. A little magic in this bully world doesn’t hurt.
By a happy coincidence, we were contacted by the Laval tourist office for a 100% Christmas weekend. And even if this invitation seemed incongruous at first (knowing me), it quickly seduced me (and Seb too!).
So we left with our eyes closed (to open them better afterwards) to Laval in Mayenne.
Laval, prefecture of Mayenne, is located 2 hours from Nantes, 1 hour from Rennes and 3 hours from Paris (by car). In the shadow of these large cities, it is still (too) unknown.
However, its heritage is very interesting. This city, for example, was home to the house of Douanier Rousseau, who, by the way, was not one of the acolytes of the Creole company (whether fans like it or not), but a self-taught painter says of the naive movement. Aside from a little digressive joke, downtown Laval on either side of the Mayenne is cute with its old half-timbered houses, its old castle and the new castle, located side by side.
Culinary prelude in Laval: who will be the best pastry chef?
But to tell you the truth, we didn’t start our visit of the city with the traditional walk in the historic centre, but with a culinary workshop led by the Gourmets en cuisine (the only ones to offer cooking classes in Laval). As I told you earlier, the theme of this weekend was Christmas, which means Christmas, which means festive meal, which means festive meal, which means generous pastry.
emmanuelle who welcomed us, concocted us a delicious and original recipe to delight our guests on the D-day (the other days of the year it also works). For 2 hours, we made together with a millefeuille of pear poached with hibiscus and its white lemon green chocolate ganache. The title is as long as the dribble it causes when it is mentioned (yes, I decided that it would be a very poetic article).
From the very first moments of this workshop, the magic happens and I quickly realize that cooking is a unifying force. Is it because it awakens our child’s soul with its shiny utensils? Or because it reveals our deep greed and desire to share? I don’t know the mystery but in a few minutes, you can already feel the group (who only knew each other for 5 minutes) interact, laugh, tease each other.
Beyond the interest in practical techniques and tips (how to assemble a ganache easily? What are the secrets of a poached pear?…), the class awakens all the senses, touching it by brushing the skin of the lemon, the taste by crunching a white chocolate gun, the smell by smelling the vapours of the hibiscus infusion, the view by contemplating the boiling of a reducing syrup, the hearing by listening to the crackling of the brick leaves.
The thresholds of resistance to temptation being variable, some crack faster than others and do not delay in surreptitiously tasting the preparations under the (falsely) revolted and ultimately complicit eye of others.
The course ends with a beautiful cake training and an avid and gulping tasting.
We had a great time with the group and emmanuelle who taught us many things while laughing and with extreme gentleness and patience.
Les lumieres de Laval, a popular and good-natured event
After this gourmet appetizer, we were able to discover what makes Laval so special during the Christmas and New Year, namely the lights of Laval.
every year, in December, the city adorns itself with many illuminations, the lights of Laval. This year, it is the Mayenne, a river that crosses the city, that is sublimated by its decorations. Many events also take place this December (Christmas market, night walks, luminous water jets…).
Like kids at a carnival, we discovered the city and its historic centre at night. Beyond the beauty of the illuminations, what I liked was a general atmosphere. The inhabitants, visitors of passages and families were gathered for the sole pleasure of the eyes. I saw many amazing looks and I would have liked our lemur to be with us to see all this (but a little too young for our very nocturnal weekend program).
A simple and magical moment, that’s how I could sum it up.
We were supposed to be able to admire these sets during a dinner cruise but unfortunately for us, the boat broke down just before we boarded (the first time in 12 years, it would be almost worth an episode of Voyageur loser). The dinner cruise ended with a dinner at the dock where we still had a beautiful view of the illuminated bridge.
So I couldn’t tell you if the cruise was worth its weight in peanuts, but I can confirm that the meal was gargantuan. The five glasses put in front of each plate should have alerted me! We ate well and drank well. In a way, I took this meal as training for the gastronomic marathon that awaits us soon.
To digest these excesses, we concluded the day with a digestive walk through the illuminations, the enchanted forest and the market of lights. There again I regretted not being with Helio because he would probably have pushed a lot of little “oh !” or would have tried an incursion into the scenery. That said, I think I was as euphoric as he would have been, to the point that Seb remained doubtful.
We finally ended this day in a very beautiful 4* hotel (it was worth the use of the simple past!) not without having chatted with other bloggers on the terrace (which even with a bit of cold duck was worth a visit).
The next day, Seb and I visited the city centre. even if this walk was short (because I wasn’t too well off), it could reveal the beautiful alleys where it’s very nice to walk.
In the turmoil of our busy lives, it was a pretty quiet and relaxing break, just like the beautiful people we had the chance to meet.
And you might see us passing through the area again.