Yesterday we went to Troyes to have lunch with my in-laws and to do a little Christmas shopping. Lunch was great; I'm finally starting to get more involved in conversations, and I love watching my in-laws interact - my father-in-law is always teasing my mother-in-law, who in turn threatens to smack him upside the head (she never does, of course). They're really adorable. Then we made a plan of attack for our Christmas shopping.
The first stop wasn't so bad. Downtown is always crowded on a Saturday, and we only had to run into a couple of shops. I would have liked to walk through the Marche de Noel that is set up in the town square, but Steph, aka Mr. Bah Humbug, didn't want to. In retrospect, I'm glad he didn't but at the time I was rather annoyed!
The second stop was at one of the shopping districts outside of Troyes. This is where it started to get a little crazy. Cars were piled up everywhere you looked; the parking lots were full and cars were parking on the sidewalks. Steph managed to find a space in front of a paint store (not much painting happening around the holidays, I suppose) and we went into my favorite store, Cultura (I could drop some serious cash in that place!). It wasn't too terribly crowded, at least we were able to move around a bit and choose some gifts without feeling rushed.
Then we made our last stop, to (one of) France's version of SuperWalmart, E.LeClerc. This place was freakin' wall to wall people. Thank goodness we only had a couple of things to pick up here, because it was really madness. They have at least twenty registers and every single one had at least ten people waiting. I felt so terrible for anyone actually purchasing food yesterday; I'm sure their frozen items were melted by the time they got home!
They must have been handing out Stupid hats on the way out (obviously we missed this line) because it seems everyone tried to leave at the exact same time. People were trying to cut across lanes of traffic and all horns were a-blazing. I am not exaggerating when I tell you that we waited forty-five minutes to get out of the parking lot - that's longer than it actually takes for us to drive back to our village!
We only have one or two gifts to go back and wade through the masses for this week. I wish I could tell you that I was looking forward to it. And to think I call this my favorite time of year!