For many days now, in most of the smaller & larger towns and cities in Provence .. log cabins have been appearing. Artisan sellers have moved in with everything from Regional candies and toys to hand made quilts, sweaters, hats and santons! Everything Christmas is here including a great Christmas ambiance. What fun! If you are travelling in the area at Christmas, with or without children – the Christmas Markets of Provence are a must.
Christmas Markets of Provence – Avignon – Let’s go Shopping! The towns are decorated with lots of lights, signs wishing, “Joyeuse Fetes” and “Joyeux Noel” (happy Christmas and happy holidays). The markets will be open every day and late into the evening, until January 2nd 2011. Children’s events and activities, concerts, processions, street performers, warm mulled wine, hot apple cider, hot chocolate, warm roasted chestnuts and spice bread – all treats that make Christmas shopping relaxing, fun and a lot less stressful.
Only thirty minutes drive from Sablet, Avignon’s Christmas Market is one of my favorites – held on the beautiful Place de l’Horloge in front of the stately City Hall which is dressed up for the occasion in its Christmas finest. You can take a leisurely stroll through the fifty something stalls, stop and talk to Père Noel (Santa), ride the magnificent Carousel and enjoy the ambience whilst purchasing goodies for your Christmas feast or souvenirs to bring home.
You will treated to all kinds for food choices – regional products, home made jams, jellies and preserves, an unbelievable variety of artisanal cheeses, baked goodies – especially the incredible Pain d’Epices (Spice Cake), handmade chocolates, several varieties of nougat, preserved meats and saucisson (salami) of all shapes and sizes.
As you enter the market, the smell of the warm roasted chestnuts can’t be missed
– and is the favorite “walking around “ food, although…….. all food stall holders are very ready to let you sample and they love to hear your opinion!
A number of Santonniers display their figurines (Santons), which make up the Provencal Christmas Créche. At Avignon Christmas Market you can stroll down the “Chemin des Crèches” (Nativity Road). This is a very pleasant and pretty walk through the lighted Nativity displays composed of a variety of styles of Santons.
The Nativity (“Creche”), is an important decortion in Provence, as according to legend, Jesus was born in Provence and each Creche represents the particular village at the time of his birth. In addition to the usual figurines you would see in a Nativity, Provencal Santonniers carve additional figures of characters you would normally see in the village – the baker, the butcher the grocer, the wood cutter and many others.
Aix-en-Provence Christmas Market
In Aix-en-Provence the elegant Cours Mirabeau is lined on both sides with log cabin market stalls. The spectacular display of Christmas lights on this beautiful boulevard adds to the festive atmosphere as shopping continues well into the evening
Orange Christmas Market
If you’ve been just wishing to escape the frenzy of Christmas at the Mall – the Christmas Markets of Provence provide the best antidote…
See you by the Hot Chestnuts stand!