December is upon us!
I haven’t even begun my Christmas shopping. Oh my…
The Christmas markets have already started here in Provence but now it’s getting serious. Stacks of foie gras and artisan chocolates are piled high in the grocery stores, the smell of roasted chestnuts and mulled wine is already in the city streets. The countryside is permeated with the smell of wood fire oozing out of farmhouse chimneys (jealous!). It’s time to snuggle into the cold weather.
My Favourites of the Season
I’ve been to many, many village Christmas markets here in Provence throughout the past 2 years. The ambiance, product selection, and general joy of a Christmas market doesn’t necessarily depend on the size or beauty of a town. There are a couple factors; firstly, I’m sorry, but it must be outside. Secondly, I find the shorter markets that are held over a weekend or a day are much better than the longer ones due to general turn-out, ambiance and the energy of the stallholders. Thirdly, the more choice in gourmet products…of course the better! So, grab a scarf and brave the Mistral winds with a plastic cup full of mulled wine. Taste the nougat, faugasse, sacristin and all other traditional Christmas confections. It’s time to indulge.
Below my selection of Christmas markets and general events in the Bouches du Rhone region of Provence. There are many many more, and if you’re in Provence, you’ll see local village markets advertised at your local roundabout.
Christmas Markets in Provence
19 novembre-30 decembre
Foire aux santons – Aix en Provence
Tous les jours/every day de 10h à 19h (sauf/except le 25 décembre)
Espace Cézanne aux Allées Provençales
20 novembre -31 décembre
Marché au Santon et a la Céramique – Aubagne
19 pottery and santon figurine artisans from the region
Fête des Lumieres – Cucuron
Place de L’Etang
Marché de Noel – Marseille
Every day (this actually starts in November) from 10h-19h vieux port
5 décembre- 3 janvier
Marché de Noel – Avignon
60 chalets in the centre ville
Marché de Noel – Cucuron
Fête de l’huile d’Olive – Aix en Provence
Another celebration of the year’s pungent, newly pressed new olive oil
Marché de Noel – Lambesc
Marché de Noel Gourmande et Artisanal – Arles
Espace Van Gogh
Noel en Provence Createurs – Lauris
A Christmas market couldn’t be celebrated in this town full of artists without having a particular focus on local artisans and crafts
Marché de Noël à la Mirande – Avignon
Couple the Avignon Christmas market with this market as well. Treat yourself at the Mirande Hotel to an artisan market, swanky food, live music, cooking classes and rather larges glasses of wine!
Starting Vendredi/Friday evening at 18h
Samedi et Dimanche/Saturday and Sunday 11h-23h
Foire aux Santons – Arles
Local artisans displaying their work of the traditional figurines used to populate nativity scenes
Marché des 13 Desserts – Aix en Provence
This is where you can buy all you need for the 13 desserts as well as anything else Christmas related. We ordered our capon from a local producer here to be picked up on the 24th.
Petit Marché du Gros Souper, Foire aux Santons et Marché des Créateurs – Saint Remy de Provence
Starts Friday afternoon at 14h and goes until Sunday at 19h
Very proud to offer all one will need for the traditional meal of the 24th
Grand Marché Truffes et Gastonomie – Rognes
125 stands produits terroir (local gastronomic delights) parade and petting farm animals
Cérémonie de L’Aubade – Les Baux de Provence
Dans le village
Local shepherds and people in traditional dress (Arlésiennes present!) as per custom, announcing the arrival of Christmas with a parade and dancing
Petit Marché de la Truffe – Ménerbes
9h-17h (concert de Noel)
Let me know in the comments if you’ve been to any of these events and have enjoyed them. Are there any really great markets that I’m missing?