If you’re in Provence for the holiday season for the first time, you’ll notice that Christmas is not celebrated with the same gusto as in Northern parts of France or colder climates in general. However, there are some fantastic markets to get you into the mood for gorging on artisan chocolates and whatever else takes your fancy. I’m providing both the most interesting November and December events in Provence here so that you can plant to visit the markets that interest you the most.
Christmas Markets in Rural Provence
Every village in Provence has their own Christmas market. Many villages hold them inside their local public meeting place. I’ve found that these markets have less ambiance than the outdoor markets. For that reason, I haven’t included any here. However, many towns have inside markets as well as outside stalls at once.
My Favourite Christmas Events
If you’re looking for the best events, I’ve put three asterisks (***) next to my favourite Christmas events. My top 5 would have to be; Provence Prestige, Hotel Mirande, Sénas-Alsace market, Hotel Gounod et 13 Desserts and Foire du Gras.
Novembre Events in Provence
14 October – 26 November
Festival des Soupes du pays – Vaison la Romaine
19 villages around Vaison la Romaine compete for the best bowl of soup! Isn’t that great?
Salon du Sucre et Chocolat – Antibes
While the Brits think of mincemeat and fruit cake, the French associate chocolate with the upcoming holiday season. This is one of a few quality chocolate festivals in the region.
Marché de Noel – Maussane-Les-Alpilles
Perhaps a little early, but if you’re looking to get into the spirit…
Festival d’Abrivado – Saintes Maries de la Mer
Large bull running and horsemanship events in this rugged town. Experience Provence’s answer to the American cowboy. Be aware, there is a rather lot of rosé involved.
33ème Foire aux Santons et son 18ème Marché de Noel – Fontvieille
Santons, the small figures that represent all forms of village life in nativity scenes can be bought here. Also, the Christmas market of Fontvieille. 9h30-18h30.
16 – 22 Janvier
Noël à Aix en Provence
Christmas events start in Aix! Including the market along Ave Mirabeau.
19 November – 31 December
Marché aux Santons et à la Céramique – Aubagne
Santons, traditional figurines used to re-create natvity and village scenes from all the specialists in the region.
mid November to mid March
Les truffes sont là ! Truffles have Arrived!
Valréas : mercredi matin (Wednesday mornings)
Aups : jeudi matin (Thursday mornings)
Carpentras : vendredi matin (Friday morning)
Richerenches : samedi (from Nov 19)
The most well known and vibrant truffle market. Truffle omelette tastings every Saturday and a very lively town café.
Ban des Truffes – Richerenches
The official opening of the annual weekly truffle market with a parade and market.
Provence Prestige – Arles***
Each year, 30,000 visiters come to Provence Prestige for this annual market celebrating Provencal artisans, décor and gastronomy. The best of Provence. I’m an official blogger for this event. I’ll be offering 2 x 2 free tickets to enter the salon as well as goodies from producers. Stay tuned for the competition!
Marché de Noel Alsace – Senas***
This is the most Christmassy of markets in Provence. It’s become a tradition for Robin and I to order a plate of the choucroute and german sausages. One of my favourites! Read my article about the Senas Christmas Market.
Foire Gourmande au Gras – Fontvieille***
Yes. The fat market. Celebrating the cuisine of the southwest with more confit du duck than you can imagine. Quality mountain cheeses and fine chocolate. Everything you need to indulge for the holiday season. Read my article about the annual specialty market.
December Events in Provence
Marché de Noel – Cassis
This is a small market but really, don’t we use any excuse for a day out in Cassis?
Biennale Internationale de l’Art Santonnier – Aubagne
Santonnier artists from all over Europe show their craftsmanship in the streets of Aubagne.
3- Jan 1st
Noël à Nice
There’s lots going on in Nice during the festive season. Check out the schedule!
Marché de Noel – Cadenet
Christmas market and parade in the streets.
Marché de Noel Hotel Mirande – Avignon***
Lovely artisan market couples with gourmand plates and wine a this charming hotel in Avignon. Sadly, the Avignon Christmas market is cancelled this year. Read my article about Christmas in Avignon.
Fête de l’Huile Nouvelle – Aix en Provence
A celebration of the newly pressed olive oil from around Aix. Try quality oils and all delicious products made with olives.
Marché de Noel – Lauris
A little market at this artsy town overlooking the Luberon.
Marché de Noël – Vénasque
Marché des 13 Desserts et du Gros Souper – Saint Remy de Provence
A market providing everything you need for the traditional supper of the 24th of December. Including the 13 desserts. Read my article about this market.
Marché des Créateurs Hotel Gounod – Saint Remy de Provence***
Get the most of your Christmassy weekend in St Remy by visiting Hotel Gounod’s Christmas market. A classy artisan market. One of my favourites.
Marché des 13 Desserts – Aix en Provence
Marché de Noel – Gordes
Marché Truffes & Gastronomie – Rognes
A market of quality products, including truffles, for indulging during the season. Love this little town.
Eat eat eat! Oysters, Foie gras and confit fruit for dessert.
Eat again. A “chapon” (castrated male chicken) with foie gras stuffing and a bûche du Noel.
Sometimes, you’ll be invited over to finish the leftovers from the meal of the 24th. Don’t bother shopping. Boxing day doesn’t really exist in France.