Christmas in Provence

Everyone associates Provence with summer. But Christmas is an utterly magical time here. This section looks at Christmas traditions, santons and cribs, Christmas food and the best festive markets, fairs and festivals in the region.

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The pastrage at Les Baux de ProvenceThe cities of Northern and Central Europe are more famous for their Christmas markets, but this is also a magical season in Provence.

Provencal table laid for the Great Supper on Christmas EveForget roast turkey and mince pies: Provence has its own very different but equally delicious festive foods and eating traditions at Christmas.

The wheat of Saint Barbara (le blé de la Sainte Barbe)Stand by for a long Christmas season - known locally as La Calendale - in Provence! People here love to celebrate, and for as long as possible, and the Calendale runs almost two months.

A "caganer" santon of Queen ElizabethChristmas crib figures are not just about the Holy Family and picturesque peasants (click here to read about traditional santons). Some santon-makers are keen to give them a cheeky or surprising spin.

Santon of a peasant woman holding a pompe a l'huileNot simply tourist trinkets, these Christmas crib figures are an authentic folk tradition, and many provençal homes still maintain elaborate Nativity cribs today.

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