Christmas 2016 in Provence

« Alègre, Diou nous alègre Cacho fio ven, tout ben ven ; Diou nous fagué la graci de veïre l’an que ven, Si sian pas mai que siguen pas men »
All good things come, the grace of God lets us see the coming year;
May there be no fewer of us even if some are no more.

Blessing of the log, a ceremony held on Christmas Eve


Christmas tradition in Provence

In Provence, Christmas is celebrated with much festivity at home, with friends and family, and some traditional events are shared with visitors: visiting creches, planting wheat for Sainte Barbe, eating the 13 traditional desserts and so on.

Did you know? People in Provence set a Christmas table on Christmas Eve, with three tablecloths and a candle-holder with three candles. The three tablecloths symbolise the Holy Trinity, while the three candles the past (to honour one's ancestors), the present (to demonstrate one's loyalty to one's loved ones) and the future (with the hope of future happiness). The Large Supper comprises seven dishes symbolic of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary fish, meat and vegetables are mostly served. A nifty melange of pagan rites and Christian rituals!

All Christmas traditions in Provence
Sainte-Barbe All Christmas traditions in Provence

"Santon" fairs and creches

Santons Provence
A family event! This is where you buy your next santon (traditional effigy) to decorate your creche. Traditionally, you start your crèche –or nativity scene- by buying the various characters of the Holy Family, then you add a santon, borie, or church, every year. Some sellers put on exhibitions or hold workshops.

Did you know? Pierre Graille was a santonnier (effigy-maker) in Grambois, Luberon, but with a difference. He used to immortalise his friends and other locals as santons, so that the church creche came to be a reconstitution of the congregation! The village church pays tribute to him every year.

More info

Christmas markets

There's a Christmas market somewhere practically every weekend in November and December! They are great places to buy gifts, decorations and Christmas dinner delicacies. The stalls are beautiful, shimmering with light, whether the market is outdoors or in a cellar.

See Christmas markets

Christmas markets Voir les marchés de Noël en Provence !

Christmas events

Christmas events
During the countdown to Father Christmas' coming and the New Year, every day is an opportunity to savour the festive atmosphere with Christmas carols, light festivals and other events.

Did you know? Many of the traditional Christmas carols sung in Provence were written by Nicolas Saboly, a poet, composer and Christmas caroller born in Monteux in 1614. Locals know "Les Noëls de Saboly" well, including "La Cambo me fai mau", "La marche des rois" and "Coupo Santo", which was later to become the Provençal anthem, with lyrics penned by F. Mistral.

See Christmas events

Christmas breaks

Christmas deals
Chritsmas breaks


Christmas in pictures