Aix-en-Provence – Christmas Markets in France

Joyeux Noël et une Bonne Année

Dates : 20.Nov – 29.Dec. 2019, every day from 10am to 8pm (December 25th from 2pm to 8pm)
The “Marche des 13 desserts” : December 16th to 24th 2019 
Santos Fair : 22.Nov. – 31.Dec. 2019. Monday to Friday from 10am till 7pm and weekends from 9.30am till 7.30pm

Central and Northern Europe are the most well known for their wonderful, atmospheric Christmas Markets, but in Provence this festive season is also a magical time of the year and one to be celebrated. During this time of festivities Provence shows off another mystical side, so different to the glorious summer days, but no less spectacular.

Aix-en-Provence really shines during the holiday season – and nowhere is this more apparent than at the annual Christmas market,the whole town takes on a fairytale look with its many Christmas illuminations, the lights hanging from the trees are particularly spectacular, in particular the Cours Mirabeau with its Christmas Market and cosy Chalets, but also the small back street of the Old Town are lit up and decorated as are the shop window displays.

The Cours Mirabeau has around 50 chalets displaying festive goods such as handicrafts, gifts Christmas decorations, divine scented soaps, ceramic arts, wooden toys and traditional food and drink specialities, such as Chocolates of all shapes & sizes, macarons, cookies (navettes from Marseille & calissons from Aix), mulled wine (vin chaud), and gingerbread. There are also fairground rides for the children and entertainers showing off their skills are always fun to stop and watch. There will also be a Christmas crib of traditional santons in a chalet near the Monoprix department store half-way down the boulevard. Most of the ‘Santonniers’ (sellers of Christmas Crib Figures) gather on the side-streets just off La Rotonde. Santons are a huge tradition in Provence, and most homes will have their own nativity scene. The figures can be collected and added to over many years, to make up the large scenes can cost a lot of money. The Santonniers sell the individual figures and mangers and every kind of animal you can think of. Not to mention bridges, water wheels, little ladies selling calissons, even rows of lavender with harvesting workers. The Santon scene on the Cours Mirabeau is very popular and is quite large and enclosed behind perspex.

Later on in December there is the “Market of the 13 Desserts” where you will be able to find traditional and regional specialities.More than forty of the Bouches du Rhône department’s culinary artisans will be displaying traditional Provençal Christmas specialities in a truly festive environment. These are the traditional thirteen desserts which are part of a Provençal Christmas (representing Jesus and his twelve apostles).


Christmas is also a time when we tend to think more about food and drink as we like to treat our family and friends when they come to visit, but have you ever thought about what foods are traditional in other countries of the world? Why not take a look at the page below and see what other nationalities are cooking up this Christmas. Christmas is also a time for trying out traditional and new ways of cooking meals, cakes, snacks…….. the list goes on, here we have a selection of Christmas recipes from around the world for you to take a look at, and maybe try out … and if you have a special recipe that you would like to share with the world, then you can send it in to us for others to try out to World-wide Christmas Recipes. Who are the most important people at Christmas? yes, of course, its the CHILDREN and we have not left them out, there is a page packed full of Christmas activities to keep them busy ( and Mums everywhere heave a sigh of relief ! ) … take a look at this page and download the information Children’s Christmas page Read about the Christmas Customs and Traditions of the nations of the world and how they differ, or are maybe the same as, ours. … What is the feast of the “Epiphany” or that of “St Lucia“ which countries are these important too? See here the origins of the most beautiful of all the Christmas Carols “Silent Night“, where it came from, who wrote it and listen to the song itself ( look to see which very famous person is singing it!) Have a look at the main Christmas page and see who Father Christmas is, where did he come from, where is he now, and who is St Nicolaus? Send him a letter from the children, browse through some Christmas Market Tours or listen to a new Christmas song on the page there is so much to see and read, so why not do it !! For those of you who want to travel a little further than the local shops this year have a look at Father Christmas in Lapland or maybe (the ultimate treat for Mums – Dads take note ! ) Shopping in New York we have it all right here for you. As Christmas approaches we also think of snow and with that thought comes skiing, skating, sledging and all manner of “Fun in the Snow” things to do which will last for weeks after Christmas time has been and gone. Around Europe there are many places to visit where you can enjoy the winter activities, whether it is before, during or after Christmas. Below you will find a sample of activities and places to look at which you may find will interest or even surprise you. Please take time to have a look.

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Christmas Recipes

Food plays a very important part in the season of Goodwill and Festive Cheer. Here we have a selection of recipes from around the globe which we hope will help you to prepare for Christmas.

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Discover all you need to know about the history of Silent Night, the Lyrics and listen to Silent Night

Discovwer all about St Nicholas. Find out who he was, how he become a saint and why he is associated with Christmas. Discover St Nicholas here

Find Puzzles, word searches, letters to print of for Santa plus much more here, in the Kids Corner

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