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Avignon Christmas Market

Joyeux Noël et une Bonne Année

Dates : 30.Nov – 31 Dec. 2019 

Avignon has one of Provence’s prettiest marchés de Noël. The Christmas Market is held in the Place de l’Horologe and has around 50 of the traditional wooden chalets, which display the Provençal delicacies, the Santons and much, much more.

The Town Hall, here on the Place de l’Horologe, hosts one of the region’s largest cribs.The crèche in the Hotel de Ville was set up by the Marcel Carbonel workshop in Marseille. It shows an imaginary landscape decorated with Provençal villages, fields and hills and it features over 600 hand-painted, terracotta santons in this Provençal landscape, there are vineyards, olive groves and hilltop villages. Open every day 9.30am – 7pm. Entrance free. Along side the crèche in the Hotel de Ville, there is a Table Calendale – Christmas Table set up with the thirteen desserts which are the traditional Christmas dessert in Provence. The Christmas supper ends with 13 dessert items, representing Jesus Christ and the 12 apostles.

Cribs can be found at churches all over the city but one of the oldest and most notable ones is on view in the Cathedral, Notre Dame des Doms. These large Santons, from 1830, were made by the Carmelite nuns and they continue to look after them right up to the present day. Many of the costumes are the originals.

The entire Old Town of Avignon is ablaze with candlelight on 8 December from 6pm onwards when the city celebrates a tradition that dates back to the 17th century and is part of a devotion to the Virgin Mary and the Immaculate Conception. On that day, the Palais des Papes is illuminated with over 1,000 lanterns and local residents are invited to respond with candles placed in their windows.

In Provence, it is a religious belief that Christmas should last 40 days and should end at Candlemas. The Provencal tradition welcomes families to gather around the nativity scene on 24 December and it is common practice to attend midnight mass after the “big supper”, which concludes with no less than 13 desserts.

There is also an ice-skating rink on the Place Pie, which is open to all from early December to 1 January.

About Avignon

Located at the confluence of the Rhône and Durance rivers, Avignon is well known for its ramparts, its famous Pont Saint-Bénezet and the Palais des Papes. Avignon, once the City of the Popes rivalling even Rome and for centuries a major artistic centre, is a marvellously preserved town, packed full of interesting museums, monuments, historical buildings, palaces, galleries, cafés and bars. The café-lined Place de l’Horloge is a good place to start and is the site of the imposing Hôtel de Ville and the Opéra. Just around the corner on the Place du Palais is the spectacular Palace of the Popes.


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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