Holidays the Fontvieille Foire Gourmande au Gras
Christmas Market in Fontvieille
The last Sunday in November there has been for the past 6 years the Foire Gourmand au Gras. This annual market is not for the faint of heart. It’s here that many locals stock up on Christmas seasonal treats from the South West of France. The ‘fat’ festival includes mountains of foie gras, oysters, truffles, champagne, all manner of high-quality poultry and other regional products.
Continue reading here to see the Curious Provence photos of this Christmas market in the Alpilles
Christmastime in Provence
Provence is magical during the Christmas season. France is affected by the commercialization that snares the rest of the world, at this time of the year. However, holiday traditions remain entrenched and the decorations are magical.
The sparkling, festive ambiance of Europe’s Christmas markets is legendary. The Strasbourg Christkindelsmärik is one of the largest in France, with some 2-million visitors attending during the month-long market. Although much smaller than Strasbourg, the holiday markets in Provence are equally joyful. The weather is warmer than in northern France, and these events have plenty of seasonal flair and gourmet temptations. Read more about Provencal holiday traditions.
Santons and Provence
Christmas in Provence would not be the same without the santons. This ritual is an old tradition of representing the nativity scene with tiny characters. The custom started in churches during the 13th-century, thanks to Saint Francis of Assisi, which earned him the patronage of animals, merchants, and santonniers (the makers of santons).
During the French Revolution, public nativity scenes were banned. The ban did not stop, or instead may have encouraged, families from creating creches in their homes with tiny figurines representing the nativity. However, it was only in the 19th century, that the Provencal creche began to include a set of clay characters. These figures represent the common trades (baker, butcher, sheepherder, washerwoman, fisherman, and so on) in a village. Discover the santons (little saints).