Ashley TinkerMarkets in Provence and Cote d'AzurTaste: Food & Drink

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).

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Ashley Tinker

Ashley Tinker

Ashley was born and raised in Montréal, Canada. She has always been drawn to the history, way of life and beauty of Europe. Her feelings for Europe were reconfirmed while studying art in Florence, Italy. Ashley says that stone buildings, colourful shutters and terra cotta tile rooftops fill her dreams and now her days.

Ashley moved to Provence in 2014 with her partner Robin (he also shares her Francophile passions). They are in search of the French joie de vivre, which they find at every turn in the local markets and natural beauty of Provence. This couple are indulging in local olives and wine as the Provencal sunshine changes craggy rocks into things of beauty.

You can see all of Ashley's blog posts on Curious Provence.

Take a look at Ashley's beautiful fine art photography on her Photographer in Provence website.

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