It truly is the most wonderful time of the year, and with all of the fabulous celebrations taking place in Provence, we have many ways to enjoy all the splendor of the season. And with the events of the past couple weeks in France, it’s heartwarming to see everyone’s sprits lifted with the coming of the holiday season.
Here’s a short list of some of the happenings around the region, plus a special mention for Arts Alliance – an organization which broadcasts live arts performances (Royal Opéra anyone?) to cinemas around the world, including our very own corner of the world. Très cool!
-Toulon Christmas Market, November 22nd-December 31st
I couldn’t start this list with anything but our very own “hometown” Christmas market. And they’ve really gone all out this year… featuring all the oldies but goodies (talkin’ homemade gingerbread and macarons here) but also they added wine-tasting (across from the “world famous” oyster bar no less), a beer bar, and new rides and games for the kids. Not to mention that all the cute Christmas “chalets” are topped with snow and surrounded by snowy pines – a really nice effect at night with the city’s main fountain aglow in the background.
For more information, please see the Toulon tourist office website.
-Christmas Celebrations in Aix-en-Provence (ongoing)
Whether it’s a visit to the chalets lining the Christmas market on Cours Mirabeau, the traditional Provençal créche (Navitity scene) displays around town, or the numerous concerts & parades, Aix is certainly awash in Christmas festivities. Download a free brochure of all seasonal activities from the Aix-en-Provence tourist office.
-Festival of Lights, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, December 5th (center of town)
The annual Festival of Lights in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is not to be missed. The entire town will be illuminated, with several events including street performances at 5pm. Stores will decorate their windowsills and as you stroll through the center of town, don’t forget to sample the mulled wine and buy a warm bag of chestnuts… oo la lahhh.
Browse the charming photos of last year’s festival on Provence Guide.
-Noël à Saint-Tropez, December 4th to January 3rd
The always glamorous town of Saint-Trop hosts several events every year – guaranteed to put you in the “holiday spirit”, and especially enjoyable during the off season with fewer crowds and a chance to mingle and make merry with the locals.
A few highlights of the season include: a theatre festival, Christmas lights throughout the village, an ice-skating rink with an ice-show, the “small Christmas train”, a chocolat “show”, the arrival of Santa Claus from the sea, New Year’s fireworks, and much much more.
Download the complete Christmas agenda from the Saint Tropez tourist office.
-Christmastime in Avignon, early December 2015 to early January 2016
The city transforms itself into a “fairytale world” – full of entertainment, a central Christmas market, and nativity scenes to explore. Other events include Christmas vigils, midnight mass and Christmas celebrations on the 24th and 25th December in most churches.
For more detailed information, please visit Provence Guide.
-2015 New Year’s Ballet in Avignon (free event), Saturday 10 January at 2:30pm and 8:30 pm
The Ballet corps for the Opéra Grand Avignon celebrates the New Year with 2 ballet performances free of charge – all ages welcome.
Please note the program below, and to reserve visit www.operagrandavignon.fr.
–Entre deux… Music by Félix Mendelssohn, soloists Béryl de Saint-Sauveur and Sylvain Bouvier.
–Pas de deux: Music by Johannes Brahms, Tours et détours; Soloistes: Noémie Bontoux and Ari Soto.
–The Nutcracker: Music by Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski, Deuxième divertissement.
Opéra Grand Avignon
Place de l’Horloge
T. +33 (0) 4 90 14 26 40
Arts Alliance in Provence
Ever wish that great opéra, ballet, or theatre production everyone is talking about was playing just down the street? Well, that’s the job of the innovative creators of Arts Alliance – to bring world-class art events to your local cinema. Très cool indeed!
For example, you can see several performances by the Royal Opera & the Royal Ballet this holiday season (and beyond!) at cinemas around Provence. Here’s a sample of upcoming shows:
In Marseille – Cinéma Le Prado
(December 10th) The Royal Opera: Cavalleria Rusticana/Pagliacci
(December 16th) The Royal Ballet: Casse-Noisette (The Nutcracker)
Reserve your tickets at http://www.rohcinema.fr/billets.
You can also see this line-up in Carpentras on the same dates at Cinéma Rivoli and these (and other screenings) are available in the following cities: Pertuis, Gréoux Les Bains, La Ciotat, Nice, Vence, Digne-les-Bains, and many many other cities throughout France.
For complete cinema event listings, please visit the Royal Opéra House website.
Wishing you all a very joyous holiday season from belle Provence! xx