Monday, 8 December 2014

Christmas Markets in the South of France

This is such a lovely time of the year in the South of France, the days are crisp, the skies are blue and there are wonderful Christmas markets to explore.

Cannes Christmas Market - on the port in Cannes, the aromas of Christmas spices waft through the array of stalls selling everything from hand made leather goods to locally produced wines and champagnes.

Monaco Christmas Market - Another 'must visit' at this time of year and with all the fun of the fair for the children.

Aix en Provence - In the centre of town on the Cours Mirabeau, this is a very Provencal Christmas market with all the delights of Pain d'Epices and locally made nougat for sale.

Christmas markets and villages pop up throughout the South of France at this time of year and it's well worth checking with local tourist offices if you are visiting to ensure that you don't miss out on this most wonderful of traditions.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

Raining in the South of France

The South of France is known for the region where we enjoy over 300 days of sunshine each year....except not today....and in fact not this week. November 2014 has been one of the wettest on record but also one of the warmest. And in a region where water is at a premium the Cote d'Azur is counting itself lucky that we may avoid the inevitable hosepipe bans next spring and summer.

Much of the regions water is stored in man made lakes such as the Lac St Croix and Lac St Cassian, both of which are beautiful 'natural' spots and ideal in the summer months for enjoying a range of activities such as fishing, boating or simply sitting on the shoreline and enjoying the exceptional views.

The Lake at St Croix

Lake St Cassian

And happily, the sunshine will make a welcome re-appearance tomorrow....

Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas in the South of France

There are many wonderful traditions here in the South of France, not least some of the wonderful Christmas markets on the port in Cannes or over on the Cours Mirabeau in Aix en Provence. The markets are full of delicious Christmas treats, all part of the traditional French Christmas.

Decorations - Even the smallest of villages will be sporting Christmas lights, traditionally illuminated on the 1st December and in the larger towns and cities there is a distinct sense of competition for the largest and most impressive displays. Here is a recent photo of the Christmas lights in Monaco in the most celebrated of locations, Casino Square.

Food and Drink - This is the land of gastronomy and Christmas is a time when even the most humble of households will be serving platters of fresh seafood, delicious 'Buche de Noel' or Christmas logs in chocolate, chesnut or vanilla flavour and possibly one of the most common delicacies over the festive season is Foie Gras - and of course everything is accompanied with a delicious champage and selection of wines. 

Creche - In Provence there is a tradition of each household having their own creche, complete with Provencal village. The characters in the creche are known as santons and are an integral part of Christmas in this part of the world. There are many famous santon designers and makers and there are many markets dedicated to santons throughout Provence