It may seem strange to associate the Christmas markets to a seaside but even here in Provence the Christmas atmosphere is felt and all the main cities have a Christmas market worthy of the name.
We went for a stroll to Cannes, Aix en Provence and of course to Nice. They have all the classic wooden houses to accommodate local artisans but a very different atmosphere between them et voilà.
Aix en Provence
The Christmas market of Aix en Provence is located along the Cours Mirabeau, a long road lined with typical white wooden houses, will be open until December 31st and you can find many original ideas for your Christmas gifts. In addition to typical Provencal products based on lavender and truffle, there are many artisans who present their creations in wood, chocolate and paper. A gentleman exhibits and sells his photographs of the area and at the bottom you will find a couple of candy stands and of course the classic salty and sweet Bretzel.
Although in Provence the cold is not present, during our visit on December 15th the 4 ° C made us tighten our mulled wine in our hands, ah a recommendation: in France is called vin chaud (hot wine).
From 15 to 24 December you will also find the market of 13 desserts in Place François Villon. An exclusively gastronomic indoor market where you can taste Provençal specialties and some typical sweets of the city.
The Christmas market in Cannes is located in Allées de la Liberté, next to the harbour and it’s a real Village de Noël. It will remain open until 6 January and children can meet Santa Claus in one of the village’s decorated chalets. The Christmas atmosphere here is even more felt and in addition to the numerous decorations and gastronomic variety you can skate in the 400sqm ice rink right there. On the other side of the road, in addition to the numerous colored carousels, you can see the tallest Christmas tree of Provence (33m).
The Christmas atmosphere continues along the main streets with resounding music and colorful lights.
We must admit that we are biased but the markets in Nice are those that have fascinated us the most. It is a real Village de Noël in Place Masséna. They will remain open until December 31 and know that you risk doing a little queue due to security checks.
We have witnessed the lighting of the square and it was a real show. Along the Coulée Verte, games of light and water allow you to see incredible reflections. The illuminated wheel is one of the reasons why Place Masséna is my favorite square and the projections on the surrounding buildings make the atmosphere truly magical.
In addition to small wooden chalets with local products and craft creations, you will also find the stand of the city of Nice, very special and fascinating photographs and at the center benches where you can savor the specialties served as well as the vin chaud balnc ou rouge à choisir.
Even here you can go on skates and finally enjoy the view from the illuminated wheel.
What do you say, Provence can also be a winter destination, right?