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  • Writer's pictureLuc Citrinot

Christmas in France: Aix en Provence Santons'Fair

Updated: Dec 27, 2020

Aix en Provence is located 30 km away North of Marseille. This elegant city is considered the cultural capital of Provence as it used to be the seat of Provence parliament. As a home to Southern France traditions, the city organises since 1934 a Santons' Fair. Santons are small hand-painted terracotta figurines which are set in Provence cribs. Santons not only represent traditional nativity characters but also local people.

The Aix-en-Provence Santon Fair is a real shop-window for santon-makers. Half a dozen of santon makers set their shop in the city centre, on Cézanne Esplanade, near Aix most famous boulevard, Cours Mirabeau. The large boulevard hosts a large nativity scene during the exhibition which normally runs from the end of November to early January. Aix artisan santon-makers work together to make the traditional nativity crib.

Visitors to the Fair can buy figures from various sizes. And if you do not buy anything, you can only admire the incredible creativity of the Santon makers. They are true artists and santons can be an excellent souvenir to bring back home.

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