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I love Paris in the Fall

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Besides doing travel, Anne Suire is also a personal shopper, born and raised in Paris she is still in the know about the city of lights. For $ 1,500 a day, she will take you and your friends to the chic boutiques of Paris and make sure that you get the best treatment from the snooty sales assistants that your hard-earned greenbacks deserve. Just in case  you don’t have an extra few thousand to unload, here are some good advice.

  • Never wear sneakers. Definitely a giveaway that you are a tourist and invite inferior service.
  • It maybe silly but carry a designer’s shopping bag with you, even if you have to borrow one from a friend. It will probably give you shopping credibility. On the off chance that you buy something, have the store send it to your hotel.
  • If you don’t speak French , a ” Bonjour madame”, and a friendly smile should help because they will think that you mean business.
  • If by any chance you run out of steam in the middle of the afternoon, head out to a designer store such as Chanel, Prada or Yves Saint-Laurent, they usually oblige!.
  • Parisian store keepers usually work reasonable hours. They shut their stores at 7PM every weeknight and are closed all day Sunday.
  • Finally, for an only-in-Paris shopping experience , try to snag an appointment at
    Anouschka in Paris.

    Anouschka in Paris.

    Anouschka high end Antique clothing.

    Anouschka high end Antique clothing.

    Anouschka  (

    Anne Suire.

    Anne Suire.

    33-1-48-74-37-00). Located in the 9th district, if you like high-end vintage fans, you have come to the right place. Address is : 6 Avenue du coq, 75009. Paris– Metro Trinite or Saint Lazare.

  • Anne also takes clients to The Paris Flea Markets as well as Provence and all over France.
  • For more information email her at : anne@luxurytravelconsultant2.com

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Eygalieres in Les Alpilles

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The lower slopes of Les Alpilles are covered with vineyards producing Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence-les-Baux, a wine with a very good reputation. In the heart of the Alpilles, the tiny village east of Eygalieres is really too pretty for its own good, now filled with overpriced interior, design shops and restaurants. However its delightful 12th- century chapel St-Sixte, which dominates a luminous hillside speckled with olive and almond trees lifts the spirits. Pagan rites were performed on the hill.Pagan rites involving spring water from les Alpilles were performed on the hills. One still remains: on the day of a couple’s engagement the future husband drinks spring water from his fiance’s hands. If they don’t marry within a year he dies.

Eygalieres is host to the elite, before it was St Tropez, now they have all moved here. This sleepy, tiny village has always been home to artists, but now it has become the Hamptons of Provence.

Le Mas de La Brune

I really liked this place and was delighted by its owner , Marie de LaRouziere  whose property spreads over 5 hectares of newly landscaped gardens surrounded by Lavender, chestnut trees, and roses. The 16th-century Mas ( farmhouse), was built by the mayor of Eygalieres. The decor in the rooms is not the best, but if you make the best of it you can have a wonderful time during your stay. The mas only serves breakfast.( About 2 kilometers north of Eygalieres toward Route St-Remy). Phone number is 4-90-95-90-77

Le Mas dou Pastre

This very simple, 18th-century stone farmhouse B&B has 12 rooms, all decorated in the Provencal style- sunny ochers and apricots, cornflowers blue. When I went there quite a few years ago, no English was spoken there. Albine Roumanille, her husband Maurice and sister Joelle, were extremely gracious. The breakfast was wonderful, coffee, freshly squeeze orange juice, homemade jams and breads , all was wonderful!. The rooms were affordable price wise and I would recommend it to anyone  who does not want to break their bank account. Quartier Saint Sixte ; 4-90-95-92-61

 

Swimming pool at Le Mas dou Pastre

Swimming pool at Le Mas dou Pastre

Le Mas de La Brune

Le Mas de La Brune

Le Bistrot d'Eygalieres Chez Bru

Le Bistrot d’Eygalieres Chez Bru

Exquisite Food at Le Bistrot d'Eygalieres

Exquisite Food at Le Bistrot d’Eygalieres

Le Bistrot d'Eygalieres.

Le Bistrot d’Eygalieres.

Vegetables  in Provence

Vegetables in Provence

Provencal Food

Provencal Food

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Le Bistrot d’Eygalieres Chez Bru

Belgian born owner chef Wout Bru‘s dishes, are all densely flavored poached prawns with a compote of tomatoes; seared foie gras in a Balsamic reduction or a tart of sweet, delicate sardines; roast pigeon with shallot confit and Tarragon essence; also a rich and flaky caramelized apple tart was out of this world. The owner has expanded so the place looks very different and the colors are as bland as the restaurant decor. Rue de La Republique ; 4-90-90-60-34

Visit us online at http://www.luxurytravelconsultant2.com Fall Provence Tours/ thanksgiving 2015

Anne Suire

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Hiking, the best way to discover the Vaucluse and the Luberon/ Part 2

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Hike from Apt to Saignon

Apt‘s history goes back to Roman times when it was a prosperous ancient city. Remnants of its days as a Christian bishopric are also visible  in its gorgeous 11th-century Saint-Anne Cathedral. Today  the town is loved for its candied fruits, jams, lavender essence and truffles and a very colorful market that teems with Provencal produce on Saturday mornings. When you arrive in Apt park your car in the cours Lauze-de-Perret car park in the east of town,and then you are ready to set out on your hike. On foot your will have to take D48 and walk along until you see the Auriane track on the left, you will then head left and cross the bridge over the Rimayon river. As the road sweeps left you will have to keep walking straight along the path that climbs the hill, then bear left and and follow a tarmac path for ( 164ft) until you eventually get to the Ginestiere crossroads. Once you get there stay to your right and follow the D174 to get to the village entrance, which leads to the pretty place de la Fontaine.

Saignon is not very well known by tourists. If you go there visit the Prieure and Farm built in the middle ages on a Gallo- Roman site and continued to expand until the 19th-century. The church contains Medieval frescoes , and the excavations of a first-century villa are seen through a grill in the floor. Exhibitions are staged in the farm while the gardens are devoted to historic and scented plants. To get to Saignon, make a turn left on Rue du Bourget and walk about ( 330 ft) until you reach a cobbled path, on your left that leads to kind of a square in the parking lot. At the bottom of the car park, you will find a path winding around the village’s ramparts. After the last house take a deep breath and climb the steps to the main castle ruins and marvel at the vistas from the lookout point. Then go back down the ramparts before going left and joining the D174. From place de la Fontaine backtrack to the Ginistere crossroads, and turn right. After the bend, keeping Tourel (a settlement) on your left, take the short cut at the next bend and continue straight for (650 ft). At the next bend turn left along a dirt track and head straight through an oak forest and then a residential area. Continue straight , and then cross the old N100, using the steps to join the cycle path. You will have to keep going over the Cavalon River and then head up a ramp on the right to follow the D22 back to Apt. Finish your hike with a hearty French meal at Auberge du Luberon http://francemarket.com/auberge-luberon, located in a century- old  building in the city’s historic center.

Luberon, Provence.

Luberon, Provence.

Updated Privacy Policy

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High and Low season, when is the best time to travel to Provence.

Don’t even think about visiting Provence in high season without reserving accommodation. From the beginning of July to the end of August, the region and especially the Riviera and Cote d’Azur is at its busiest and everything, from Grand hotels to camp sites, is totally full. May to mid-June and September to mid- October are a lot less crowded. Some smaller hotels in rural areas from November to February.

How to book.

You can book direct with hotels and other accommodation providers by phone, fax and increasingly by email and via the web. The French government tourist office website provides useful links for finding and booking accommodation. You will  normally be asked for a deposit, which you can pay by credit card in most larger hotels and camp sites  or by money order.

Villas’ accommodation.

At Luxury Travel Consultant2 we love villas. Do you want to know why, they are an open window to a culture and lifestyle.

A villa holiday offers a more luxurious version of self-catering. Most of the villas are in or near coastal resorts and most of them have a pool. They also offer basic maid service ( cleaning and linen change), but the more luxurious ones can be fully staffed with cook, valet service and chauffeur. Luxury Travel Consultant2 provides chauffeurs and tour guides who are local and bilingual most of the time. A local chef will plan a menu and make you discover the local cuisine.

Yachts and cruisers.

You don’t have to be mega-rich to stay on a yacht or cruiser. The closer you get to Cannes or Antibes the more expensive such boats become, but they are less ostentatious vessels in such harbours as Le Lavandou and Sainte Maxime.

For more information contact Anne at anne@luxurytravelconsultant2.com

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Women and Travel.

Women who travel in a group.
My name is Anne Suire, I am the owner of Luxury Travel Consultant2.  I enjoy quality Travel, what I am saying is , if I travel I enjoy being with a small group of people. I like to experience a country, I do not enjoy big buses and do not want to be looked at as a tourist but as a curious and respectful visitor.
A way to experience a culture would be to rent a villa with other people and have a local chef cook for you and a local driver driver. The tour would be organized to your liking of course and interesting activities would please your senses and curious minds.
What do you like to do when you travel?
Visit monasteries, hiking, Visit a truffle farm, Shopping, meditation or yoga for the entire week, culinary delights, wine tasting,nature sanctuaries, touring the region?
Would you enjoy staying in a very nice Provencal villa with double accommodation or single accommodation or both?
Do you like having a chef? do you like having a driver / tour guide but you think that upscale is too expensive?.
Would you like having breakfast, lunch and dinner and wine at dinner time included in the total price as well as train rides ( round trip) and also activities?
Please let us know we would love to take you with us to France or Italy.
We do not take care of flights to and from the country you will visit.
We always do a one week stay, would you like to stay longer than a week?
Please contact us and let us know your thoughts or email Anne directly at anne@luxurytravelconsultant2.com .imgresimgres-1imgresimgres-2images-2
dining-2

Dining room

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Chateau Romanin

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Where would you stay in Provence.

Part Two.

Self- catered Accommodations.

The south of France offers a vast range of self-catering inexpensive farm cottages, history-laden chateaux with gourmet meals, sprawling villas inland and on the riviera, as well as flats in modern beach resorts and even canal boats. The Federation national des gites de France is a French government service offering inexpensive accommodations by the week in rural areas. Lists with photos are available from the maison des gites de France www.gites-de-france.fr , their email is info@gites-de-france.fr

Are you trying to get back to nature, but with a villa included? with a panda gites and b&bs in collaboration with gites de France and the federation of French nature Reserves. Included in the cost of your stay is a discovery pack of binoculars, local maps and guides. See Gites -de-France information. The accommodation they offer will always nearly always be more comfortable and costly than a gite.

A few addresses to explore.

Allez France. Wide variety of accommodation from cottages to chateaux. allezfrance@mail.com

French life holidays. www.frenchlife.co.uk –  They offer apartments and gites in the south of France.

InnTravel. they offer apartments with pools.www.inntravel.co.uk

Vacances en Campagne. they offer farmhouses, villas and gites. www.indiv-travellers.com

Anne Suire

Luxurytravelconsultant2.com

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Where would you like to stay in Provence?

Part One.

Everybody is different when it comes to vacationing, some people love hotels, luxury villas while others love  camping, bed and breakfast, youth hostels or camping cars .

Every establishment has a wide range of rooms and prices. It always depends on what you are looking for , in that case prices can increase or decrease and the difference can be enormous, a large room with antique furniture, a television or a balcony with sweeping views , a complete bathroom will cost much more than a poky back room in the same hotel with a window overlooking a car park, no antiques and the WC down the hall. Most two stars hotel have their own showers and WC, most one star offers room with or without. A reminder always book ahead to make your vacation much sweeter and enjoyable!. There are chain hotels in most cities and they are pretty much geared to the business traveler more than the tourist. You can always stay in Relais du Silence, one is Le Mas des Romarins in Gordes, with amazing views of the Luberon and Gordes, it is a five star hotel with great charm!. Also another Relais du silence is Hotel Villa Borghese is located in Greoux- Les- Bains near Aix en Provence and not far from Manosque, the rate is approximately 75 euros  ( please check)/ night per room. Also Relais et Chateaux offers  more to an upscale clientele.

Bed and Breakfast. are usually located in rural areas, there are plenty of opportunities for a stay in a private home or farm. Prices tend to be moderate or inexpensive – Fleurs – du- Soleil offers maisons d’hotes and B&Bs throughout southern France.

Gites d’etape and refuges. Most cities have youth hostels and  ( Auberges de Jeunesse), they offer simple dormitory accommodation and breakfast. The majority offers kitchen facilities as well or inexpensive meals. They are the best deals for people traveling on their own.

Camping is another option as well as camping cars if you want to visit the region. there is at least one campsite in every town, inexpensive and run by the town itself ( camping municipal). Other campsites are graded with stars like hotels, from four to one, at the top of the line you can expect lots of trees and grass , hot showers, a pool or beach, sports facilities and a grocery, a bar and or/ restaurant. Again everything is booked in July and August, beware!.

Next chapter Self-catering accommodations.

Provence in the Fall.

http://www.travelconsultant2.com

Contact info at : anne@luxurytravelconsultant2.com

 

 

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Provence in the Fall

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The best time to visit Provence is when the tourist season is over, then you can enjoy and relax in the warm sun!.

Each season has its pros and cons. In January the tourists are in the Alps or Pyrenees , in February the mimosa and almonds bloom on the Cote d’Azur . In April and May you can sit outside at restaurants and swim, and within an hour’s drive you can ski at Auron or Isola 2000. By June, the Mistral ( gusty winds) is slowing down and the resorts begin to fill up, walking is safe in the highest mountains. July and August are definitely not the best months to visit, when everything is crowded and temperatures and prices soar and tempers fare!. I will say that it is also the season of great festivals in Avignon, Aix ,Juan les Pins and Nice. Once French school holidays end in early September, prices and crowds decrease with the temperature. In October the temperature is still mild inland and on the coast!.

Planning a trip to Provence this coming fall 2017?

We offer travel planning, Villa rentals, hiring a private chef, nannies and drivers, the best itineraries, wine tasting, truffle hunting. We also offer private tours and small tour groups ( not more than 12 guests).

Visit us online at : http://www.luxurytravelconsultant2.com

Contact information and best way to connect is via email: anne@luxurytravelconsultant2.com.Luxury Travel Consultant2.

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Pony trails in La Camargue

some of the best places to go horseback riding are in the Luberon and Bouches du Rhone. Try Provence a Cheval ( http://perso.orange.fr/provence.cheval, which offers 2 days excursions with overnight accommodations in such village as Saignon or La Sarlette (Route du Mas des Mauniers) in Eygalieres; http://www.lasarriette.com near Saint Remy. If your dream is to ride a white horse from La Camargue, contact la Bergerie de Maguelonne. ( route d’Arles, 13460. Les Saintes Maries- de -La -Mer; http://www.camargue-a-cheval.com. Many schools won’t require you to wear an helmet, but you are on your own, wear an helmet and have insurance in case. Also when you book ask for one!. The Federation Francaise d’equitation has very useful addresses for riding vacations, http://www.ffe.com.

For more information contact anne@luxurytravelconsultant2.com

Two Special offers from Luxury Travel Consultant2

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Hiking, cycling & golfing in Provence.

Hiking in  Luberon and Vaucluse in Provence.

A two day hiking trip in Provence will take you from postcard perfect Gordes to the market town of Apt , with an overnight stay in Gordes. Know that you will need a car to travel between Gordes and Apt, and then you can proceed on these hikes on foot. Luxury Travel Consultant2 offers hiking tours to their clients and our tour guides are local and bilingual. If you start from Gordes ( trip / 11 miles), time 2 days; each day hike is about 3 hours ( excluding picnic time).

Hike from Gordes to l’abbaye de Senanque.

Gordes  is one of France’s spectacular villages perches, small Medieval towns that look like they are growing from the hilltops where they were built to protect the inhabitants from invaders.

Park your car , bring a picnic along and start your hike in the Place du Chateau in Gordes. Take the second road to the right. Take the second road to the right of the Provencal cafe ( not the D15 to Murs) which leads past the post office. Bear right at the Y junction past the cemetery, continue straight down until the next Y junction and you will turn left down a road lined with with dry-stoned walls – This leads to D15, go straight then turn left uphill until you come across a signpost marked  Fontanille by then you should have walked 30 minutes. Bear left by the Fontanille  campsite, you should see some mailboxes; turn right when you reach another fork, take the rocky path to the right and continue left along a narrow path with fields to your right. When you get to the Senanque Hamlet you will reach a crossroad go downhill into the woods, at the next crossroad you will find a vehicle -friendly road, just head straight.Cross the road to climb the GR6/97, you will find a path 33 yards downhill toward the Abbaye.

The Abbaye of Senanque has seen much death and destruction before becoming the tranquil retreat it is today. It was founded by cistercian monks in the 12th century. Note that the abbaye is closed  between 12 ( noon)to 2:30 pm.

If you are staying in Gordes stay at Hotel les Bories. http://www.hotellebories.com. If you want to find a great place to dine, go to Les cuisines du Chateau, a nice restaurant in Gordes’ epicerie ( food market ) originally built in the 1850’s. This is one of the many hikes in Luberon, Provence.

You can also do a hike from Apt to Saignon!

Organized bike tours in Provence.

If you go cycling anywhere always make sure that you have sufficient water, food , sun and protection, and suitable clothing and footwear.

For Provence visit the site, http://www.cometofrance.com, organizes 3- or 4-day bike tours along the Luberon‘s verdant wine routes.

Golfing in Provence.

If you want to play multiple courses, buy the golf pass Provence, which allows you to play 16 golf courses. The packages may vary between 135 Euros to 275 Euros for 3- or 5- green passes are reserved to golfers outside of France and can be used in different clubs. For more information, go to http://www.golfpass-provence.com

The Garden Golf d’Avignon , is 10 minutes away from centre ville ( downtown). http://www.gardengoldavignon.com  ( 9 & 18 holes).

The Sainte Victoire Golf club , is an 18-holes golf course stands out from the crowd by virtue of its views, the Mountain Ste Victoire prized by Cezanne. http://www.saintvictoiregolfclub.com.

Anne Suire

Travel With us to Provence in 2017.

http://www.luxurytravelconsultant2.comLove is in the air, Fall in love in Provence.imgresimgres-2imagesimgres-1

 

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Christmas in Provence

To taste all the Provence flavors during the holiday season, nothing’s better than the truffles, olive oil ( PDO Aix-en-Provence ) and 13 desserts markets.

Craftsmen and local producers present a multitude of products on their market’s stalls during Christmas

Do not miss the twin cities’ international market where the twin towns’ merchants , craftsmen and friends meet in Aix-en-Provence to discover their mutual cultural and gastronomic heritage.

With its many festivities, its ancient, mysterious and mystical traditions and glittering illuminations, Provence in midwinter reveals another side of itself.

It might be very different from the lavender fields, rosé wine and blazing sun of high summer. But, in a very different way, this time of year in the South of France is just as romantic and spectacular.

This page tells you where in Provence to find the best Christmas markets, fairs, festivals, exhibitions, pastorales (nativity plays), pastrages (shepherds’ processions) and other events that will light up the landscape in winter.

Our attention here is on the main towns and cities, but a number of the smaller villages will also have their own local Christmas celebrations.

Aix en Provence.

The area around La Rotonde and the Cours Mirabeau is decked in lights and local stores make a magnificent effort with their festive decorations and window displays.

There’s tons more going on in terms of markets and special events. The Cours Mirabeau is lined with children’s fairground rides and around 50 chalets selling gifts, handicrafts and food and drink specials. 16 November-25 December 2016.

There is also a Christmas crib of traditional santons in a chalet near the Monoprix department store half-way down the boulevard. The Cours Mirabeau and,  the celebrated statue of Good King René in festive guise. The Cours is closed to traffic during the Christmas period.

New in 2016: a program of activities around the “three squares” (Madeleine, Prêcheurs and Verdun) in the Old Town. It’s designed to inject life into this part of Aix, which is suffering from the effects of massive restoration works.

Among the innovations: a giant Christmas tree and an English-style pillar box for children to post their letters to Santa Claus.

In early December Aix celebrates the Fête de la Sainte Lucie, a Festival of Lights of Swedish origin. It starts at the Cathedral in the early evening, and moves on to the place Verdun for traditional Swedish songs and a tasting of something called glögg (Swedish mulled wine). 6-9pm, 13 December.

Mid December sees the Bravade Calendale, a ceremonial procession along the Cours Mirabeau with musicians, dancers and folklore galore. 2.30pm, 18 December.

This year the santonniers (vendors of Christmas crib figures) are also in the area in front of the Tourist Office, from 18 November-31 December 2016.

And it’s still not over in January, when an Epiphany procession, the Marche des Rois, pays homage to the Three Kings (accompanied by their three camels).

It starts at 2pm and winds through the streets of Aix, pausing from time to time along the way for a festival carol or folk song. The procession ends with a ceremony at the city Cathedral at 4pm – and no doubt plenty of tastings of the traditional brioche des rois Epiphany cake. 8 January 2017.

ARLES

Christmas is celebrated in more unusual style in Arles during its Drôles de Noëls (Funny Christmases).

In the week before Christmas, circus performers, singers, puppeteers, magicians, theatre and firework displays  turn the city’s streets and Roman arena into one huge – and entirely free – street-art spectacle. Even the car-parking is free! 21-24 December 2016.

For traditionalists, the city also hosts an important santons conference, the Salon International des Santonniers, the largest event of its kind in France.

The theme in 2016 is the olivades (olive festival) and there are around 100 guest santonniers from all over Europe – and, this year, from Africa too (expect some stables to feature zebras and giraffes!). It’s held in the Cloître Saint Trophime, 19 November-15 January 2017.

There is additionally a more conventional santons market at the Espace Van Gogh, where you can buy the little figurines. 19-20 November 2016.

Arles also has a popular early Christmas crafts market, Provence Prestige. It boasts some 150 artisans and exhibitors and in 2016 is held in the city’s Palais des Congrès from 24-28 November.  Over the same weekend there’s also a Christmas market in the centre of Arles around the place du Forum.

AVIGNON

Avignon had traditionally held one of Provence’s prettiest and most popular Christmas markets on the place de l’Horloge, with wooden chalets selling Provencal delicacies, santons, fabrics and more.)

But all that has been changing. And now, after a disastrous failed experiment to scatter the Christmas market all over the walled city, it has been cancelled completely in 2016-2017.

Instead the city is working on a street festival aimed at children. The centre piece is a “children’s village” on the place Pie (10-31 December 2016), with performances, parades and concerts at the weekends.

Devoted to Provençal history and heritage, the 15th century Le Palais du Route houses a crib and celebratory Gros Souper table. Members of the local folklore association, L’Estello d’Avignon, are delighted to talk to visitors about their traditions. 3 rue Collège du Roure, Hôtel de Baroncelli-Javon. Tel: (+33) 4 90 80 80 88.

Avignon’s main crib, one of the biggest in the region is designed by Marcel Carbonel, a leading local santonnier and features over 600 hand painted, terracotta santons in a Provençal landscape, with vineyards, olive groves and hilltop villages.

It’s displayed, as in previous years, in the Eglise des Célestins on the place des Corps Saints, where a santon-makers‘ village will be installed.

One of Avignon‘s oldest and most notable cribs is on view in the Cathedral, Notre Dame des Doms. Its large wax santons were first fashioned around 1830 by the Carmelite order and its nuns continue today to maintain and restore these fragile treasures (many of their costumes are originals). Place du Palais. Tel: (+33) 4 90 82 12 21.

LES BAUX DE PROVENCE

The princes who once controlled Les Baux de Provence claimed to be the descendants of Balthazar, one of the Three Wise Men, and the 16-pointed silver star which guided the kings to Bethlehem is still on the municipal coat of arms. So you expect Christmas in this stunning hilltop village to be something special.

Midnight Mass, Christmas, Les Baux de Provence  The highlight of Christmas in Les Baux de Provence is Christmas Eve, when festivities begin at 2pm with an aubade, or procession of sheep, shepherds, musicians and dancers through the village.

Midnight mass is celebrated from 11.30pm in the beautiful 12th century Saint Vincent’s Church (pictured).

During the service, traditional musical instruments accompany Provençal songs and a human crib populated by locals dressed in folk costumes, while shepherds converge for the pastrage to bring the baby Jesus a gift of a new-born lamb.

Les Baux also holds a santons fair in October at which santonniers demonstrate their art at locations all over the village. In December there are workshops at which children can make their own Christmas crib figures. 17-23 and 26-30 December.

The village’s large santons crib has a different theme and geographical setting each year. In 2016 it’s created by artist Pauline Ohrel out of delicate wire netting.

It has the perfect location: the 17th century Chapelle des Pénitents (Penitents’ Chapel) decorated with huge murals (1974) by Yves Brayer  depicting Provençal shepherds as they celebrate Christmas.

Another little shepherd is the hero of an exhibition of charming illustrations by Jean-Marc Rossi telling the story of a young local boy who one night, while tending his flock, sees a new star in the sky… At the Hôtel de Manville, 17 December-3 January 2017.

Children will also love the impromptu sheepfold on the church square where young shepherds tend their flock, herd the sheep daily through the village at and answer questions about their work. It’s on every day from 17 December-3 January 2017 (except 25 December and 1 January).

There are various Christmas-themed activities happening within the precinct of the Château des Baux too throughout the school holidays.

CASSIS

The picturesque coastal town of Cassis has a Christmas market right in the centre of town on the place Baragnon. 2-11 December 2016. Part of this square becomes an ice rink for the duration of the cold weather. 17 December-26 February 2017.

MARSEILLE

Dating back to 1803, the Marseille Foire aux Santons is the very oldest of them all and opens in mid-November. At the official inauguration, a santonniers‘ mass is celebrated in Provençal at the church of Saint Vincent de Paul, followed by a procession down the Canebière to the sound of the tambourin, a long, traditional drum.

Some 30 santonniers display their wares in chalets on the place Charles de Gaulle and along the Canebière. In 2016 Marseille’s Foire aux Santons runs from 20 November-31 December.

The city’s Christmas craft market on the Old Port offers ceramics, traditional Marseille soap, wooden toys, sweets, cookies and chocolates. 20 November-31 December 2016.

For children, there are roundabouts and other attractions on the Old Port, the Cours Belsunce and the place Léon Blum near the top of the Canebière as well as the Giant Ferris Wheel on the Old Port itself.

Weekends are spiced up by street entertainment: this year it features Santa’s elves, a parade led by Mother Christmas, gospel music, capoeira and more. The city’s Christmas illuminations are switched on on December 2.

SAINT RÉMY DE PROVENCE

Saint Rémy de Provence holds a little “Nocturne de Noël” – sometimes referred to as the Fête des Lumières – in early December, when the town’s illuminations are all switched on. Shops in the centre of town are open late and live music, mulled wine and soup are on offer. In 2016 it’s on 10 December.

Saint Rémy’s main Christmas market is held just before Christmas on the place de la Mairie and offers crafts and santons, plus the ingredients for the seven dishes and 13 Desserts of the gros souper or Great Supper traditionally eaten in Provence on Christmas Eve. 16-18 December.

Also in the run-up to the big day, there’s a performance of the pastorale an open-air dance celebration and bonfire and on 24 December a midnight mass.

TOULON

Toulon has a daily Christmas market of around 40 chalets on the place de la Liberté from 25 November to 31 December 2016, plus a large, animated crib of over 700 santons. Look out for the city’s Mont Faron Cable Car!

On the place d’Armes is a giant skating rink. 7-31 December 2016.

At weekends throughout December there are festive parades through the town, climaxing in the arrival of Santa Claus on the port on Christmas Eve.

Saint Rémy de Provence

Set in the rolling Alpilles hills south of Avignon, Saint Rémy de Provence is one of the region’s favourite holiday destinations, with its pretty old town, boulevard cafés, many colourful festivals and traditions and two important tourist sights, the huge Roman ruins of Glanum and Saint Paul de Mausole, where Vincent van Gogh spent the last year of his life.

You can read about all this and more below in our guides to the town, to Saint Paul and to another of Saint Rémy’s most popular attractions, its superb Wednesday morning street market. 

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