Provence has year round charms. From poppy fields in spring to lavender fields in summer and the ripe vineyards of the fall. But in the winter holiday season, festive magic fills the air. If you love sparkle and Christmas décor, if you love great food and wine, culture and art, then this tour of Provence at Christmas is perfect for you…
Provence for the holidays
Martine Bertin-Peterson of Gout et Voyage hosts a small group tour that takes you to the heart of Provence at Christmas. You’ll visit Avignon, with its monumental Palace of the Popes, the famous Pont d’Avignon (and yes, you can dance on this bridge), winding cobbled streets and elegant squares. The city is transformed into a fairy-tale world with its twinkling lights and dazzling decorations for the festive season. Sparkling St. Remy, shimmering Marseille and captivating Carpentras are all on your itinerary.
Both Les Baux de Provence, which loves to celebrate Christmas with exhibitions and events, and Orange with its incredible Roman theatre, have wow factor galore. And you’ll visit smaller towns, renowned for their gorgeous Christmas decorations. You’ll be entranced by the nativity scenes, a Provencal tradition. Many of these places were the inspiration for great artists from Cezanne and Van Gogh. Walking in their footsteps at this time of the year is especially enchanting.
The enchanting traditions of Provence
You’ll get to visit a famous Santon fair. It’s the prefect place to buy a special souvenir for you and your friends and family. These tiny hand painting figurines are traditional in France. They’re used in nativity scenes and displayed on shelves, even on cakes, and range from saints to celebrities! And there’s plenty of opportunity to do a bit of Christmas shopping too.
Delicious festive food
Foodie walking tours and visits to the traditional markets will introduce you to the mouth-watering dishes of the season. Enjoy the aromas of roasting chestnuts and mulled wine, sweet cakes and tangy olives. Nibble on the sweet and sticky locally made crystallized fruit and nougat. Indulge in scrumptious pastries from bakeries filled with elaborate Christmas sweets, and feast on hearty dishes that make your soul soar.
December is the perfect time to go hunting for the underground jewels of Provence – truffles. Your hunt will end with a truffle tasting paired with Champagne, what a way to toast the holiday season! You’ll also visit vineyards and taste the finest wines of the Rhone Valley.
Learn to cook with a chef
You’ll enjoy fabulous cooking classes at the home of local chefs and learn to prepare some of the most delicious recipes of Provence including authentic bouillabaisse. It’s a great way to immerse yourself into the local food and culture and take a little bit of France home with you.
This tour is ideal for couples, friends, singles and anyone who loves Christmas!