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Aix En Provence
18 Nov - 27 Dec 2015


The dignified elegance of Aix en Provence takes on a fairytale aspect when lit for Christmas, in particular the cours Mirabeau.

This wide boulevard is lined with children's fairground rides and around 50 chalets selling gifts, handicrafts and food and drink specialities.

There will also be a Christmas crib of traditional santons in a chalet next to the Monoprix department store on the cours Mirabeau.

Truffle-collecting is a well-kept secret among families in the know: dogs or pigs trained in the art are a precious commodity. With a pound of the black gold fetching up to US$500 on the market, once you find a patch, you most certainly keep it to yourself. As with other treasures of nature (chanterelle and morrel mushrooms, for instance), local turf is well guarded to discourage ramblers from helping themselves. However, there is nothing to stop you spending your cash on one of these rare underground fungi: their flavour is second to none and a little goes a long way.

A small piece of truffle can fragrance the best scrambled eggs you've ever eaten, or make a truly fine risotto. Even better, make the most of the other produce on offer and make your own truffle-infused olive oil to pour on pasta and salad.

09.00 – 19.00
Tel. 33 (0)4 42 161 161

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How to say "Merry Christmas" in French:: Joyeux Noel

No visit to Aix is truly complete without a trip to Les Deux Garçons, the city's legendary brasserie known informally as the 2Gs. You don't go there for its food or its service (though both are perfectly adequate) but to soak up its rich history, marvel at the ornate First Empire interior and bask on the terrace, a peerlessly pleasant spot simply to sit and watch the passing parade.
What else is on offer

Mid December sees the Bravade Calendale, a ceremonial procession along the Cours Mirabeau with musicians, dancers and folklore galore. In 2015 it's on 20 December

Aix also sets up a large marquee on the place François Villon near the Tourist Office. Various special events and markets are held here and along the nearby Allées Provençales throughout the festivities.

First off is an invitation to Aix's twin towns to set up stalls displaying their own Christmas traditions and you might discover guests from anywhere from Bath to Baalbeck. 2-6 December 2015.

After that the same location houses an Olive Oil Festival (12-13 December) followed by the Marché des 13 Desserts (the Market of the 13 Desserts), where you can find these traditional delicacies and other regional specialities. 18-24 December.

This year the santonniers (vendors of Christmas crib figures) are also on the Allées Provençales, from 19 November-30 December. 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 the Cours Saint Louis at and winds through the streets, 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. 10 January 2016.

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Chalk Farm Publishing Ltd, Riverside Lodge, Collier Close, Camerton, Bath BA2 0QB, UK
Tel: +44 (0)1761 479645  Fax: +44 (0)1761 479663  E-Mail:

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