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Aix En Provence
20 Nov - 19 Jan 2014


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. 21 Nov-26 Dec.

One delightful twist is that Aix invites its twin towns to set up stalls displaying their own Christmas traditions and you might discover guests from anywhere from Beijing to Baton Rouge. This part of the festivities takes place on the Allées Provençales, by the Tourist Office. 28 Nov-2 Dec

Later in December, a large tent in the same location houses the Marché des 13 Desserts (the Market of the 13 Desserts), where you can find these traditional delicacies and other regional specialities. 17-24 December.

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.
Marseille-Provence European Capital of Culture 2013

The Marseille-Provence 2013 celebrations extend from Martigues to La Ciotat, including Arles and Aix en Provence as well as Aubagne and other communes in the area.

They go north as far as Saint Rémy de Provence and the Alpilles, stopping just short of Avignon, which had its own moment in the sun as the European Capital of Culture in 2000 (and, besides, is in the département of the Vaucluse).

It's the first time that the European Capital of Culture programme has been extended to cover a whole region rather than just a single city.

The jam-packed agenda is divided into three "episodes". From January to May, Marseille-Provence accueille le monde (Marseille-Provence, Welcoming the World) focusses on the urban Mediterranean.

From June to August, Marseille-Provence à ciel ouvert (Marseille-Provence, Open Sky) has an open-air theme. From September to December, Marseille-Provence aux mille visages (Marseille-Provence, Land of a Thousand Faces) explores the cultural diversity of the region

Some of the Marseille-Provence 2013 project involves prestigious brand-new venues, such as the Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (MuCEM), designed by Rudy Ricciotti, or initiatives such as the Grande Randonnée GR2013, an ambitious 360 km (224 mile) hiking trail created to take you through surprising parts of Provence. for a constantly updated listing of 2013 events
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