Preparing for Christmas, something I cherish, so resplendent with memories and nostalgia. Traditions and reminiscences of your own childhood when everything seemed magical and then the childhood of your children, when you tried to recreate that same magic for them.
Watching Christmas preparations unfold all round me in Provence, there is scare evidence of the frenzied consumerism that can swallow you whole if you allow it to. Here things are more understated and calmer.
The winding streets of Lourmarin are garlanded with subtle strings of white lights; shop doorways swathed with evergreen branches and shop windows displaying minature pine trees, candles or fluffy minature sheep, suggestive of a stable long ago.
On streets comers stepladders hold brightly wrapped ‘presents’ advertising the local shops and the festivities to come.
Driving through the countryside Noel sapins (Christmas trees) are available for purchase and each weekend there are Marches de Noel to explore. Some simple, home spun affairs in local primary schools, others are held outdoors under fragrant pine trees.
At one we listened in amusement to ‘Santa’s elves’ singing Christmas Disney cheer in French, the world has become such a global village! We then stood incredulous watching a stunning set of puppets tell the story of making wine barrels!
Bigger towns like Avignon and Aix-en -Provence bustle, each with its permanent, December Marche de Noels. Attractive wooden stalls full of temptations to entice; wooly hats and scarves, wooden toys, handmade crafts, soaps and lavender, delicacies of the region and France, foie gras, nougat and cheeses. Everywhere holds the expectation of Christmas, my special time of year
Download the Lourmarin Travel Guide and the surrounding area of The Luberon, Provence here