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What's on in Avignon & Aix Christmas 2018

Fun, food & festivities in Provence's biggest cities

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Ellie Mahoney | Provence Editor | Published: 24 Dec 2018

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What's on in Avignon & Aix Christmas 2018

Christmas in Provence is a really beautiful time, with street parades, lights, displays and fun activities for the family and in Aix-en-Provence and Avignon – and plenty of shopping too. 

The shops at this time of year are filled with Christmas gift ideas, tasty local treats and produce, toys, tree decorations and traditional Christmas 'santons' – terracotta nativity figurines – and you'll be spoilt for choice with a vast array of places to visit. Although, obviously, Christmas isn't just about the commercial side of things and gift-giving as there are lots of cultural, traditional events and fun to be had for the whole family.

Here's a quick look at some of the highlights taking in place in Provence's main cities this festive season.

Christmas in Avignon

Avignon turns into a magical Christmas wonderland during the festive season and the fact that they're calling their programme of events 'Noël Magique' just highlights this fact. Probably the most popular place to be is the Christmas market, which takes place until December 30th between the Cours Jean-Jaurès and the Place des Corps-Saints from 10:00 and 19:30.

A traditional Christmas crèche will be on display at the Célestians Church where you can also go to watch traditional and contemporary Christmas 'santons' (small figurines) being made by local artists. In fact, you'll be able to find displays like this in pretty much all of Avignon's churches. Another crèche will be on display at the Palais du Roure, where local historians will explain the significance of the display, the 'table calendale' with its 'gros souper de Noël' and other Provençal traditions. 

On December 17th, a 250m2 ice rink will open at the Place de l'Horloge and will be available until January 6th. Open from 10:00 to 19:00 (until 21:00 some days), it will have a smaller area reserved for children under six years old so that they can learn to ice skate. Santa Claus comes to Avignon on December 22nd accompanied by street parades from 14:00 all over town.

There will also be lots of activities for children, from workshops and games to an Elves Village on Place Saint-Jean le Vieux, a carousel on Place des Corps-Saints and pony rides at the Parvis Sud des Halles. Parking will be free in the town centre on December 15th, 22nd, 24th, 29th and 31st.

Christmas in Aix en Provence

Aix also celebrates the traditional Christmas markets, parades, exhibitions and 'santons' fairs, which all take place around the Cours Mirabeau, Place François Villon, Espace Cézanne and Place des Prêcheurs from now until January 13th 2019. There will be several Christmas markets throughout December, the main one on the Cours Mirabeau, open from 10:00 to 20:00 until the end of the month. Aix's main street will also have a small funfair with rides for children, open until January 6th.

The Place des Prêcheurs will be taken over by Father Christmas and his elves with a giant Christmas tree, an ephemeral garden, the all-important magical post box and Santa's workshop where the little ones will be able to take pictures with the man of the moment.

More inspiration...

If you’re interested in more Christmas events, including what's happening in the surrounding villages, then make sure you check out the details in our events calendar.

Events Calendar for Provence