Christmas Retrospective 1

First, happy new year to all our readers!

But we are still just in the Christmas season, so we thought we’d post a few pictures of things we did in the run-up. More next week!

sausage stall at a Christmas market

All the local wine-producing chateaus and towns seem to have Christmas markets. Here’s a sausage stall, complete with pig, at one we visited in Chateau la Font de Broc near Les Arcs

At this time of year, the low-angled sun makes for some stunning colours on the rocks of the Esterel. And no, the colour hasn’t been enhanced.

the Esterel from the coast road at sunset with very orange/red rocks

We’ve continued with the work parties on the Taradeau oppidum. Here everyone is admiring the view opened up by felling a couple of pine trees: you can tell it’s the last one before Christmas.

Taradeau oppidum work party with Santa hat

As well as the tradition of having a Christmas ‘creche’ showing a Provençal village with – however incongruously – the stable with Mary, Joseph and Jesus, there’s also a tradition of having a ‘pastorale’ near Christmas. This is more than a nativity play, as it brings in many of the same characters as appear in the creche and is set in the local village. We went to see the play in Les Arcs, which had a background showing the village, gave the stable a local name and included the mayor, a gypsy (no we don’t know why either) and other townspeople, as well as Provençal shepherds, a real baby Jesus, splendidly dressed kings (including a very politically incorrect ‘black-faced’ one) and a choir and band all dressed in 19th-century local costumes. We couldn’t follow all the words (part of which were in Provençal anyway) but it was a great performance and well received. Here are the town council deliberating and then the ensemble singing the final carol. (Double-click on the photos to get them full size).

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