TO SEE | MARKET
With Chrismas fast approaching, it is time to get in the festive mood. What better way to do so by visiting one of the locally organised Christmas markets? The South of France also takes part in this tradition and many “marchés de Noël” pop-up in our region’s villages and towns. One of the first to be organised is the yearly Cracker Fair at the magical Abbaye de Valmagne.
The Cracker Fair is held since 2007 and is known as one of the best Christmas markets of the region. With no less than 220 exhibitor places, I was likely to succeed my Christmas shopping. This great event took place last weekend, from Saturday 24 November to Sunday 25 November from 10h00 to 18h00.
The stalls with all kinds of products were scattered around the Abbaye. The first part was the outside market, right after the entrance. I really loved looking at the creations of local and international artists and artisans who all live in this region. From the softest knitwork to some fine wines: there was something for everyone. Including some traditional Christmas crackers! I continued my way to the beautifully restored cathedral, which hosted even more stalls. What a great setting for a Christmas market!
I arrived a bit late, so I had to fasten my pace slightly. And unfortunately, I missed the carrols, sang by a choir at various places in and around the abbaye between 14h00 and 16h00. But I did get to see the Abbaye by night though. By the time I got at the beautiful groin vaulted cloister and the inner garden, the deep blue sky turned into a darker blue and the lights started to shimmer. And in the dreamy fairytale setting at the fountain, you could even meet Santa Claus.
In the end, I did get some great gifts for Christmas. Mostly for family and friends, but I couldn’t resist the ceramic sea urchins made by the talented Joëlle Veit. So I bought one for under our Christmas tree as well. Together with a bottle of locally brewed gin of Domaine la Sarabande for chéri. Next year I’ll make sure I arrive in the morning so I can take my time!