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 has been held since 2007 and is known as one of the best Christmas markets in the region. With no less than 220 exhibitors, I was very likely to succeed in my Christmas shopping. This great event took place at the last weekend of November 2018: Saturday 24 November to Sunday 25 November, open each day from 10h00 to 18h00.
The stalls were scattered around the Abbaye and were filled with all kinds of products. The first part was the outside market, right after the entrance. I really loved looking through all the creations by local and international artists and artisans who live in the region. From the softest knitwear to fine wines: there was something for everyone. Including, some traditional Christmas crackers! I continued on 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 quicken my pace slightly. And, unfortunately, I missed the carols, which are sung by a choir at various places in and around the abbaye between 14h00 and 16h00. But I did get to see the Abbaye at night. By the time I got to the beautiful groin vaulted cloister and the inner garden, the deep blue sky had turned into a darker blue and the lights started to shimmer. In this dreamy fairytale setting, by the fountain, you could believe that you might 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 from the Domaine la Sarabande for Chéri. Next year I’ll make sure I arrive in the morning so I can take my time!