Posted on Tuesday, 29 November 2011
|While many countries are well into their festive assault, the French Riviera eases into the Christmas wind up with typical a laissez faire approach. Rumour has it that Christmas lights were up and on in some UK towns even before Halloween had commenced, while most of the English language media is already jaded with the a-ring-a-ling-linging of Christmas jingles and bombastic ads.|
Meanwhile the Cote d'Azur is still basking in the seasonal sunshine and clinging to the last vestiges of summer while calmly ambling into December and the Christmas buzz. While visitors are still dipping in the azure waters, sipping rosé and rubbing sun burnt noses the communes are busy building wooded winter wonderlands of the Christmas markets that dot the French Riviera.
The Ferris Wheel is taking shape in Nice, the Christmas tree displays, lights and decorations are just starting to go up as the 'marché de noël', the annual Christmas market in Nice, is due to open in less than a weeks time on the 3rd December.
Most of the towns and villages on the French Riviera will have some sort of a Christmas village at the heart of their streets for the festive season. Usually featuring wooden cabins, craft markets, Christmas food and drinks and festivities for children.
The larger French Riviera towns vary their markets and all of them are worth a look. In Monaco the Christmas lights are usually something special to see. The luxurious shops decorate their exteriors in a riot of ribbons and twinkling baubles, the streets are laid with red carpet and Casino square glitters in fine style.
The Christmas market on Port Hercule, Monaco often goes the extra mile with ice skating on the summer pool, an oyster and champagne bar nestled up beside the 'vin chaud', mulled wine stalls and even, on one occasion, a real snow display with full size ice igloos and teams of yapping huskies to excite and entertain the children.
Nice, as the largest city, has several areas dedicated to all things Christmas. Place Massena is undoubtedly the main hub with a forest of snow covered pines, wooden cabins, craft market, ice skating, Ferris wheel, 'spectacles' and shows for children as well as Santa Claus and a fair ground.
The activities and decorations spill over into neighbouring Jardin Albert I and this year, the newly renovated, Place Garibaldi will feature a special Christmas display and celebrations from 17th December 2011.
Other events along the Riviera include carol singing in Antibes Cathedral on December 2nd and live crib in Place Rosetti in Nice.
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