The Best of Christmas in the Gard region
FR - Sparkling lights, a choir here, a smell of chestnuts there... Here we are! The holiday season is around the corner and our region has tons of joyful activities to offer!
by Corine Meyer
As mentioned in our previous post, many Christmas markets, toy exchanges etc. will take place over the next weekends. Click here to access a calendar of these events.
In Uzès, the traditional ice rink and fair will be set up on the esplanade starting early December. The highlight of the seaon is of course the Christmas market, from December 16 through 18, complete with a parade, choir and other activities. The tourist office offers an unusual guided tour “Secrets and Legend of Christmas” on December 26. Music lovers, will be able to enjoy the Handel’s Messiah, at the Ombrière, December 22.
This year again, the city of Nîmes is working hard to bring the magic of Christmas to everyone. Throughout the month of December, an ice rink, Ferris wheel, little train, merry go round, gourmet chalets, polar village, shows, concerts, giant illuminations and many other activities will delight you. The Grand Christmas parade on December 24, where 6 floats and more than 120 participants will stroll through the streets of the city should be the highlight of the festivities. You will find the complete agenda of these festivities here.
The town of Saint-Gilles also deserves a special mention for the place given to traditional Christmas celebrations. On the evening of the 24th, before midnight mass, the calendrical pasture of the herdsmen takes place, that is to say the offering of the lamb to the little Jesus who was just born. It is a procession in which the shepherds and their flocks surround the lamb, the herdsmen form a guard of honor, the “Arlesiennes “in ceremonial dress and the population accompanying them in sharing this festive moment.
Another highlight is the sound and light show on the magnificent Romanesque facade of the abbey of Saint-Gilles, listed as a World Heritage Site under the serial property “The Roads of Saint-Jacques-de-Compostelle in France ". The calendar of these events is not yet available but should be soon. Click here for info.
As for Santa Claus, young and old will be able to meet him, accompanied by his elves, at the old Mas de Beaucaire, from December 23. There, time froze in 1900! This is an opportunity to discover the rural life of this era enhanced with family activities, more specific to this holiday period: shows, parades, treats... More information here.
The whole family will also enjoy the largest Provençal church nativity scene (more than 100m2!) in Comps starting November 25. It is Romain Rodriguez, a young “santon” maker, who enriches it each year with his creations. You will find dates and times here.
Another must-see in Gard is the lively “crèche” of Parignargues which amazes young and old with its automatons. It was Father Jeanjean who imagined and created this setting and these characters in the 1950s. In this “crèche”, everything moves, including the decorations, thanks to complex mechanisms, still original and maintained with love and know-how. by volunteers. It is magic! Again, check the schedules before going.
Further away, the “crèches “of Avignon (Church of the Célestins), Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer and les Baux de Provence (as well as a lively crèche on December 24) are worth a trip.
And as, in the region, the taste buds are never left out, don't forget the official launch of the truffle season, on Wednesday December 13, place aux herbes in Uzès as well as the olive oil festival of Advent at the Uzès mill on December 2.
May this month of December shine, sparkle and bring happiness to each of you! Happy Holidays!