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A French Provencal Noel Celebration – Gemenos – Provence – France

It’s 5:25PM in the afternoon and already it’s very dark.  Closing in on the shortest day of the year, here in December, here in Marseille.   The wet cold streets covered in solid glistening leaves have been replaced by still wet streets,” sans” leaves.  They are all gone now. It’s winter in Marseille.

Candles light the inside of a neighboring Boulangerie  and we’re peering inside like what is this? Is this a Hanukkah celebration?  Is this an early NOEL celebration?  It’s so pretty inside.   Turns out that the electricity went out, and the front door was open for any and all patrons who needed to come by for their daily bread.  Such a beautiful sight. – it was as though we were standing in the 17th century, and freshly made bread was pouring out its scent into the busy and crowded street next to The Grand Beauveau Hotel.

“Une  Russe Blanc,  Sil vous plait”, my friend says to the bartender…….well, actually SHE didn’t say, I told her HOW to say it, but she insists on using ENGLISH and I INSIST that she speak French, even though she says that she does not know how to do this.  (she does.)

She tries  really hard to speak FRENCH and – guess what – the French PEOPLE do appreciate it.

What a day of mind bending, and walking, and more eating and more expresso’s

(express, actually is what they are called and what you need to say when ordering “Un Express, sil vous plait” – or Express, avec creme) and philosophizing and smoking and more talking even with strangers – who are invited over to our table, because they “just looked so nice.”  It turns out – that the FRENCH, though maybe “tourists’” themselves –  if you have them over to your table – have a lot to say, in their very broken English, but, which is better than yours. This particular day, we met Francoise who is related to non other than George Sand. Ooooh la la.   She is writing her history, which is detailed and complicated and controversial, in that all of her ancestors where killed during THE Revolution.   Yes. “The one”.  1789.  Hmmmm.

Tonight was a different kind of fun, in that we drove our little car 10 miles away to the town of GEMINOS and had a real PROVENCAL NOEL CELEBRATION, complete with Santa Claus, a team of 18th century costumed villagers who sang, and danced.  So enjoyable milling with the locals and watching their performance with the free mulled hot wine and the MARRONS (Chestnuts).  Such  a lovely, warm, & wonderful time!!!!   IMG_2494 IMG_7794 IMG_7795 IMG_7796 IMG_7799 IMG_7808

Here are a few photos from this night.

PLUS – here are some marvelous links to French handicrafts that were absolutely to die for cottage home crafts.

You will LOVE (all those that admire this type of art)

(are just a couple) – there were SO many last night.  I have to go back ce soir to get more business cards!!  🙂

IMG_7784 2 IMG_7785 2 IMG_7787 IMG_7784 IMG_7788

and one more that is SENSATIONAL!!!

“Altered Books!”  Lovely!!

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Great evening enjoying a real French country Christmas celebration . Great pictures too!

    December 15, 2012
  2. Amy Sanchez #

    Oh how I wish I could of strolled those streets with my French ancestors where ever they are from. I think I must have because I can just picture those times so clearly and I think I have carried into this lifetime the appreciation for the simplicity of it all, although it was much harder work to make the bread and sweets from scratch. But the rewards were plentiful!!! Have fun my wonderful friends in this holiday season!!!!

    December 15, 2012
  3. chris #

    J’adore le ambiance …. Okay, I’ll stop. But, you know Derek and I love France. You captured a warmth with your words…tres bon madame! Oh, btw, everytime I use my horrible french…I am told, by the French, they DO LOVE the attempt!

    December 18, 2012
    • That is so nice that you wrote Chris. You made my day!!!! I think no one reads me, ha ha……(except I know DEREK is my biggest fan>)Thanks for the encouragement. I will keep going now……LOL……We are so happy to come back for CHRISTMAS (STL) to see mes petit enfants (12, 11, 9, and 2) but also sad that we are leaving France for 2 weeks, cause we’ll miss it THAT much!!!! yes!!!
      I am forwarding your words to two girls I hang out with from my Alliance Francaise Class who don’t GET that you just need to TRY to SPEAK FRENCH to these people and if you do – the world does open up for you!!!!! Thanks for that Chris. Joyeux Noel – BISOUS to both of you. 🙂

      December 18, 2012
  4. This is wonderful!

    January 1, 2013

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