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How does Xmas look like on the French Riviera?

"So this is Christmas..."


Finally! Not that I am a huge fan of Xmas (I was in the past, but it's gone with the wind and age). Especially, since I am pretty pragmatic by nature and actively fighting against food waste, I am having a hard time following all this Xmasy capitalistic, always-needing-more fever...


But this one is going to be special as it's very First Xmas on the French Riviera and we are looking very much forward to it - especially tasting the typical Christmas plates, that we are hoping to find on local marchés de Noel. Our idea is to contrast two universes - the one kind of 'bling-bling' - that you could find in Monaco and the one 'local and as it used-to-be-back-in-the-days' - in Lucéram, the little village nestled in the surrounding hills of Nice, known for it's a beautiful collection of Christmas cribs, made in wood...


There is a physical map (available here) featuring the itinerary designed specially to discover these wooden jewels - just have a look :


Map of Xmas Cribs Itinerary in Luceram

There are nearly 450 of them! Partially constructed by the habitats themselves. The best way to discover them is to put the bikes apart and just go and explore - as Cafe du Cycliste recommends doing in their "ride of the month of December" that inspired us for our proper discovery...

source: Gazette, "Ride of the Month : December", Café du Cycliste.


In Provence, Christmas lasts 40 days - starting from December 4th, on Saint Barbara's day, and ending at Candlemas on February 3rd. This period is marked by traditions and customs: Christmas wheat, planted in 3 cups à la Sainte Barbe, the Christmas "big supper" where the 13 desserts will be served (to symbolize the apostles), Christmas markets, midnight mass with pastorale...


Have a look at our shots from our visit of Lucéram's Christmas Cribs :

It really looked like from the fairy tale - we wish we could have more time for exploring (and that it was slightly warmer...) - at least it gives us a good reason to come back in the season - the village itself is on the col de Turini or col de St Roch itinerary and you could have a very nice blueberry pie stop with a dollop of chantilly at Chez Mumu, where this time we stopped for a cup of mulled wine. If we weren't this short on time, we would probably eat the Nicoise hinterland specialty - hearty beef stew accompanied by homemade gnocchi.


Not all that glitters' gold...footage from the X-mas village in Monte Carlo


Ok, this Xmas village experience was pretty bad. Yesterday was the last day luckily - I bet no one's going to miss it much. After all, at least we were expecting something beautiful - not an amusement park for kids.

This year's theme was Canada... no one knows really why (I asked around many stands, but didn't find out). Plus for trying to promote other cultures, but honestly, do it to the fullest. I mean, there were no food stands with traditional Canadian food (oh, the cherished maple syrup that I taste sometimes in my sleep, or even a bit bizarre (but still traditional) dish of the equally strange name 'Poutine' (fries with gravy sauce and cheese on top...yuck unless you have just spent all day outdoors in minus 30 - you may get away with this one).


Luckily, our sense of aesthetics was saved by the Casino and all its' surroundings. Well, needless to say, Monte Carlo Carino is quite of a peculliar place - beautiful and very bling-bling at the same time. Much more worth seeing than the shameful constructions in the port...

All the best for 2022 !

Sportingly Yours, She's a Cyclist Signature

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