5 of France?s more unusual Christmas traditions

17th December, 2015
France is a truly wonderful place to celebrate Christmas time, with each city and region having its own traditions that make the occasion both unique and special. From fun-filled festivals to delicious local culinary delights, there?s always something new to appreciate when you visit France for Christmas, including the more weird and wonderful Christmas traditions. Why not try some of these during your luxury family holidays in France?

New Year?s Eve acrobatics in Rennes

In Rennes? main square, Place de la Mairie, the city puts a unique spin on its holiday celebrations with a highly entertaining acrobatics show. A tightrope walker will this year be the main spectacle appearing on December 31st, while last year, a group of aerial dancers staged a performance in front of the courthouse. This year?s tightrope walker is said to ?symbolically link the two years by passing from the roof of the opera to the courthouse?, according to the event?s organiser, Benoit Quero.

Noel aux Nefs in Nantes

One of Nantes? former shipyards now stages an art project known as Les Machines de l?Ile, described as a "crossroads of Jules Verne's 'invented worlds', the mechanical universe of Leonardi da Vinci, and of Nantes' industrial history..." Once a year, the project incorporates a special Christmas show into its display known as Noel aux Nefs, which features festive delights such as ice sculptures, circus performers and ballet dancers.

13 desserts in Provence

In Provence, it is tradition to have not one but thirteen different desserts on offer during the Christmas Eve feast. The desserts are supposed to be shared by everyone at the table with the tradition symbolising the sharing of Christ. Among the traditional desserts prepared are nougat, candied fruit and pastries.

Medieval spectacle in Le Mans

During the holiday season, the medieval neighbourhood known as Plantagenet City puts on a fantastic spectacle, with mythical images such as angels, dragons and demons projected onto the city?s historic monuments and buildings.

Designer Christmas trees in Paris

Every year, the Theatre des Champs-Elysees hosts an annual exhibition of special designer Christmas trees created by a whole host of big names in design, architecture and fashion. Following the exhibition, the trees are put up for auction, with the proceeds going to charity. In the past, names such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and Alexander McQueen have all designed trees for the occasion.

Image: Anna & Michal, available under Creative Commons