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10 Reasons to Visit Las Vegas This Christmas Season Slideshow

10 Reasons to Visit Las Vegas This Christmas Season Slideshow

If you’ve never thought of Sin City as a place to celebrate the holidays, think again

Shutterstock/ Kobby Dagan

Bellagio changes the floral theme of its Conservatory and Botanical Garden with each season. This year’s winter theme is Bellagio Central Station; there’s a white fir tree standing tall in the center with trains to the North Pole close by and Arctic animals looking on. More than 700 shrubs and 34,000 flowers were used to create this fabulous display. The hotel also has several restaurants you can dine at during your visit, including Harvest by Roy Ellamar, which has farm-to-table fare.

Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden

Shutterstock/ Kobby Dagan

Bellagio changes the floral theme of its Conservatory and Botanical Garden with each season. The hotel also has several restaurants you can dine at during your visit, including Harvest by Roy Ellamar, which has farm-to-table fare.

Bellagio Fountain

Shutterstock/ Kobby Dagan

A year-round Las Vegas icon, the Bellagio Fountain puts on a mesmerizing, choreographed water show that you’ll want a first row view of. During the Christmas season the show is accompanied by holiday songs like “O Holy Night,” “Santa Baby,” and “Sleigh Ride.” After you’ve seen the show, step inside the hotel for dinner at one of the Bellagio’s newer restaurants, Lago.

Christmas Shows

Shutterstock/ Kobby Dagan

You can’t go to Vegas without seeing at least one show. If you’re looking for the more traditional route, the Nevada Ballet Theatre will perform The Nutcracker at Reynolds Hall from this Saturday (Dec. 10) until Christmas Eve. If country music is more your speed, LeAnn Rimes will be performing Today is Christmas on Dec. 17 and 18 at the Orleans Showroom. The hotel Alder and Birch restaurant is a great place to go for dinner close by before the show.

December to Remember

Vegas is known for its big signs and bright lights, but how big and bright exactly are these signs up close? Well you can see for yourself at the Neon Museum, which features six acres of old signs from casinos and businesses that you can photograph yourself with at their North Gallery. The museum will have their December to Remember holiday celebration on December 17 where you’ll get the chance to make ornaments, take pictures with Santa at the North Gallery, and listen to the caroling of the Las Vegas Academy choir.

Downtown Summerlin Holiday Parade

For 17 select nights between the end of November until Christmas Eve, you can see the holiday parade of downtown Summerlin, just west of Las Vegas proper. Toy soldiers, nutcrackers, dancers, and floats pass along Park Centre Drive to festive holiday music — all for free. Make a night of it and grab a burger with the whole family before the parade at Ribs and Burgers nearby.

Ethel M Chocolates Botanical Cactus Gardens

Thousands of sparkling lights and decorations fill the chocolate factory’s Botanical Cactus Gardens. From 5 to 10 p.m., every night through Jan. 1, with the exception of Christmas Day, you can see the holiday lights for free at Ethel M. You’ll also see chocolate houses and sculptures on your visit to the factory. Once you’ve toured through the three acres of light-draped cacti, don’t forget to stop by during the day to pick up some gourmet chocolates to take home.

Lights at The LINQ

Shutterstock/ Kobby Dagan

Across from Caesar’s Palace at The LINQ Promenade is the High Roller — the world’s largest ferris wheel with pods that carry people up 55 stories above the city skyline. During the holiday season this attraction is covered in LED lights. In addition to the beautiful view you can see from the High Roller, The LINQ also puts on a colorful light show called Lights at The LINQ where a couple thousand LED lights are synchronized to holiday songs.

Opportunity Village Magical Forest

Opportunity Village is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping all people in the Nevada community with intellectual disabilities to reach their full potential, and it has grown into one of Las Vegas Valley's key charities over the last 62 years. The Magical Forest at Opportunity Village is celebrating its 25th season this year; it not only contains hundreds of trees with millions of enchanting lights but has a carousel, a slide, a chance to have photos with Santa in his workshop, mini-golf, and a train for endless family fun.

Opportunity Village will also have the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah on Dec. 27.

Residential Christmas Lights

Shutterstock

Much as in other cities in America during the holidays, you’ll find spectacular Christmas lights displayed on residential homes in areas of Las Vegas. If you drove to the city or rented a car there, turn on some Christmas music on the radio and cruise through the streets of homes decked out in awe-inspiring decorations. A few not to miss are Huntly Road and Carol Lark Court.

The Ice Rink

From Nov. 25 until Jan. 2, you can take part in a winter wonderland above the Strip in the Cosmopolitan Hotel’s outdoor pool-turned-ice-rink. If you’re not a skater but still want to join the fun, there will be a light "snowfall" at night occurring every 30 minutes and seasonal food and cocktails on offer — S’mores-inspired martinis with chocolate and toasted marshmallows (the Campfire Delight), non-alcoholic warm apple cider (the Charlie Brown Christmas Tree), and comforting chicken pot pie are examples.


Make your Christmas Eve magnifique with this French tradition

Noël, Christmastime in the south of France, is an atmosphere of warmth translated through the senses. Whether a local or a visitor, or simply a Francophile at heart, the Christmas Eve mealtime tradition of Le Gros Souper is meaningful to anyone who shares the feast, an instrument of eloquence and tradition passed from generation to generation.

The Christmas table is set in white &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Custom suggests setting the dining table in white, with three tablecloths and three candlesticks, representing the Holy Trinity. Provence is a rural area, steeped in tradition and religious complexity, and an atmosphere of divinity is woven through the celebration. A sense of inclusion prevails – seats are arranged for each family member or friend, including a space for a chance visitor or needy person.

During the Cacho-Fio, translated as "to set alight," the oldest and youngest member of the family light the fire in a particular way, transferring a chosen log to the hearth to symbolize the transition from one year to the next. The elder then leads the family in a toast that wraps up with the phrase, "May God grant us the grace to see the coming year, and if we are no more, let us be no less." This is the signal to gather around the table.

Elements of Le Gros Souper served at Château de Saint Martin &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Prior to Midnight Mass, a meager meal of seven meatless dishes is served, a sparse but nutritious array massaged by tradition, composed with resources available from village to village. Common elements include aïoli served with boiled fish or eel, hard-boiled eggs, chard or spinach au gratin, celery with anchovy sauce and vegetables such as carrots, artichokes, cauliflowers, potatoes and green beans.

Aïgo Bouido is a soup of boiled water, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and sage. It is served with the notion that "Aïgo bouido sauvo la vido" – old Proven๺l for "boiled water saves your life," or at least your digestive health if you happen to overeat!

After Midnight Mass, families enjoy the pinnacle of the event: les treize desserts de Noël, 13 desserts symbolizing Christ and his apostles. These are typically a mix of nuts, dried figs, dates, raisins, black and white nougat, quince paste, white grapes, citrus fruit, candied fruits, a confection called calissons, pompe à l'huile (sweet olive oil bread) and – less ancient but still delicious – chocolates and bྼhe de Noël (a Christmas cake shaped like a log).

A selection of wine with Le Gros Souper &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

A distinct wine called vin cuit (cooked wine) accompanies the desserts. Originating in the vineyards near Mont Sainte-Victoire, between Aix-en-Provence and Trets, this sweet wine is cooked low and slow in a cauldron over a series of days, followed by several years of oak aging before being released during Christmastime. Vin cuit can be found at holiday markets and wine domaines around Provence.

Along with vin cuit, it is traditional to serve seven local table wines, including red, white and rosé. Château de Saint Martin, Cru Classe domaine in Taradeau hosts a chef-prepared Le Gros Souper for guests each year – they follow this approach: "Each cuvພ is presented in a different state of mind, from all Proven๺l varieties chosen separately and assembled according to the range of flavors."

Château de Saint Martin hosts Le Gros Souper for guests &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

For those who can't spend Christmas in Provence, the meal can be recreated at home, comprised of mostly simple ingredients found in stores and markets around the world.

The menu is "typically regional and may differ depending on the city or region of Provence," says Jean Quero, organizer of the welcoming, village-wide Le Petite Marche du Gros Souper in St. Rémy-de-Provence, which features a market offering all of the ingredients for the meal.

Vin cuit wines are available on a limited basis in the U.S. through online merchants. Mas de Cadenet, located in Trets at the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, exports a supply of their bottling. As for the seven other Proven๺l wines, consider a range of red and rosé wines made from the classic varieties of Grenache, Mourvຍre, Syrah, Carignan or Cinsault.

Don't forget lovely white wines from Rolle (aka Vermentino), Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.

The final step? Say a French Merry Christmas to those you love: Joyeux Noël!


Make your Christmas Eve magnifique with this French tradition

Noël, Christmastime in the south of France, is an atmosphere of warmth translated through the senses. Whether a local or a visitor, or simply a Francophile at heart, the Christmas Eve mealtime tradition of Le Gros Souper is meaningful to anyone who shares the feast, an instrument of eloquence and tradition passed from generation to generation.

The Christmas table is set in white &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Custom suggests setting the dining table in white, with three tablecloths and three candlesticks, representing the Holy Trinity. Provence is a rural area, steeped in tradition and religious complexity, and an atmosphere of divinity is woven through the celebration. A sense of inclusion prevails – seats are arranged for each family member or friend, including a space for a chance visitor or needy person.

During the Cacho-Fio, translated as "to set alight," the oldest and youngest member of the family light the fire in a particular way, transferring a chosen log to the hearth to symbolize the transition from one year to the next. The elder then leads the family in a toast that wraps up with the phrase, "May God grant us the grace to see the coming year, and if we are no more, let us be no less." This is the signal to gather around the table.

Elements of Le Gros Souper served at Château de Saint Martin &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Prior to Midnight Mass, a meager meal of seven meatless dishes is served, a sparse but nutritious array massaged by tradition, composed with resources available from village to village. Common elements include aïoli served with boiled fish or eel, hard-boiled eggs, chard or spinach au gratin, celery with anchovy sauce and vegetables such as carrots, artichokes, cauliflowers, potatoes and green beans.

Aïgo Bouido is a soup of boiled water, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and sage. It is served with the notion that "Aïgo bouido sauvo la vido" – old Proven๺l for "boiled water saves your life," or at least your digestive health if you happen to overeat!

After Midnight Mass, families enjoy the pinnacle of the event: les treize desserts de Noël, 13 desserts symbolizing Christ and his apostles. These are typically a mix of nuts, dried figs, dates, raisins, black and white nougat, quince paste, white grapes, citrus fruit, candied fruits, a confection called calissons, pompe à l'huile (sweet olive oil bread) and – less ancient but still delicious – chocolates and bྼhe de Noël (a Christmas cake shaped like a log).

A selection of wine with Le Gros Souper &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

A distinct wine called vin cuit (cooked wine) accompanies the desserts. Originating in the vineyards near Mont Sainte-Victoire, between Aix-en-Provence and Trets, this sweet wine is cooked low and slow in a cauldron over a series of days, followed by several years of oak aging before being released during Christmastime. Vin cuit can be found at holiday markets and wine domaines around Provence.

Along with vin cuit, it is traditional to serve seven local table wines, including red, white and rosé. Château de Saint Martin, Cru Classe domaine in Taradeau hosts a chef-prepared Le Gros Souper for guests each year – they follow this approach: "Each cuvພ is presented in a different state of mind, from all Proven๺l varieties chosen separately and assembled according to the range of flavors."

Château de Saint Martin hosts Le Gros Souper for guests &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

For those who can't spend Christmas in Provence, the meal can be recreated at home, comprised of mostly simple ingredients found in stores and markets around the world.

The menu is "typically regional and may differ depending on the city or region of Provence," says Jean Quero, organizer of the welcoming, village-wide Le Petite Marche du Gros Souper in St. Rémy-de-Provence, which features a market offering all of the ingredients for the meal.

Vin cuit wines are available on a limited basis in the U.S. through online merchants. Mas de Cadenet, located in Trets at the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, exports a supply of their bottling. As for the seven other Proven๺l wines, consider a range of red and rosé wines made from the classic varieties of Grenache, Mourvຍre, Syrah, Carignan or Cinsault.

Don't forget lovely white wines from Rolle (aka Vermentino), Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.

The final step? Say a French Merry Christmas to those you love: Joyeux Noël!


Make your Christmas Eve magnifique with this French tradition

Noël, Christmastime in the south of France, is an atmosphere of warmth translated through the senses. Whether a local or a visitor, or simply a Francophile at heart, the Christmas Eve mealtime tradition of Le Gros Souper is meaningful to anyone who shares the feast, an instrument of eloquence and tradition passed from generation to generation.

The Christmas table is set in white &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Custom suggests setting the dining table in white, with three tablecloths and three candlesticks, representing the Holy Trinity. Provence is a rural area, steeped in tradition and religious complexity, and an atmosphere of divinity is woven through the celebration. A sense of inclusion prevails – seats are arranged for each family member or friend, including a space for a chance visitor or needy person.

During the Cacho-Fio, translated as "to set alight," the oldest and youngest member of the family light the fire in a particular way, transferring a chosen log to the hearth to symbolize the transition from one year to the next. The elder then leads the family in a toast that wraps up with the phrase, "May God grant us the grace to see the coming year, and if we are no more, let us be no less." This is the signal to gather around the table.

Elements of Le Gros Souper served at Château de Saint Martin &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Prior to Midnight Mass, a meager meal of seven meatless dishes is served, a sparse but nutritious array massaged by tradition, composed with resources available from village to village. Common elements include aïoli served with boiled fish or eel, hard-boiled eggs, chard or spinach au gratin, celery with anchovy sauce and vegetables such as carrots, artichokes, cauliflowers, potatoes and green beans.

Aïgo Bouido is a soup of boiled water, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and sage. It is served with the notion that "Aïgo bouido sauvo la vido" – old Proven๺l for "boiled water saves your life," or at least your digestive health if you happen to overeat!

After Midnight Mass, families enjoy the pinnacle of the event: les treize desserts de Noël, 13 desserts symbolizing Christ and his apostles. These are typically a mix of nuts, dried figs, dates, raisins, black and white nougat, quince paste, white grapes, citrus fruit, candied fruits, a confection called calissons, pompe à l'huile (sweet olive oil bread) and – less ancient but still delicious – chocolates and bྼhe de Noël (a Christmas cake shaped like a log).

A selection of wine with Le Gros Souper &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

A distinct wine called vin cuit (cooked wine) accompanies the desserts. Originating in the vineyards near Mont Sainte-Victoire, between Aix-en-Provence and Trets, this sweet wine is cooked low and slow in a cauldron over a series of days, followed by several years of oak aging before being released during Christmastime. Vin cuit can be found at holiday markets and wine domaines around Provence.

Along with vin cuit, it is traditional to serve seven local table wines, including red, white and rosé. Château de Saint Martin, Cru Classe domaine in Taradeau hosts a chef-prepared Le Gros Souper for guests each year – they follow this approach: "Each cuvພ is presented in a different state of mind, from all Proven๺l varieties chosen separately and assembled according to the range of flavors."

Château de Saint Martin hosts Le Gros Souper for guests &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

For those who can't spend Christmas in Provence, the meal can be recreated at home, comprised of mostly simple ingredients found in stores and markets around the world.

The menu is "typically regional and may differ depending on the city or region of Provence," says Jean Quero, organizer of the welcoming, village-wide Le Petite Marche du Gros Souper in St. Rémy-de-Provence, which features a market offering all of the ingredients for the meal.

Vin cuit wines are available on a limited basis in the U.S. through online merchants. Mas de Cadenet, located in Trets at the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, exports a supply of their bottling. As for the seven other Proven๺l wines, consider a range of red and rosé wines made from the classic varieties of Grenache, Mourvຍre, Syrah, Carignan or Cinsault.

Don't forget lovely white wines from Rolle (aka Vermentino), Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.

The final step? Say a French Merry Christmas to those you love: Joyeux Noël!


Make your Christmas Eve magnifique with this French tradition

Noël, Christmastime in the south of France, is an atmosphere of warmth translated through the senses. Whether a local or a visitor, or simply a Francophile at heart, the Christmas Eve mealtime tradition of Le Gros Souper is meaningful to anyone who shares the feast, an instrument of eloquence and tradition passed from generation to generation.

The Christmas table is set in white &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Custom suggests setting the dining table in white, with three tablecloths and three candlesticks, representing the Holy Trinity. Provence is a rural area, steeped in tradition and religious complexity, and an atmosphere of divinity is woven through the celebration. A sense of inclusion prevails – seats are arranged for each family member or friend, including a space for a chance visitor or needy person.

During the Cacho-Fio, translated as "to set alight," the oldest and youngest member of the family light the fire in a particular way, transferring a chosen log to the hearth to symbolize the transition from one year to the next. The elder then leads the family in a toast that wraps up with the phrase, "May God grant us the grace to see the coming year, and if we are no more, let us be no less." This is the signal to gather around the table.

Elements of Le Gros Souper served at Château de Saint Martin &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Prior to Midnight Mass, a meager meal of seven meatless dishes is served, a sparse but nutritious array massaged by tradition, composed with resources available from village to village. Common elements include aïoli served with boiled fish or eel, hard-boiled eggs, chard or spinach au gratin, celery with anchovy sauce and vegetables such as carrots, artichokes, cauliflowers, potatoes and green beans.

Aïgo Bouido is a soup of boiled water, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and sage. It is served with the notion that "Aïgo bouido sauvo la vido" – old Proven๺l for "boiled water saves your life," or at least your digestive health if you happen to overeat!

After Midnight Mass, families enjoy the pinnacle of the event: les treize desserts de Noël, 13 desserts symbolizing Christ and his apostles. These are typically a mix of nuts, dried figs, dates, raisins, black and white nougat, quince paste, white grapes, citrus fruit, candied fruits, a confection called calissons, pompe à l'huile (sweet olive oil bread) and – less ancient but still delicious – chocolates and bྼhe de Noël (a Christmas cake shaped like a log).

A selection of wine with Le Gros Souper &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

A distinct wine called vin cuit (cooked wine) accompanies the desserts. Originating in the vineyards near Mont Sainte-Victoire, between Aix-en-Provence and Trets, this sweet wine is cooked low and slow in a cauldron over a series of days, followed by several years of oak aging before being released during Christmastime. Vin cuit can be found at holiday markets and wine domaines around Provence.

Along with vin cuit, it is traditional to serve seven local table wines, including red, white and rosé. Château de Saint Martin, Cru Classe domaine in Taradeau hosts a chef-prepared Le Gros Souper for guests each year – they follow this approach: "Each cuvພ is presented in a different state of mind, from all Proven๺l varieties chosen separately and assembled according to the range of flavors."

Château de Saint Martin hosts Le Gros Souper for guests &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

For those who can't spend Christmas in Provence, the meal can be recreated at home, comprised of mostly simple ingredients found in stores and markets around the world.

The menu is "typically regional and may differ depending on the city or region of Provence," says Jean Quero, organizer of the welcoming, village-wide Le Petite Marche du Gros Souper in St. Rémy-de-Provence, which features a market offering all of the ingredients for the meal.

Vin cuit wines are available on a limited basis in the U.S. through online merchants. Mas de Cadenet, located in Trets at the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, exports a supply of their bottling. As for the seven other Proven๺l wines, consider a range of red and rosé wines made from the classic varieties of Grenache, Mourvຍre, Syrah, Carignan or Cinsault.

Don't forget lovely white wines from Rolle (aka Vermentino), Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.

The final step? Say a French Merry Christmas to those you love: Joyeux Noël!


Make your Christmas Eve magnifique with this French tradition

Noël, Christmastime in the south of France, is an atmosphere of warmth translated through the senses. Whether a local or a visitor, or simply a Francophile at heart, the Christmas Eve mealtime tradition of Le Gros Souper is meaningful to anyone who shares the feast, an instrument of eloquence and tradition passed from generation to generation.

The Christmas table is set in white &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Custom suggests setting the dining table in white, with three tablecloths and three candlesticks, representing the Holy Trinity. Provence is a rural area, steeped in tradition and religious complexity, and an atmosphere of divinity is woven through the celebration. A sense of inclusion prevails – seats are arranged for each family member or friend, including a space for a chance visitor or needy person.

During the Cacho-Fio, translated as "to set alight," the oldest and youngest member of the family light the fire in a particular way, transferring a chosen log to the hearth to symbolize the transition from one year to the next. The elder then leads the family in a toast that wraps up with the phrase, "May God grant us the grace to see the coming year, and if we are no more, let us be no less." This is the signal to gather around the table.

Elements of Le Gros Souper served at Château de Saint Martin &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Prior to Midnight Mass, a meager meal of seven meatless dishes is served, a sparse but nutritious array massaged by tradition, composed with resources available from village to village. Common elements include aïoli served with boiled fish or eel, hard-boiled eggs, chard or spinach au gratin, celery with anchovy sauce and vegetables such as carrots, artichokes, cauliflowers, potatoes and green beans.

Aïgo Bouido is a soup of boiled water, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and sage. It is served with the notion that "Aïgo bouido sauvo la vido" – old Proven๺l for "boiled water saves your life," or at least your digestive health if you happen to overeat!

After Midnight Mass, families enjoy the pinnacle of the event: les treize desserts de Noël, 13 desserts symbolizing Christ and his apostles. These are typically a mix of nuts, dried figs, dates, raisins, black and white nougat, quince paste, white grapes, citrus fruit, candied fruits, a confection called calissons, pompe à l'huile (sweet olive oil bread) and – less ancient but still delicious – chocolates and bྼhe de Noël (a Christmas cake shaped like a log).

A selection of wine with Le Gros Souper &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

A distinct wine called vin cuit (cooked wine) accompanies the desserts. Originating in the vineyards near Mont Sainte-Victoire, between Aix-en-Provence and Trets, this sweet wine is cooked low and slow in a cauldron over a series of days, followed by several years of oak aging before being released during Christmastime. Vin cuit can be found at holiday markets and wine domaines around Provence.

Along with vin cuit, it is traditional to serve seven local table wines, including red, white and rosé. Château de Saint Martin, Cru Classe domaine in Taradeau hosts a chef-prepared Le Gros Souper for guests each year – they follow this approach: "Each cuvພ is presented in a different state of mind, from all Proven๺l varieties chosen separately and assembled according to the range of flavors."

Château de Saint Martin hosts Le Gros Souper for guests &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

For those who can't spend Christmas in Provence, the meal can be recreated at home, comprised of mostly simple ingredients found in stores and markets around the world.

The menu is "typically regional and may differ depending on the city or region of Provence," says Jean Quero, organizer of the welcoming, village-wide Le Petite Marche du Gros Souper in St. Rémy-de-Provence, which features a market offering all of the ingredients for the meal.

Vin cuit wines are available on a limited basis in the U.S. through online merchants. Mas de Cadenet, located in Trets at the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, exports a supply of their bottling. As for the seven other Proven๺l wines, consider a range of red and rosé wines made from the classic varieties of Grenache, Mourvຍre, Syrah, Carignan or Cinsault.

Don't forget lovely white wines from Rolle (aka Vermentino), Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.

The final step? Say a French Merry Christmas to those you love: Joyeux Noël!


Make your Christmas Eve magnifique with this French tradition

Noël, Christmastime in the south of France, is an atmosphere of warmth translated through the senses. Whether a local or a visitor, or simply a Francophile at heart, the Christmas Eve mealtime tradition of Le Gros Souper is meaningful to anyone who shares the feast, an instrument of eloquence and tradition passed from generation to generation.

The Christmas table is set in white &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Custom suggests setting the dining table in white, with three tablecloths and three candlesticks, representing the Holy Trinity. Provence is a rural area, steeped in tradition and religious complexity, and an atmosphere of divinity is woven through the celebration. A sense of inclusion prevails – seats are arranged for each family member or friend, including a space for a chance visitor or needy person.

During the Cacho-Fio, translated as "to set alight," the oldest and youngest member of the family light the fire in a particular way, transferring a chosen log to the hearth to symbolize the transition from one year to the next. The elder then leads the family in a toast that wraps up with the phrase, "May God grant us the grace to see the coming year, and if we are no more, let us be no less." This is the signal to gather around the table.

Elements of Le Gros Souper served at Château de Saint Martin &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Prior to Midnight Mass, a meager meal of seven meatless dishes is served, a sparse but nutritious array massaged by tradition, composed with resources available from village to village. Common elements include aïoli served with boiled fish or eel, hard-boiled eggs, chard or spinach au gratin, celery with anchovy sauce and vegetables such as carrots, artichokes, cauliflowers, potatoes and green beans.

Aïgo Bouido is a soup of boiled water, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and sage. It is served with the notion that "Aïgo bouido sauvo la vido" – old Proven๺l for "boiled water saves your life," or at least your digestive health if you happen to overeat!

After Midnight Mass, families enjoy the pinnacle of the event: les treize desserts de Noël, 13 desserts symbolizing Christ and his apostles. These are typically a mix of nuts, dried figs, dates, raisins, black and white nougat, quince paste, white grapes, citrus fruit, candied fruits, a confection called calissons, pompe à l'huile (sweet olive oil bread) and – less ancient but still delicious – chocolates and bྼhe de Noël (a Christmas cake shaped like a log).

A selection of wine with Le Gros Souper &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

A distinct wine called vin cuit (cooked wine) accompanies the desserts. Originating in the vineyards near Mont Sainte-Victoire, between Aix-en-Provence and Trets, this sweet wine is cooked low and slow in a cauldron over a series of days, followed by several years of oak aging before being released during Christmastime. Vin cuit can be found at holiday markets and wine domaines around Provence.

Along with vin cuit, it is traditional to serve seven local table wines, including red, white and rosé. Château de Saint Martin, Cru Classe domaine in Taradeau hosts a chef-prepared Le Gros Souper for guests each year – they follow this approach: "Each cuvພ is presented in a different state of mind, from all Proven๺l varieties chosen separately and assembled according to the range of flavors."

Château de Saint Martin hosts Le Gros Souper for guests &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

For those who can't spend Christmas in Provence, the meal can be recreated at home, comprised of mostly simple ingredients found in stores and markets around the world.

The menu is "typically regional and may differ depending on the city or region of Provence," says Jean Quero, organizer of the welcoming, village-wide Le Petite Marche du Gros Souper in St. Rémy-de-Provence, which features a market offering all of the ingredients for the meal.

Vin cuit wines are available on a limited basis in the U.S. through online merchants. Mas de Cadenet, located in Trets at the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, exports a supply of their bottling. As for the seven other Proven๺l wines, consider a range of red and rosé wines made from the classic varieties of Grenache, Mourvຍre, Syrah, Carignan or Cinsault.

Don't forget lovely white wines from Rolle (aka Vermentino), Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.

The final step? Say a French Merry Christmas to those you love: Joyeux Noël!


Make your Christmas Eve magnifique with this French tradition

Noël, Christmastime in the south of France, is an atmosphere of warmth translated through the senses. Whether a local or a visitor, or simply a Francophile at heart, the Christmas Eve mealtime tradition of Le Gros Souper is meaningful to anyone who shares the feast, an instrument of eloquence and tradition passed from generation to generation.

The Christmas table is set in white &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Custom suggests setting the dining table in white, with three tablecloths and three candlesticks, representing the Holy Trinity. Provence is a rural area, steeped in tradition and religious complexity, and an atmosphere of divinity is woven through the celebration. A sense of inclusion prevails – seats are arranged for each family member or friend, including a space for a chance visitor or needy person.

During the Cacho-Fio, translated as "to set alight," the oldest and youngest member of the family light the fire in a particular way, transferring a chosen log to the hearth to symbolize the transition from one year to the next. The elder then leads the family in a toast that wraps up with the phrase, "May God grant us the grace to see the coming year, and if we are no more, let us be no less." This is the signal to gather around the table.

Elements of Le Gros Souper served at Château de Saint Martin &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Prior to Midnight Mass, a meager meal of seven meatless dishes is served, a sparse but nutritious array massaged by tradition, composed with resources available from village to village. Common elements include aïoli served with boiled fish or eel, hard-boiled eggs, chard or spinach au gratin, celery with anchovy sauce and vegetables such as carrots, artichokes, cauliflowers, potatoes and green beans.

Aïgo Bouido is a soup of boiled water, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and sage. It is served with the notion that "Aïgo bouido sauvo la vido" – old Proven๺l for "boiled water saves your life," or at least your digestive health if you happen to overeat!

After Midnight Mass, families enjoy the pinnacle of the event: les treize desserts de Noël, 13 desserts symbolizing Christ and his apostles. These are typically a mix of nuts, dried figs, dates, raisins, black and white nougat, quince paste, white grapes, citrus fruit, candied fruits, a confection called calissons, pompe à l'huile (sweet olive oil bread) and – less ancient but still delicious – chocolates and bྼhe de Noël (a Christmas cake shaped like a log).

A selection of wine with Le Gros Souper &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

A distinct wine called vin cuit (cooked wine) accompanies the desserts. Originating in the vineyards near Mont Sainte-Victoire, between Aix-en-Provence and Trets, this sweet wine is cooked low and slow in a cauldron over a series of days, followed by several years of oak aging before being released during Christmastime. Vin cuit can be found at holiday markets and wine domaines around Provence.

Along with vin cuit, it is traditional to serve seven local table wines, including red, white and rosé. Château de Saint Martin, Cru Classe domaine in Taradeau hosts a chef-prepared Le Gros Souper for guests each year – they follow this approach: "Each cuvພ is presented in a different state of mind, from all Proven๺l varieties chosen separately and assembled according to the range of flavors."

Château de Saint Martin hosts Le Gros Souper for guests &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

For those who can't spend Christmas in Provence, the meal can be recreated at home, comprised of mostly simple ingredients found in stores and markets around the world.

The menu is "typically regional and may differ depending on the city or region of Provence," says Jean Quero, organizer of the welcoming, village-wide Le Petite Marche du Gros Souper in St. Rémy-de-Provence, which features a market offering all of the ingredients for the meal.

Vin cuit wines are available on a limited basis in the U.S. through online merchants. Mas de Cadenet, located in Trets at the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, exports a supply of their bottling. As for the seven other Proven๺l wines, consider a range of red and rosé wines made from the classic varieties of Grenache, Mourvຍre, Syrah, Carignan or Cinsault.

Don't forget lovely white wines from Rolle (aka Vermentino), Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.

The final step? Say a French Merry Christmas to those you love: Joyeux Noël!


Make your Christmas Eve magnifique with this French tradition

Noël, Christmastime in the south of France, is an atmosphere of warmth translated through the senses. Whether a local or a visitor, or simply a Francophile at heart, the Christmas Eve mealtime tradition of Le Gros Souper is meaningful to anyone who shares the feast, an instrument of eloquence and tradition passed from generation to generation.

The Christmas table is set in white &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Custom suggests setting the dining table in white, with three tablecloths and three candlesticks, representing the Holy Trinity. Provence is a rural area, steeped in tradition and religious complexity, and an atmosphere of divinity is woven through the celebration. A sense of inclusion prevails – seats are arranged for each family member or friend, including a space for a chance visitor or needy person.

During the Cacho-Fio, translated as "to set alight," the oldest and youngest member of the family light the fire in a particular way, transferring a chosen log to the hearth to symbolize the transition from one year to the next. The elder then leads the family in a toast that wraps up with the phrase, "May God grant us the grace to see the coming year, and if we are no more, let us be no less." This is the signal to gather around the table.

Elements of Le Gros Souper served at Château de Saint Martin &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Prior to Midnight Mass, a meager meal of seven meatless dishes is served, a sparse but nutritious array massaged by tradition, composed with resources available from village to village. Common elements include aïoli served with boiled fish or eel, hard-boiled eggs, chard or spinach au gratin, celery with anchovy sauce and vegetables such as carrots, artichokes, cauliflowers, potatoes and green beans.

Aïgo Bouido is a soup of boiled water, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and sage. It is served with the notion that "Aïgo bouido sauvo la vido" – old Proven๺l for "boiled water saves your life," or at least your digestive health if you happen to overeat!

After Midnight Mass, families enjoy the pinnacle of the event: les treize desserts de Noël, 13 desserts symbolizing Christ and his apostles. These are typically a mix of nuts, dried figs, dates, raisins, black and white nougat, quince paste, white grapes, citrus fruit, candied fruits, a confection called calissons, pompe à l'huile (sweet olive oil bread) and – less ancient but still delicious – chocolates and bྼhe de Noël (a Christmas cake shaped like a log).

A selection of wine with Le Gros Souper &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

A distinct wine called vin cuit (cooked wine) accompanies the desserts. Originating in the vineyards near Mont Sainte-Victoire, between Aix-en-Provence and Trets, this sweet wine is cooked low and slow in a cauldron over a series of days, followed by several years of oak aging before being released during Christmastime. Vin cuit can be found at holiday markets and wine domaines around Provence.

Along with vin cuit, it is traditional to serve seven local table wines, including red, white and rosé. Château de Saint Martin, Cru Classe domaine in Taradeau hosts a chef-prepared Le Gros Souper for guests each year – they follow this approach: "Each cuvພ is presented in a different state of mind, from all Proven๺l varieties chosen separately and assembled according to the range of flavors."

Château de Saint Martin hosts Le Gros Souper for guests &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

For those who can't spend Christmas in Provence, the meal can be recreated at home, comprised of mostly simple ingredients found in stores and markets around the world.

The menu is "typically regional and may differ depending on the city or region of Provence," says Jean Quero, organizer of the welcoming, village-wide Le Petite Marche du Gros Souper in St. Rémy-de-Provence, which features a market offering all of the ingredients for the meal.

Vin cuit wines are available on a limited basis in the U.S. through online merchants. Mas de Cadenet, located in Trets at the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, exports a supply of their bottling. As for the seven other Proven๺l wines, consider a range of red and rosé wines made from the classic varieties of Grenache, Mourvຍre, Syrah, Carignan or Cinsault.

Don't forget lovely white wines from Rolle (aka Vermentino), Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.

The final step? Say a French Merry Christmas to those you love: Joyeux Noël!


Make your Christmas Eve magnifique with this French tradition

Noël, Christmastime in the south of France, is an atmosphere of warmth translated through the senses. Whether a local or a visitor, or simply a Francophile at heart, the Christmas Eve mealtime tradition of Le Gros Souper is meaningful to anyone who shares the feast, an instrument of eloquence and tradition passed from generation to generation.

The Christmas table is set in white &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Custom suggests setting the dining table in white, with three tablecloths and three candlesticks, representing the Holy Trinity. Provence is a rural area, steeped in tradition and religious complexity, and an atmosphere of divinity is woven through the celebration. A sense of inclusion prevails – seats are arranged for each family member or friend, including a space for a chance visitor or needy person.

During the Cacho-Fio, translated as "to set alight," the oldest and youngest member of the family light the fire in a particular way, transferring a chosen log to the hearth to symbolize the transition from one year to the next. The elder then leads the family in a toast that wraps up with the phrase, "May God grant us the grace to see the coming year, and if we are no more, let us be no less." This is the signal to gather around the table.

Elements of Le Gros Souper served at Château de Saint Martin &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Prior to Midnight Mass, a meager meal of seven meatless dishes is served, a sparse but nutritious array massaged by tradition, composed with resources available from village to village. Common elements include aïoli served with boiled fish or eel, hard-boiled eggs, chard or spinach au gratin, celery with anchovy sauce and vegetables such as carrots, artichokes, cauliflowers, potatoes and green beans.

Aïgo Bouido is a soup of boiled water, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and sage. It is served with the notion that "Aïgo bouido sauvo la vido" – old Proven๺l for "boiled water saves your life," or at least your digestive health if you happen to overeat!

After Midnight Mass, families enjoy the pinnacle of the event: les treize desserts de Noël, 13 desserts symbolizing Christ and his apostles. These are typically a mix of nuts, dried figs, dates, raisins, black and white nougat, quince paste, white grapes, citrus fruit, candied fruits, a confection called calissons, pompe à l'huile (sweet olive oil bread) and – less ancient but still delicious – chocolates and bྼhe de Noël (a Christmas cake shaped like a log).

A selection of wine with Le Gros Souper &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

A distinct wine called vin cuit (cooked wine) accompanies the desserts. Originating in the vineyards near Mont Sainte-Victoire, between Aix-en-Provence and Trets, this sweet wine is cooked low and slow in a cauldron over a series of days, followed by several years of oak aging before being released during Christmastime. Vin cuit can be found at holiday markets and wine domaines around Provence.

Along with vin cuit, it is traditional to serve seven local table wines, including red, white and rosé. Château de Saint Martin, Cru Classe domaine in Taradeau hosts a chef-prepared Le Gros Souper for guests each year – they follow this approach: "Each cuvພ is presented in a different state of mind, from all Proven๺l varieties chosen separately and assembled according to the range of flavors."

Château de Saint Martin hosts Le Gros Souper for guests &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

For those who can't spend Christmas in Provence, the meal can be recreated at home, comprised of mostly simple ingredients found in stores and markets around the world.

The menu is "typically regional and may differ depending on the city or region of Provence," says Jean Quero, organizer of the welcoming, village-wide Le Petite Marche du Gros Souper in St. Rémy-de-Provence, which features a market offering all of the ingredients for the meal.

Vin cuit wines are available on a limited basis in the U.S. through online merchants. Mas de Cadenet, located in Trets at the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, exports a supply of their bottling. As for the seven other Proven๺l wines, consider a range of red and rosé wines made from the classic varieties of Grenache, Mourvຍre, Syrah, Carignan or Cinsault.

Don't forget lovely white wines from Rolle (aka Vermentino), Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.

The final step? Say a French Merry Christmas to those you love: Joyeux Noël!


Make your Christmas Eve magnifique with this French tradition

Noël, Christmastime in the south of France, is an atmosphere of warmth translated through the senses. Whether a local or a visitor, or simply a Francophile at heart, the Christmas Eve mealtime tradition of Le Gros Souper is meaningful to anyone who shares the feast, an instrument of eloquence and tradition passed from generation to generation.

The Christmas table is set in white &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Custom suggests setting the dining table in white, with three tablecloths and three candlesticks, representing the Holy Trinity. Provence is a rural area, steeped in tradition and religious complexity, and an atmosphere of divinity is woven through the celebration. A sense of inclusion prevails – seats are arranged for each family member or friend, including a space for a chance visitor or needy person.

During the Cacho-Fio, translated as "to set alight," the oldest and youngest member of the family light the fire in a particular way, transferring a chosen log to the hearth to symbolize the transition from one year to the next. The elder then leads the family in a toast that wraps up with the phrase, "May God grant us the grace to see the coming year, and if we are no more, let us be no less." This is the signal to gather around the table.

Elements of Le Gros Souper served at Château de Saint Martin &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

Prior to Midnight Mass, a meager meal of seven meatless dishes is served, a sparse but nutritious array massaged by tradition, composed with resources available from village to village. Common elements include aïoli served with boiled fish or eel, hard-boiled eggs, chard or spinach au gratin, celery with anchovy sauce and vegetables such as carrots, artichokes, cauliflowers, potatoes and green beans.

Aïgo Bouido is a soup of boiled water, garlic, bay leaf, thyme and sage. It is served with the notion that "Aïgo bouido sauvo la vido" – old Proven๺l for "boiled water saves your life," or at least your digestive health if you happen to overeat!

After Midnight Mass, families enjoy the pinnacle of the event: les treize desserts de Noël, 13 desserts symbolizing Christ and his apostles. These are typically a mix of nuts, dried figs, dates, raisins, black and white nougat, quince paste, white grapes, citrus fruit, candied fruits, a confection called calissons, pompe à l'huile (sweet olive oil bread) and – less ancient but still delicious – chocolates and bྼhe de Noël (a Christmas cake shaped like a log).

A selection of wine with Le Gros Souper &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

A distinct wine called vin cuit (cooked wine) accompanies the desserts. Originating in the vineyards near Mont Sainte-Victoire, between Aix-en-Provence and Trets, this sweet wine is cooked low and slow in a cauldron over a series of days, followed by several years of oak aging before being released during Christmastime. Vin cuit can be found at holiday markets and wine domaines around Provence.

Along with vin cuit, it is traditional to serve seven local table wines, including red, white and rosé. Château de Saint Martin, Cru Classe domaine in Taradeau hosts a chef-prepared Le Gros Souper for guests each year – they follow this approach: "Each cuvພ is presented in a different state of mind, from all Proven๺l varieties chosen separately and assembled according to the range of flavors."

Château de Saint Martin hosts Le Gros Souper for guests &mdash Photo courtesy of Château de Saint Martin

For those who can't spend Christmas in Provence, the meal can be recreated at home, comprised of mostly simple ingredients found in stores and markets around the world.

The menu is "typically regional and may differ depending on the city or region of Provence," says Jean Quero, organizer of the welcoming, village-wide Le Petite Marche du Gros Souper in St. Rémy-de-Provence, which features a market offering all of the ingredients for the meal.

Vin cuit wines are available on a limited basis in the U.S. through online merchants. Mas de Cadenet, located in Trets at the base of Mont Sainte-Victoire, exports a supply of their bottling. As for the seven other Proven๺l wines, consider a range of red and rosé wines made from the classic varieties of Grenache, Mourvຍre, Syrah, Carignan or Cinsault.

Don't forget lovely white wines from Rolle (aka Vermentino), Ugni Blanc, Bourboulenc, Clairette, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.

The final step? Say a French Merry Christmas to those you love: Joyeux Noël!