Papa's Provençal Crèche

Big stuff is happening around here people, big stuff! My mother is arriving in Le Petit Village for the holidays tomorrow. T O M O R R O W !

Fifty and I have turned into headless chickens as we run around trying to get the house in order (the house is never quite clean enough for a visit from your mother).

So because I’m busy little bee, instead of my usual waffling on about Gatz, or hunting or whatever else is irritating me around here, today I thought I’d show you some festive photos of a traditional Provençal crèche and let that be that.

This one belongs to Papa’s Wife and is full of Santons (Santons are the ‘little saints’ that decorate a creche. They are a speciality of Provence. The first ones were created in Marseilles during the French Revolution. History lesson… BOOM!)

Since no Nativity scene would be complete without the little guy, here he is… the baby Jesus… with an angel flying above, his mom and dad, a little drummer boy, a couple more angels, a donkey, a cat, and I think some guy playing a violin (???). I’m not sure, there’s a whole lot going on there.

To the left is a moulin (perhaps used to produce wheat flour) with a few little bakers who are off to sell or make their bread (I’m not sure what they’re doing). The rocks there in front of the bakers, are part of the rock wall that Papa works on every year (and if you remember from a couple of years ago doesn’t let any of us touch).

Here’s another wall that Papa built. I think this one is supposed to be a bergerie (shepherds hut) since I’m pretty sure that the guy with the lamb on his shoulders is a shepherd, plus because of all the other sheep hanging about. And I think that might be a goat with the horns next to the lady.

And not only did Papa build a shepherd’s hut, but he made a river so that the little fisherman, has something to do, and the ducks have someplace to swim…

Next up is the Santon that I’m pretty sure is Papa’s favorite…

Yes, no crèche is complete, without a wee hunter. Obviously.
And if you’re wondering what the hunter is shooting at, well here they are…

Wild boars being chase by a hunting dog… in a crèche. 
Okidoki.
bisou
 

38 responses to “Papa's Provençal Crèche”

  1. I love santons.Next year I'm going to start collecting them 🙂

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  2. WOW, talk about intricate. The man must be patient for days. And retired? Enjoy your mama!!

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  3. I need to start as well. I don't have a single Santon to call my own, I feel like a Provencal failure 😉

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  4. He's semi-retired but incredibly patient!

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  5. Very charming and funny ( haha and strange) at the same time!

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  6. I don't have any santons either, but I only live next door to Provence so I suppose that's okay. :)How lovely to have your mum over for Christmas. I'm sure she won't mind if the house is not totally like a new pin. It is, what, 700 years old? If you leave a bit of dust about it'll make it look more authentic. 🙂

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  7. I like how you think!

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  8. That is one serious creche! I love looking at the ones that are set up all over the place. The creche my boys go to has a creche (confused yet) except someone stole baby Jesus, so now, everyone is just staring down at the ground. It's kind of sad.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Bit of Plastercine and Bob's yer uncle, it's even sticky so they can wedge him into the manger.

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  11. precious, I love little Christmas scenes – and have a blast with your mother!!

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  12. THERE WAS MORE THAN ONE LOBSTER PRESENT AT THE BIRTH OF JESUS?duh.

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  13. Love it! Now I'm going to have to watch that movie tonight.

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  14. haha, i love it! italians are all about their “presepi” too! i love the old lady versions with wrapping paper skies and snow made out of cotton balls. 🙂

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  15. ROFL,I'm not sure what my favourite is, the ducks in the river or the boar hunting scene…BTW, I wouldn't worry too much about the cleaning, the world IS meant to end today after all, so it won't be a problem… (and should it not end, you can just tell your mother it did in your cleaning cupboard ;o) )

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  16. Oooh, your Mom is coming! Already!!! Lucky, lucky you. Good luck with the cleaning…I can't wait to hear about your holiday adventures while she is here. And wow that is quite a creche! It doesn't always go over so well here in Arles that we bought ours in Tanzania and they are made out of banana bark…PS. If you come my way, pleeeease let me know! Bisous,H

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  17. That is an impressive creche! And really, wouldn't more of them benefit from some hunters and boar? Maybe it's just me, but I get bored looking at the same old things every time. Have a great time with your mom, and can't wait to hear what you get up to!

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  18. Is that an elf on the shelf I see? In that case the Natiity does really have it all! Enjoy the time with your mom!

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  19. So many details! I love it!

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  20. Have the best time with your Mom!!!

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  21. I'm incredibly impressed! It's so detailed and makes me want to have one too. But then, maybe people that came over might wonder why I have what looks like a nativity scene but with ducks and boars and a guy shooting at stuff. ha! I guess then I could repeat your history lesson!

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  22. This is so sweet! Some day when I have time, I will use it for inspiration!

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  23. Wow, this is quite possibly the most intricate Nativity I've ever seen. The drummer boy and the hunter MAKE the scene.My mom says that every time Avery comes to visit she finds the Nativity rearranged, and the angel is ALWAYS riding the camel. : )

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  24. I love all of the santons at Christmas in Provence. We have a few but I want to get a lot more. I hope you have a great time with your mom there. I am sure that Fifty will enjoy the extra attention and opportunity to sniff someone different for a change.

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  25. That's a really beautiful creche and the addition of the drummer boy is pure Rolf Harris .Ours has a flamenco dancer and a man with a saxaphone . The first Christmas must have been very jolly !

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  26. Um, I love the tin foil river. That is awesome. And OF COURSE there were Provencal hunters at the birth of baby Jesus. Those wise men had to eat something. Awww, I love Provence. sniff Say hi to mom for me!!!

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  27. My dear …I hope you'll have a great time with your Mom.I love the traditional Provençal crèche. Unfortunately I have no space in my house to have one nice like that!Okidoki … strange is the same “thing” that my best friend from Chicago tells me …Bisous, Babi

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  28. What a charming little crèche! Hope you have a wonderful time with your mom!

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  29. What a charming little crèche! Hope you have a wonderful time with your mom!

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  30. Papa's creche stomps all over ours. I still refuse to buy the 'non-traditional' Santons. I can't put lavender fields and people using 17th century technology in 1BC Israel. It just doesn't work. As a result, my creche is severely limited in size (I even bought each wise man a camel/donkey to try and pad it out) with no hope of growing. There's only so many animals I can squish in that manger.

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  31. Oh, and have a ball with your mum!

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  32. A bit more of the history lesson… It was forbidden to have saints or religious figures during the Revolution and the churches were closed, so these “Santons” or petite saints were mixed in among the secular aspects of the creche – hidden in plain sight. Have you been to the Foire des Santonniers in Marseille? From what I understand, each ville of Provence has its own local santons.I know that you will have a great holiday with your mom and do not worry. She really does not care about the condition of your home, just that you are happy.Have a wonderful time with her!Bises,Genie

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  33. I love Papa's creche and all the detail he puts into it! We saw an amazingly huge Santon display at Fourvieres (Lyon) one year. Absolutely amazing. I buy three of my friends santons every year – their collections are slowly growing! – and I have a tiny Mexican creche (no more than 6 cm tall, which now has normal sized Santon animals visiting – the no-eared donkey towers over the stable! Still…tant pis!Have a lovely Christmas with your mother

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  34. Wow, this one is really cool! I had one when I was a child and I loved to decorate it. It even had a “burning” fire my dad built for me.

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  35. well i just want to shrink into a mini person and pop into this scene. but please place me next to the baby jesus and violin angels…not next to the wee hunter and wild boars.

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  36. youre so festive ;)here you are decorating, having family fly in…and then there is me. fleeing norway to a place that doesn't celebrate christmas for the holidays.

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  37. I must admit…. never seen anything like this… note to self… must head to France next Christmas! 🙂

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  38. HAha, this is the most hardcore creche I have ever seen in my life. I think it's the boars being chased by the dogs. No… I KNOW that's what it is. It has to be.

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