The 10th edition of Paris to Provence is on in Melbourne this weekend from today, Friday 30 November to Sunday 2 December.
To celebrate the 10 years of the festival, the theme is the France’s most beautiful villages.
The gardens of Como House and Get will be transformed into 12 French regions to discover while you enjoy French activities and a French Christmas market. Unlike other festivals, Paris to Provence has no main stage so you can stroll around the grounds and explore the French pop-up village.
Paris to Provence invites you into the world of Claris, the chicest mouse in Paris, based on Megan Hess’ first children’s book called “Claris: the chicest mouse in Paris” which was released this year. The pavilion will be transformed and you’ll help little Claris, who dreams of clothes and of moving to Paris, to bring her dream to life. There will be hot air balloons that resemble soufflés, cheeky frogs and the wonderful Monsieur Montage.
Les santons de Provence
The santons, or santouns if you’re in Provence, are little Nativity figurines made from terracotta and handpainted. They are made in Provence, in the South-East of France. In a traditional Provencal crèche, you’ll find 55 individual figures which represent the people of the villages in Provence, such as the shepherd, the fishmonger, the teacher, the butcher, etc.
The first terracotta santouns were created by Lagnel, a Marseillaise artisan, during the French Revolution, during which churches were forcibly closed and their large Nativity scenes forbidden. Lagnel made small figurines in plaster moulds, let them dry and fired them.
Now, the art of creating santons is one which is transmitted from one generation to another. People who produce santons are called santonniers.
Since 1803, santonniers meet in Marseille in December to show and sell their wares at the Foire des Santonniers (the Santonniers fair). There are 2 kinds of modern santons: those made of clay, or santons habillés (dressed like dolls).
Both types of santons will be on display at Paris to Provence.
The public submitted more than 300 photos of France for this competition and exhibition, which is happening for the 4th year running.
At 6:15pm each day, there will be a can-can flash mob.
You’ll hear live music right across the gardens, including French musicians, jazz and more.
Doggies in France’y Dress party
Bring your dogs in costume for this Frenchy dog party. It’s on at 6pm Friday and 10:45am Saturday and Sunday.
There will be free workshops and presentations, which will take place in the Grand Ballroom at Como House.
13:00 Writer Louisa Dessert will present her new book “A Letter from Paris”. It will be followed by a book signing.
2:30pm “Our French Cottage” by Rae Helen and Neil Fisendon.
18:30 “Christmas Styling the Co.Co way” by Co.Co
12:30 “Our French Cottage” with Rae Helen and Neil Fisendon.
14:00 “Christmas Styling the Co.Co way” by Co.Co
16:30 “The Armytages of Como” by Anita Selzer
11:00 Author Louisa Deasey presents her new book “A Letter from Paris”. Followed by a book signing.
12:30 “Legal Aspects to buying French Property” with Michael Bula from MBS Solicitors.
14:00 “Our French Cottage” with Rae Helen and Neil Fisendon.
15:30 “The Armytages of Como” by Anita Selzer
TO EAT AND DRINK
L’heure du goûter
To celebrate the 10 years of the festival as well as the festival founder’s birthday, there will be one hour high tea sessions.
This one is open for all ages but there is also one just for kids called Le Petit Goûter.
My French Kitchen
You can also learn how to cook French dishes with cooking demos taking place across the weekend of Paris to Provence.
Escargot Eating Race
This Saturday, 1 December, there will be an escargot eating race – who will eat the most?
Saturday night, at Paris to Provence, there will be a wine masterclass. Led by Alex Rougeot, founder and director of Clos Cachet. Alex is a fifth generation winemaker from Mersault in Burgundy. Alex will lead you on a tasting tour of Burgundy as well as the Beaujolais and the Rhone valley. Tickets cost $65 and places are limited to 50 participants. As with the other additional activities, you also require a ticket to the festival.
There will also be a French market with 75 exhibitors offering everything from French food and wine to French language courses, homewares, fashion and beautiful gifts – perfect for your Christmas shopping.
At the Jardin des Enfants, little ones will be amused by storytelling, face painting, ballet and art classes. There will also be games and other activities thanks to the festival’s partners. You can find the complete list of entertainment in the Jardin des Enfants here.
At the Simone Perele boudoir, you will find luxury and pampering stations by Simone Perele, Blue Illusion, Como Melbourne, French Organic Company, a braid bar and props from Opera Australia.
The Paris to Provence festival is on this weekend:
Friday 30 November 12pm-9pm
Saturday 1 December 10am-8pm
Sunday 2 December 10am-6pm
Single day entry ticket $20.50 for adults ($7 for kids)
2 day entry ticket (no matter which days) $40 ($46 at the entry) (or $36 if you’re a member of the National Trust or a Senior’s Card holder)
3 day entry ticket (only available online) $55 (or $36 if you’re a member of the National Trust or a Senior’s Card holder)
Tickets are available at this link.
Le petit goûter – $60 in addition to an entry ticket
L’heure du goûter – $69 in addition to an entry ticket
Wine masterclass – $65 in addition to an entry ticket
The workshops and presentations taking place in the Grand Ballroom are free.
Will you be going to Paris to Provence this weekend?