By: Lorraine Waddell
Camping in France at Christmas may be slightly in the chilly side, but you will find the spirit of family and generosity that surrounds you will warm you up in no time. Whilst the celebrations are different in every region, each is as spectacular as the next. Though all regions celebrate Christmas Day on the 25th December as per tradition, for many in France, celebrations start with La Fete de Saint Nicholas on the 6th December.
La Fete de Lumieres
Held by the inhabitants of Lyon on the weekend closest to the 8th December, with the climax of the festival happening on the 8th itself, La Fete de Lumieres is a splendid Christmas tradition. This renowned festival of lights is when the Lyonnais pay homage to the Virgin Mary, by lighting a candle in each of their windows. These candles light up the village, and give off a wonderful homely and festive feel. One of the main focal points of this festival is the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere, where the impressive stained glass windows are lit up with different coloured lights. Over at the Place des Terreaux in the very heart of the town, various shows are held, using bright coloured, moving beams of lights and images to tell the story of Christmas. The Fete de Lumieres is a fantastic way to welcome Christmas while you’re camping in France.
La Messe de Minuit
If you are wondering when you will get a chance to join in with the community and celebrate Christmas with prayers and carol singing, then you should ensure that you go to midnight mass while you are camping in France. Held on Christmas Eve, this is an important tradition in most regions in France, though it is often held between 7 and 10 in the evening, rather than at midnight. Services tend to be broad and the sense of community and Christmas spirit to be found often attracts both non practitioners and people of different faiths. In many churches, a nativity display is set up at the front of the church, and a statue of the Baby Jesus carried to it in a procession at the beginning of the service. Whether you are a church goer or not, the traditional midnight mass service cannot fail to get you in the festive mood, ready for Christmas Day.
Don’t Forget To Put Out Your Shoes
All over the world on Christmas Eve, children hang up their red stockings with white trim in the hope that Father Christmas will come. However, in France it is their shoes rather than their socks that they leave out in anticipation. Preferably wooden, a pair of shoes should be left by the fireplace just before the children go to bed, and in the morning they will have filled the shoes with presents. Though it is unlikely that the tent, caravan or mobile home that you are staying in while camping in France will come equipped with a real fireplace, shoes left by the door may still fill up with gifts! Why not break with tradition for a year; replace stockings with shoes and get a visit from Pere Noel rather than Father Christmas.
Camping in France at Christmas, you will get to experience a whole new set of festivities. With family, tradition and fun being the key ingredients of a French Yuletide, there really is no better place to get into the Christmas spirit.
Author Resource:-> Lorraine Waddell is the brand and advertising manager of Canvas Holidays, a leading European camping operator that provides the best selection of sites for camping in France (https://www.canvasholidays.co.uk/)