Shopping at Les Baux, by my visiting blogger, Emily.
Les Baux has something for everyone. Merchant after merchant in the lower village tempts shoppers with traditional Provencal merchandise, as well as everything from fine paintings to typical souvenir items and T-shirts. My favorites were the shop selling santons and the shop selling confections from all over France.
Santons (little saints) are small figurines that first were seen at the time of the Revolution. Churches were closed and there was no place to stage nativity scenes. Some clever guy, seeing a golden opportunity, decided to make clay figures of people from the bible painted in bright colors and to sell them inexpensively so that every household could create its own nativity scene. That went so well that he then created figures dressed in the local costumes of people found in a typical village to add to the scene: the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker, even the village idiot! And, voila!, a new industry was born. People collected the characters and added more each year to their nativity scenes. The craze reached a height in the 1800’s, which is why most santons wear clothes of that period. There still is a Santons Fair held each year in Marseilles.
This guy is in trouble!
This colorful shop sells specialty sweets and confections from all over France. (it’s part of a chain -at least there are two because this is the outside of the one I saw in Uzes.)
The long two-sided row of cookies, which can be bought by the kilo or by “the each,” stretches the length of the shop.
The olives you see piled in baskets actually are chocolates, disguised as olives. They are beautiful: each little “olive” is a work of art. The packaging is almost too pretty to open.
Although I’m not fond of candied fruit, this is pretty enough to buy just to look at.
These little sachets of marzipan make a nice gift.
Les Baux is an extraordinary place. No wonder it’s been designated an historic monument by the French government and is second only to to Mont St. Michel in Normandy
as the most visited site outside of Paris.