Place Rosetti in the Old Town is transformed into a giant living nativity scene complete with farm animals, animations and concerts from December 15th - December 26th, 10am - 8pm.
From December 8th - January 2nd, Luna Park, the only indoor amusement park in Europe will be at the Palais des Exposition in Acropolis. It includes 130 stands and rides with more than 200,000 visitors expected!
For a more unusual Christmas experience, head to Place du Safranier in the Old Town of Antibes to watch the locals make an extraordinarily large 'Bûche de Noël' (Christmas log) at 5pm on December 11th.
To make the most of a sunny winter day, head for Pré des Pêcheurs where a giant wheel takes centre stage between December 5th and January 3rd.
The son and lumiere on the facade of the town hall lights up at 6.30pm on December 16th. Father Xmas arrives and there will be fireworks and mulled wine to enjoy. Christmas events take place in Place Bellevue and rue St Sauveur from 11am till late.
Christmas Eve at 10.45pm there is an enactment of the shepherd's story by the Provencal Academy. A real shepherd with a lamb leads the representatives of the villages around Cannes. Wearing traditional costumes, they bring to the child Jesus a selection of local treats. The choir sings Christmas carols in the Provencal language of the 17th century. This is followed by Midnight mass during which the ladies of the academy knit a shawl for the first child born in Cannes after midnight.
From December 6th to January 1st the Christmas Market (Village de Noel Nice) is traditionally held in Place Massena, where it transforms into a Christmas wonderland for the whole for December with over 60 stalls selling crafts, an ice rink, ice sculptures and fair ground rides.
Santa's Grotto is open from December 2nd to January 1st, during the hours of 2pm - 7:30pm on Wednesdays, every weekend and each day of the school holidays. Along the Promenade the palm trees are illuminated with lights and a giant Santa Clause figure opposite the Lenval Hospital.
The Christmas village opens on December 1st on Les Allees at 6pm. There is mulled wine, champagne and seafood bars as well as stands selling everything for those special christmas decorations and presents. There is a fairground, christmas parades and an ice rink with planned ice shows. The rue d'Antibes is pedestrianised at 2-6pm every Sunday in December, The Christmas parade takes place at 3pm on December 24th and a musical parade at at 3pm on December 31st
December 6th to the January 7th
Port Hercule in Quai Albert 1er
Christmas market in the Principality of Monaco takes place in Port Hercule in Quai Albert 1er. Similar to Nice, it is rebuilt to a christmas village with wooden chalets with regional products and culinary specialities. Among other attractions present each year, Monaco offers workshops for children, games, a ferris wheel and an ice skating rink.
Where to eat
Le 11eme Art
11 Rue Meyerbeer, Nice
A la carte menu
Christmas Day evening only
10 Rue Chauvain, Nice
Set menu €60
Christmas Day lunch
Le Chantecler/Brasserie La Rotonde
Nergresco Hotel, Promenade des Anglais, Nice
2 Set menus- €65 or €180
Christmas Eve or Christmas Day lunch
Food and drink are of course an essential part of Christmas, and shops on the Riviera are stocked up with festive treats. Here’s where to go to pick up all those essentials…
For your turkey head to Boucherie Saint François, Rue Saint François, Tel: +33(0)4 93 85 80 88, or Boucherie de La Tour, Rue de la Tour, Tel: +33(0)4 93 80 63 08, both in the Old Town. Book a turkey in advance before December 20th to avoid disappointment.
The Fromagerie du Carré d’Or, Rue de France, will tempt all cheese lovers. Pick a selection to make a great Christmas present. Tel: +33(0)4 97 00 02 79.
We of course have to recommend our favourite chocolatier LAC, and their renowned ‘Bûche de Noël’ (Christmas Log), pop into one of their three shops, on Rue de la Préfecture, Rue Gioffredo or Rue Barla..