I was fortunate enough to have my family come to France to visit me during the winter holidays. They arrived the 26th of December and spent a week with me in the south of France. We spent the first evening taking in the sights of Nice lit up for the holidays. The decorations that the city had been working on for what seemed like months were beautiful.
On Sunday, my family’s second day in France, we were presented with the opportunity to visit the town of Lucéram with one of my colleagues and his family. I was immediately intrigued the first time Christophe had told me about the village, and was happy to find that my family was interested in visiting as well.
Lucéram is located northeast of Nice, about 8 km from the Italian border. While only about a 35 minute drive from Nice, the village isn’t accessible by bus or train. Thus, if Christophe hadn’t offered to take us along, we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to visit.
Each year the people of Lucéram design and set up crèches around the entire village. Crèches are the French version of mangers or nativity scenes. The unique thing about crèches is that they are made with santons, figurines handcrafted in the Provence region of southeast France. The Circuit des Crèches has been continuously growing in popularity, and has been featured by national news outlets, further increasing the event’s draw.
When we arrived it was nearly impossible to find parking within the narrow cobblestone streets of the crowded village. Our visit began in front of the Mairie and we gradually made our way up along the winding paths to the top of the village. Along the way we came across a gentleman making delicious socca (a Niçoise specialty) at an outdoor fire pit.
The église Sainte Marguerite and a 15th century medieval tower were waiting for us at the top.
The holiday atmosphere in Lucéram was wonderful. Locals and visitors alike were welcoming and friendly. Lucéram is located in a valley with two mountain streams running through and below the village. Our time here was the highlight of the week for me. My photos just don’t do the village, or the views of the mountains, justice.
As soon as the sun set, it began to get a bit cold. Once we had finished winding our way through the narrow passages, uncovering hundreds of crèches along the way, we warmed up in a small café with some delicious tea and hot chocolate; a warm, happy end to a once in a lifetime adventure.