2 The Museum of Santons

Exceptional closure 

The museum of "santons" (figures for the Christmas crib) contains a vast number of exhibits including some outstanding figurines made in Naples, scenes illustrating the traditions of Provence and Les Baux linked to the Nativity and a documentary film on the manufacture of these figures.

 

The museum houses several different collections - Neapolitan figurines from the 17th and 18th centuries, 19th-century "santons" for churches whose painted papier mâché faces and glass sulphur eyes were made by the Carmelite convent in Avignon and figures by famous makers such as Carbonnel, Fouque, Jouve, Peyron Campagna, Toussaint, Thérèse Neveu, Louise Berger, Simone Jouglas etc.

 

The traditional ceremony of the Shepherds' Offering, known locally as the "Pastrage", is staged against the background of Les Baux de Provence, in front of the village church. A traditional Provençal Christmas crib and the everyday life of a 19th-century family are shown in two large windows. For children, a crowd of small brightly-coloured, naively-painted santons is placed at a height that they can reach. 

 

"Making a santon is like playing at being God the Father and, like Him, producing a man from clay." This beautifully-phrased sentence by historian Marcel Provençal summarises the work of the santon-maker very well and expresses all the magic of creativity.

 

The Former Guardroom

The building that houses the Santons Museum was built over the old town walls. It was purchased by the Community of Les Baux in 1619 and used successively as a guardroom, school, court and Town Hall from the mid 17th-century to 1960.
The building was partly rebuilt in 1657. Elegant ribbed vaulting was erected beyond the beautiful Renaissance vaulting that already existed. The basement still contains two dungeons built in the 16th century and used as prison cells until the French Revolution.

No admission charge

Information

Tourist Office
Tel +33 (0)4 90 54 34 39 
tourisme@lesbauxdeprovence.com