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Valensole Santons

Gallery of 8 photos for Valensole Santons

The photos here were all taken on a previous visit to the Greoux Santons museum, now closed down and moved to the nearby village of Valensole. The new Santon Museum in Valensole doesn't have the identical display, but it is by the same Master Santonnier: M. Gérard Moine.

The Greoux Santon Museum [was] a marvelous santon museum and workshop. Master santonnier Gérard Moine makes absolutely every santon by hand from clay. He uses no molds, so each one is unique. And with the detail put into the figures, including the expressions on the faces, they are very unique indeed.

Open daily from May to October [for Valensole].

A small fee of 4 euros (adults) [was] charged for the sound-and-light show of their magnificent santon village, La Crèche de Haute Provence. Martine Moine will seat you in the center of a dark room, and explain the basic story to you. When the show begins, small lights come on to slowly reveal an impressive santon village surrounding you on three sides, peopled by very detailed santon figurines.

The "village" depicts a typical Provençal village, but one containing every every appropriate type of metier. But the chateau at the top does have a certain resemblance to the one at Gréoux-les-Bains.

The show is narrated by an old man telling the tale of the Nativity in Provence to his grandson, and small spotlights and building lights come on here and there to illuminate the village scene being described.

Our final photo is a detail of just one small scene in the village. valensolesantons0015s.jpg

The narration was recorded by an old cordonnerie (cobbler) in the village, now in his 80's, who knew Jean Giono. The Moine's arranged the recording by the old cobbler to carry on the tradition of oral history, and synchronized their descriptive light show to the tale. The narration is in French with a strong local accent, but you don't really need the words to get the feeling of the story as the village is slowly revealed to you.

The detail of the scenes, the building and, of course, the figurines, is outstanding. Postures and faces of the santon people are expressive, and there's excellent attention to detail in everything.

Following the show, you can wander along in front of the "village' and study the display at your leisure.

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