Although originally intended for the Nativity scene, these little figurines have become so popular (and expensive) that they now cover just about everything relating to the Provence, and some that don't! Around now, commerces put them up to attract customers, which works for me because I know one Wine dealer/producer who has the most magnificent santon display allowing me to taste the wines and order by the barrel to take home, and look at the santon display.
http://www.avignon-et-provence.com/santons-provence/foire-santons/#.Upcw48RDtMg........Nowadays, they are run by electric motors - pumps and the lord knows what else! The water actually runs....the detail is magnificent...quite beautiful.
If you get the chance to see a REAL set up, don't hesitate, even if you don't drink or need wine!
This is one of my favourites - you can actually see the cards they have in their hands, or this one representing a Provence Village.....There are so many, it's amazing....even fot the 'Gitanes' (Gypsies, particularly of Camargue)
So watch out in your local papers or markets.....it's the time of year - for this too, the wind 'The Mistral' when you cover yourself up as much as possible. The Parisiens complain about a little breeze...? This thing blows at 140km and in winter from the Alps - freezing, or nearly !
Traditional Provence Santon (Christmas Creche Figure) facing Mistral Wind (Photo credit: Wikipedia)