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French town hopes to break record with huge Christmas creche

December 1, 2017
A woman photographs a crib in the village of Aubagne, near Marseille, southern France, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017. Craftsmen of the city joined their forces to build a traditional provencal crib that shows 3 500 clay made figurines named santons. Santons are traditional colored figurines usually set in Christmas Nativity scenes. (AP Photo/Claude Paris)

PARIS (AP) — Residents of a small French town are hoping to break a record for the world’s biggest Provencal nativity scene.

Craftsmen in Aubagne joined forces to create a 150-square-meter (1,615-square-feet) nativity village. It sprawls around the room replete with 3,500 terracotta figurines in scenes that include Mary and Joseph, and even a French post office, cinema and bar with people playing cards.

Aubagne figurine-maker Philippe Rish said Friday the pieces were made by a “large community of passionate people.”

The making of hand painted figurines, called “santons,” is a famous local tradition in the southern Provence region that dates back to the French Revolution.

Aubagne’s deputy mayor, Philippe Amy, said they hope Guinness World Records will register their feat before Christmas.