While church crèches were very widespread in Italy and Germany from the XVIth century, they were less successful in France. The Neapolitan crèches developed in the XVIIth century as a conspicuous expression of devotion and became prestigious features in royal dwellings and noble residences.
The oldest and best known of the French church crèches are those of Nogent le Rotrou, Sainte Marie d’Oléron and the Basilica of Saint Maximin. Crèches with Italian influence can be found from the XVIIIth century in the churches of Provence.
|In Canada, church crèches representing Nativity figures appeared from the very beginnings of the colony. It is clear that the religious orders that came from France established the tradition here.|