Discover the Secrets of Christmas in France: Part 2
French Christmas Celebration Part 2: How to Enjoy the Festive Season in France
If you are looking for a way to celebrate Christmas in France, you are in for a treat. France is a country that loves to celebrate Christmas with its own traditions and customs. Whether you are visiting Paris or a small village in the countryside, you will find plenty of festive activities and attractions to enjoy. In this article, we will share with you some of the best ways to experience Christmas in France, from the markets and decorations to the food and gifts.
french christmas celebration part 2
French Christmas Markets: A Must-See Attraction
One of the most popular and charming aspects of Christmas in France is the Christmas market. These are outdoor stalls that sell all kinds of Christmas-related items, such as ornaments, wreaths, candles, toys, crafts, and food. You can find Christmas markets all over France, but some of the oldest and most famous ones are in Alsace, where the tradition originated in the 16th century. Some of the best Christmas markets in France are in Strasbourg, Colmar, Mulhouse, and Metz. You can also find great Christmas markets in Paris, Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux, and many other cities and towns.
Christmas markets are a great place to soak up the festive atmosphere and buy some unique gifts for your loved ones. You can also sample some delicious local specialties, such as vin chaud (hot mulled wine), pain d'épices (spiced bread), bredele (small cookies), and foie gras (duck or goose liver). You can also enjoy some live music and entertainment, such as carol singers, street performers, and nativity scenes. Christmas markets are usually open from late November to late December, but some may close on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
French Christmas Decorations: A Feast for the Eyes
Another way to enjoy Christmas in France is to admire the beautiful decorations that adorn the streets, buildings, and homes. You will see many lights and trees in every city and town, creating a magical atmosphere at night. You will also see many nativity scenes or crèches, which depict the birth of Jesus with figurines of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, angels, shepherds, animals, and the three wise men. Some crèches are very elaborate and include moving parts and sound effects.
In addition to the nativity scenes, you will also see many santons or little saints. These are small clay figurines that represent various characters from Provencal life, such as farmers, bakers, fishermen, musicians, etc. They are usually placed around the crèche to create a lively village scene. Santons are a traditional craft from Provence and are collected by many people. You can buy them at some Christmas markets or specialty shops.
French Christmas Food: A Gastronomic Delight
No celebration of Christmas in France would be complete without mentioning the food. The French love to feast on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with their families and friends. They usually have a big dinner on Christmas Eve called le réveillon de Noël or le réveillon du 24 décembre. This meal can last for several hours and include many courses of delicious dishes. Some of the typical foods that are served on Christmas Eve are oysters, foie gras, smoked salmon, turkey or goose with chestnuts, bûche de Noël (a log-shaped cake), and champagne.
On Christmas Day, some French people have another big meal called le réveillon de Noël or le réveillon du 25 décembre. This meal is similar to the one on Christmas Eve but may include different dishes depending on the region. Some of the common foods that are served on Christmas Day are roast beef or lamb with potatoes and vegetables, cheese platter, fruit salad or compote de fruits (stewed fruits), and wine.
French Christmas Gifts: A Joyful Surprise
Last but not least, let's talk about the gifts that are exchanged on Christmas in France. The French usually give gifts to their friends and family on Christmas Day or on New Year's Day. The gifts are often placed under the tree or near the fireplace where Santa Claus or Père Noël will deliver them on Christmas Eve night. Some children may also leave their shoes by the fireplace for Père Noël to fill them with candies or small toys.
The gifts that are given on Christmas in France vary depending on the budget and preference of each person. Some of the common gifts that are given are books, clothes, jewelry, perfume, chocolates, wine, toys, games, etc. Some people may also give money or gift cards to their loved ones.
Conclusion: Celebrate Christmas in France Like a Pro
As you can see, there are many ways to celebrate Christmas in France like a pro. You can visit the charming Christmas markets and buy some unique gifts and treats. You can admire the beautiful decorations and nativity scenes that create a festive mood. You can feast on some delicious food and drinks with your family and friends. And you can exchange some joyful gifts with your loved ones.
Christmas in France is a wonderful time of year that you will never forget. Whether you are visiting France for the first time or you live there permanently, you will find something to enjoy and appreciate about this special season.
French Christmas Traditions: A Cultural Heritage
Besides the markets, decorations, food, and gifts, there are also many traditions that are specific to Christmas in France. Some of these traditions date back to ancient times and have a religious or pagan origin. Others are more recent and have a regional or local flavor. Here are some of the most interesting and unique traditions that you can discover and enjoy during your French Christmas celebration.
La Messe de Minuit (Midnight Mass): This is a Catholic service that takes place on Christmas Eve night in churches across France. Many people attend this mass to celebrate the birth of Jesus and sing carols. Some churches also have a live nativity scene with real animals and actors.
Le Père Fouettard (The Whipping Father): This is a sinister character who accompanies Père Noël on his rounds. He is dressed in black and carries a whip or a bundle of sticks. He is supposed to punish the naughty children who have misbehaved during the year by whipping them or leaving them coal instead of gifts.
Les Treize Desserts (The Thirteen Desserts): This is a tradition from Provence that consists of serving thirteen different desserts on Christmas Eve after the main meal. The number thirteen represents Jesus and his twelve apostles. The desserts include dried fruits, nuts, nougat, candied fruits, calissons (almond paste candies), and fougasse (a flat bread).
La Galette des Rois (The King's Cake): This is a cake that is eaten on January 6th, the day of Epiphany or the visit of the three wise men to Jesus. The cake is usually made of puff pastry and filled with frangipane (almond cream) or apple compote. Inside the cake, there is a small figurine called la fève (the bean). Whoever finds the fève in their slice of cake becomes the king or queen for the day and wears a paper crown.
Le Réveillon du Nouvel An (New Year's Eve Dinner): This is another big meal that takes place on December 31st to welcome the new year. It is similar to the Christmas Eve dinner but may include different dishes such as lobster, caviar, scallops, or foie gras. It is also customary to drink champagne and make some noise at midnight to scare away evil spirits.
Conclusion: Have a Merry French Christmas
We hope that this article has given you some insights into how to celebrate Christmas in France like a pro. You can choose to follow some or all of these tips and traditions to make your French Christmas celebration part 2 unforgettable. Whether you are in France or abroad, you can enjoy the festive season with your family and friends and share some of the joy and magic of Christmas in France.
We wish you a merry French Christmas and a happy new year! 4e3182286b