Archive for the 'French Traditions' Category


The Last of Summer

August is a famously sleepy month in Paris, the time when the juilletistes (those French who take their summer holidays in July) switch places with the aoûtiens (pronounced “ah-oo-sien”, who prefer their vacation in August). Small shops may close for the month, and bakeries go on rotation. Even some cultural institutions go into standby mode. […]

Understanding Champagne

Fact: A bottle of Champagne pops open every 2 seconds somewhere around the world. If you’re like me, that fact conjures up a bevy of celebration images; people clinking glasses at weddings, Bat Mitzvahs, graduations, anniversaries, cheering career promotions, expanding families or new adventures. But the reality is that in France, Champagne isn’t merely reserved […]

May Day!

May 1st is both the Fete du Travail (Labor Day) and the Fete du Muguet (Lily of the Valley Day). The latter is a spring celebration dating back to the Middle Ages. Flowers were given by men to women they liked as a form of spring courtship. The Labor Day part of the holiday started […]

Why Do the French Like Easter?

Because it’s a bonne idée.

Um…Is It Hot in Here?

Every December in France you’ll see the French firemen, or pompiers, selling their annual calendar to raise money for their non-profit association, ADOSSPP (Association pour le développement des œuvres sociales des sapeurs-pompiers de Paris), which provides assistance to injured fire fighters, as well as their families in case of death. As the French fire fighters […]

New Year’s Cards

In France, instead of sending Christmas cards, it’s more popular to send New Year’s cards. New Year’s wishes can arrive up to a few weeks after the 1st of the year,  which means that I can take my time writing them, and my family and friends can receive and enjoy them away from all of the […]

Get Illuminated

Hordes turned out for the annual Festival of Light in Paris. Take a photographic tour here without getting bumped by hot wine-addled spectators.

The Yule Log: Back to Its Roots

The fabulous Un Dimanche a Paris, a concept shop, restaurant, and bar all about chocolate has a new collection of Christmas cakes and Buche de Noel for 2014. Renewing an ancient tradition, Un Dimanche a Paris has gone back to the roots of the Buche de Noel, Un Noel en Foret (Christmas in the Forest) […]

What the Flock?

For whatever reason, many French people prefer chemically sprayed Christmas trees to real ones. I don’t know why, and can only think that it is some lapse in their usually keen judgment, along with drinking UHT milk instead of fresh and subjecting job candidates to a handwriting analysis. I was excited this year at my usual flower stand […]

A Gourmet Holiday Tradition

Nearly 30 of France’s top pastry chefs and 26 Bûches de Noël make for one indulgent afternoon well spent. As an insatiable gourmande, I jump at the chance to meet and speak with pastry chefs so you can imagine my excitement when the country’s top talents are together in one room. My blogging pal Carol Gillott […]

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