The town of Sélestat is located in central Alsace, between Strasbourg and Colmar. These are photos shot during freezing nights in December… but also in the warm atmosphere of an authentic Christmas market. These are the nativity scenes or crèches displayed in many French homes. Therefore the little town is playing the Christmas tree card very well with an abundance of lights. When the Dutch migrated to the United States in the 19th century, they took with them the traditions of Saint Nicolas (Sinterklaas). There’s no better way to join the French Christmas cheer than adopting a few French Christmas traditions. You’ve probably heard about Annecy and its lake with turquoise water at the foot of snow-capped mountains. On January 6th, the French commemorate the visit of the 3 kings with a special cake: la galette des Rois. This article features audio recordings. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, in France and beyond. ? Read more, The Village of Sharing in Place Kléber, Strasbourg © French Moments, The rich heritage of the town of Colmar is brilliantly enhanced with a festive (and vintage) Christmas light display. The poinsettia originally grew in Mexico where it was known as the “, Mistletoe and holly – le gui et le houx de Noël, The legend goes that when Jesus and his family fled Egypt, the soldiers of Herod where about to catch them. These “traditions” are all fairly recent. Dec 20, 2018 - Explore Stacy LM's board "French Christmas Traditions", followed by 912 people on Pinterest. French culture is built on great food, fun with the family, and maintaining proud traditions - so it’s no surprise that these factors are central to a French Christmas. It was written in the early 16th century. If you fear that raw, slippery oysters are going to leave you heaving over the toilet on Christmas morning then try cooking them with sabayon de champagne. The Unesco-listed Place Stanislas welcomes a superb Christmas tree while the Ferries wheel of Place de la Carrière offers a breathtaking view of the town. The flower symbolises the Star of Bethlehem while the red colour represents the blood sacrifice of Jesus at the crucifixion. The cathedral of Strasbourg displays one of France’s largest Advent wreath in the nave. Christmas markets mainly sell Christmas products or sometimes Christmas gifts. A beautiful Christmas atmosphere in Sélestat © French Moments, ? (some nativities have it already present, though it is positioned upside down until Christmas Day). So same Christian traditions, right? Although some more religious families would argue that meagre meats, such as fish, should be eaten instead. The royal square of Place Stanislas is adorned with a giant Christmas tree. Tweet. Place du Tertre at Christmas © French Moments. Sometimes, Père Noël’s donkey is substituted by seven magical reindeer who pull his sleigh, which is in fact an American tradition. In France they are important as they symbolise Christ and the 12 apostles at the Last Supper. Read more, An alley of the The Metz Christmas Market on place Saint-Louis © French Moments, The festive market puts the emphasis on the character of Saint-Nicolas. In doing so she announced that it would remain eternally green, a symbol of hope and immortality. This is a Provençal French Christmas tradition but worth mentioning as it sounds so ‘challenging’ – can you imagine having 13 desserts after the main (big) Christmas feast? And there we have our guide to French Christmas traditions, we hope you have enjoyed hearing some ways the French like to celebrate the festive period. Did you know? The French festive dining experience is most definitely a marathon, not a sprint, as festive feasts continue into the New Year (a similar banquet to Christmas Eve is held on the last night of the year). ? They are Christmas markets that I particularly like for their authenticity. ? France is only a short trip away across the Channel, but when it comes to Christmas, our traditions often seem miles apart. All French Christmas markets find their origins in Alsace. Apart from Provençal nativities and live ones, there are also Baroque, Neapolitan, Comtoise nativities (from Franche-Comté) as well as theatre nativity scenes (which were presented in the town hall square of Paris for 17 years). "CHRISTMAS IN ALSACE - a Photographic Journey" I love strolling from Place Broglié to the Petite France district via the Cathedral square. Seafood at Christmas might seem strange to outsiders, but the French love it and Parisians are particularly fond of a platter of chilled oysters as a holiday appetizer. https://www.thespruceeats.com/french-christmas-recipes-1375385 The nativity scene. 50 Beautiful Photos Of Rural France To Cheer You Up! Christmas Table in Alsace © OT Strasbourg – Aurélie Cottier. But there are other Christmas lights to discover, such as the Trail of Lanterns. The figurines are called santons and they include:- Read more about New Year’s Eve in France. I love strolling by the banks of the River Seine at night time for all the lights and monuments to see. In Alsace, tradition has it that the Advent period is the moment to express one’s decorative skills. Nowadays they are a delicious French Christmas tradition, sold massively in shops at the end of each year. And climb down through the chimney to leave presents for every child who has behaved themselves through the past year. If you're new here, you may be interested in downloading the guide "20 Amazing Offbeat Places in Paris". ‘The light that illuminates the world’. Each region of France has its own Christmas songs. Want to know more about Christmas in Alsace? French Christmas Traditions France is a country rich with traditions and cultural customs. The food and the festive atmosphere are fun for the whole family. In Alsace and Burgundy, a roasted stuffed turkey/capon with potatoes is more common. Nativity Scene of Notre-Dame in December 2016 © French Moments. The picturesque district of La Petite France is also a great place to visit. The French Moments Christmas Gift Guide is out! As we said, one of the oldest in Europe. You can of course change your mind and withdraw your consent at any time, by returning to this site after clearing the cookies on your computer or device. ? L5 + L6 À Moi Paris Method - Upper Intermediate 4.97 (72 reviews) US$ 119.99 US$ 95.99. Advent Calendars are of course given to eager French children in anticipation of Christmas. They usually decorate the Christmas table and are an essential element of Christmas traditions in France. The Moselle Valley: A Discovery Itinerary, A photographic journey to a French Winter Wonderland. ? An important French tradition is to display une crèche somewhere in your home. People hang it above the door during the Christmas season, where it is supposed to bring good luck during the the coming year – so where is the kissing? According to ancient tradition, French people burn Yule logs made out of cherry wood on their hearths on Christmas Eve. In some parts of the North and Northeast of France, Christmas is celebrated on December 6th. If you stand under it you will be kissed. All you have to do is click the link and any booking you make is automatically tracked. I’ve found another beautiful spot, by the Debilly footbridge. With festivities stretching over a couple of weeks, you’re in for a great time if you’re planning on spending your Christmas season in France. Santa’s ride in Strasbourg © French Moments. The “cradle of the Christmas tree” boasts a rich architectural heritage. Servings of vegetables such as green beans cooked with garlic and butter and provincial herbs sautéed potatoes. They were placed in a stocking. Filter by post type. 11. The festive market puts the emphasis on the character of Saint-Nicolas. It features a great light display onto the façades of the entire main street. Read more about these French traditions of Christmas: In France, the Christmas tree first appeared in Alsace in 1521. While in France, English and German carols have been adapted into French : ? Shoes in front of the fireplace. Sadly, crackers have never become part of French Christmas traditions. Le Reveillon includes traditional French Christmas foods such as oysters, foie gras, turkey and chestnuts, duck, caviar, escargots, smoked salmon, scallops, lobster, Bûche de Noël and of course plenty of wine and champagne. Find out more about Christmas in Strasbourg. The Top 10 Most Famous Monuments of France, The formidable story behind the French croissant. I hope it will transport you somewhere special – to a magical land far from all the bad news in the media. Christmas in France is a major annual celebration, as in most countries of the Christian world. For decorating the Christmas tree, French people have a wide choice of: It has become an iconic figure of Christmas since its origins in the 16th century. 5. Let’s see some generic French Christmas vocabulary: Le Réveillon de … They are also symbolic of the gifts offered by the three wise men to Jesus on 6 January (at, The Gospel of Luke recounts the story of the, Christmas’ Eve in France – le Réveillon de Noël, Parisians usually have seafood and oysters with bran bread and butter, caviar, foie gras (goose liver pate) with currant jam and the famous Christmas Yule log (a, The French traditions of Christmas: the Midnight Mass, Each region of France has its own Christmas songs. Christmas’ presents – les cadeaux de Noël. Floating carol singers in Colmar. Known as the Bûche de Noël, it is usually a chocolate sponge cake in the shape of a log (bûche) covered in cream. I choose not to come on weekend days (to avoid the crowds of tourists!). 5 – The French Christmas Present Traditions. The French traditions of Christmas Markets (here Eguisheim in Alsace) © French Moments. There are several French Christmas traditions sprinkled throughout this article, but I wanted to note the following in particular, as they are so wonderful! But with the invention of postal mail, the practice became more widespread. You can find it in Strasbourg in Alsace with many traditional French products to buy as gifts. My favourite crib was that of Notre-Dame… alas we’ll have to wait at least a decade before the end of the restoration work. That is why many Christmas songs have been taken from UK, Germany and other places. Apart from Paris, the City of Lights, one has to get to the North-East of France to discover the lights of Christmas, The “lumières de Noël” are inextricably related to the Christmas markets of Alsace and Lorraine. But wait for the night to fall and the magic begins! Or for the careful attention to the chalets and product display. Until the 1960’s, children in France received an orange and a small gift for Christmas. It is intended to be a magical and unforgettable moment for children too. Saint Nicolas is celebrated in the Flanders, Lorraine and Alsace, as well as in Austria, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Bonjour ! More recently, the fireplace has been replaced by the Christmas tree. “Une crèche” – a manger in English – features many little figurines, also called “santons” in Provence, representing towns folks as … Tumblr: Halloween is over. French Christmas Traditions. The Unesco-listed Place Stanislas welcomes a superb Christmas tree while the Ferries wheel of Place de la Carrière offers a breathtaking view of the town. The historic town hosts one of France’s largest Christmas markets after Strasbourg and Paris. Christmas Eve is the most special time in the French celebration of Christmas. France’s radical Green mayors upset Tour de France, Christmas traditions Issued on: 12/09/2020 - 13:49 Pierre Hurmic, Bordeaux's new Green mayor, 21 July 2020. Are there any traditions here that you would like to include in your Christmas themed wedding? Take a ride on it and admire the fine stained-glass windows of the St. Etienne church. ? The run-up to Christmas in France is not that different from the … However many villages that do not host a Christmas market would have strings of light decorating the streets. Welcome back to the French Moments blog! Five different venues made up the Christmas market. This tradition symbolizes Christmas and his 12 apostles at the Last Supper. You may change your settings at any time. ? Published in: Seasonal ideas. It’s that time of year… Christmas cards, decorations, Christmas trees, over-indulgence and, to the delight of some and the chagrin of others, non-stop holiday music everywhere. This is when the Provençal Nativity started developing. Therefore I have my favourites! Click here to get your free copy now! As part of this Christmas tradition in France, everyone has to taste each dessert in order to have good luck for the upcoming year. ► Read more about the French traditions of Christmas in Alsace, Lorraine and Franche-Comté. Although the original versions contained pious images, the modern-day ones are filled with toys and chocolates. From a special meal on Christmas Eve, to the exchange of gifts, traditions vary across different regions of France and among different families. Kaysersberg is also one of our favourite spots in Alsace. Apparently he saw the French ‘bon bon’ sweets (almonds wrapped in pretty paper) and once he returned to London he started selling them with a small motto message inside. I hope this inspires you to consider exploring a new culture over the holidays with your family. Find out more about Christmas in Sélestat. Joel Poinsett first brought it to America in 1829. Read more about the French traditions of Christmas in Paris. At Christmas time, the local postman or fire fighter will knock on every door, selling calendars for the coming New Year. Foie gras is also consumed in Provence, as is the dessert Yule log. ? They are also symbolic of the gifts offered by the three wise men to Jesus on 6 January (at Epiphany), when they arrived at the stable. Shoes for gifts: French children will leave their shoes by the fireplace or by the door for Père Noel to fill with gifts. Villagers played the characters. James Christmas. You may also like. Le Père Fouettard (the Bogeyman) is the counterpart of Saint Nicolas. This is the the most famous and oldest Christmas market in France. An interesting French Christmas tradition is that the French knot the ends of the tablecloth so the Devil can’t get under the table. Here are twelve to follow. We really enjoy the French Christmas traditions, which is why we’ve spent so many holiday seasons in France. FREE (50) Cbrocheriou Christmas vocabulary. Christmas Presents - Les Cadeaux de Noël. However not everyone will be joining the church on that night. On Christmas Eve, French children used to fill their shoes with carrots and treats for Père Noël’s donkey and leave them by the fireplace. Traditionally cards are sent to celebrate the New Year. Read more, Mulhouse Christmas Market © French Moments, One of the most authentic Christmas markets in France! Le Réveillon. ? It has now become a very important tradition in the region. I enjoy Montmartre by night when the streets are deserted. Nicknamed “Capital of Christmas”, Strasbourg is no stranger to an abundance of lights and decorations. There’s no holiday color-coding. Inspired about the French Traditions of Christmas? The family fasts all day, then everyone but the youngest children goes to midnight mass. ? Read more, Christmas market of Montbéliard © French Moments, You’ve probably heard about Annecy and its lake with turquoise water at the foot of snow-capped mountains. Christmas in France isn't quite like anywhere else, and the French have plenty of centuries-old, quirky traditions. Some French Christmas traditions are even on the weird, but good, side of life. Therefore, each year Saverne hosts a Christmas event called “Féerie d’Hiver” (Winter Wonderland). Here are 25 Christmas traditions in France to add to your festive celebrations. Photo. Check out our article on the French traditions of Christmas on our French blog! Christmas preparation with Santa in Maisons-Laffitte © French Moments. Like in many European countries, Advent Calendars herald the coming of the French Christmas season. Some of them are simple settings, others are monumental. Christmas in France, called Noël, is no exception, boasting many age-old traditions. This site uses functional cookies and external scripts to improve your experience. Christmas in France: a guide to French Christmas traditions, smoked salmon and oysters with bran bread and (real) butter. Saint Nicolas is celebrated in the Flanders, Lorraine and Alsace, as well as in Austria, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. When you are learning French, it’s also important that you understand the French culture. The Central America indigenous plant is appreciated for its red and green foliage that recalls the traditional colours of Christmas. The grand Christmas tree on place Stanislas, Nancy © French Moments. Christmas is a time for celebration and thus the French indulge in luxury food and delicatessen. Parisians usually have seafood and oysters with bran bread and butter, caviar, foie gras (goose liver pate) with currant jam and the famous Christmas Yule log (a chocolate cake in the shape of a log, decorated with plastic or sugared Christmas objects). French Christmas traditions. An enchanting view of the Trail of Lanterns in Metz © French Moments. The legend goes that when Jesus and his family fled Egypt, the soldiers of Herod where about to catch them. What about Christmas in France? Christmas in Alsace. One of the reasons must be the proximity of Strasbourg. The great Christmas tree of Place Kléber, Strasbourg © French Moments. A compilation of things I loved and experienced while visiting Alsace in December. Which cookies and scripts are used and how they impact your visit is specified on the left. From a special meal on Christmas Eve, to the exchange of gifts, traditions vary across different regions of France and among different families. Colourful wrapping paper and the tradition of buying more expensive gifts developed in line with an increase in American influence at the conclusion of the Second World War. Either viewed from the Trocadéro or the Champ de Mars. The “cradle of the Christmas tree” boasts a rich architectural heritage. A French Christmas Joyeux Noël ! Many consider the event as the first observance of the French Traditions of Christmas. 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