Do you want to know how a French Christmas looks like? Simply magical. Many people want to spend Christmas in France.
Between the end of November and the end of December there are Christmas markets in many cities and towns. You can do shopping in these places with a fantastic atmosphere. Some markets are open daily and some are open only at weekends.
Christmas Market in Strasbourg, which is the oldest market in France, is really popular. It is also one of the country’s largest markets.
Christmas Market in Lille in the north of France is popular also in Britain because it is only 80 minutes far from London by train.
Christmas tree is a traditional French decoration from 14th century. French people usually decorate their trees with apples, paper flowers and ribbons.
Mistletoe is hung above the door to bring a fortune.
French people enjoy decorating their tables on Christmas Eve. They want it to look elegant and inviting.
Christmas Eve is the highlight of the period of Christmas. Families eat together and drink various wines. Christmas dinner lasts for many hours.
Midnight mass is also an important part of Christmas Eve.
Children put their shoes in front of the fireplace. They hope that Santa Claus will fill them with presents. Children start unwrapping their presents around midnight.
The 25th December is a day full of relaxing and visiting extended family.
French Christmas Food
A traditional French Christmas menu usually includes smoked salmon and oysters with bread and butter, foie gras, goose, capon or turkey stuffed with chestnuts with vegetables and potatoes. A typical dessert on Christmas Eve is Yule log – a sponge cake made of chocolate and chestnuts.
Have you ever wondered what a French Christmas looks like? They are simply magical. If you dream about spending Christmas in France, you are not the only one.
France is among some of the countries with a tradition of Christmas markets. Beginning at the end of November and lasting until the end of December, they are visited by people whose intention is to buy something, sip mulled wine or just enjoy the magical Christmas atmosphere. Some markets are open daily but some of them are possible to visit only at weekends.
While speaking about Christmas markets in France, we must mention to two cities with popular markets – Strasbourg and Lille. At Christmas time, Strasbourg Cathedral is surrounded by Christmas markets. The tradition of Christmas markets in this city dates back to the 14th century. Even Britons can enjoy Christmas markets in France, especially in Lille. It takes only 80 minutes by train from London to Lille.
The Christmas tree
Since late the 1830s, the Christmas tree has become the most traditional decoration and symbol of Christmas. The Christmas tree is frequently decorated with apples, paper flowers or ribbons.
Who would not want to be rich? Mistletoe hung above the door is believed to bring fortune throughout the following year.
The French are well-known for their passion for food. They want their tables to be perfect, especially on Christmas Eve. Tables on Christmas Eve should be elegant and inviting and they should make everybody want to join the family and eat with them.
The 24th December is the highlight of the whole Christmas time – the day that everyone waits for. The most important part of the evening is Christmas dinner. Families sit together and feast for almost six hours, eat delicious food and taste different kinds of wines.
People from Catholic families attend Midnight Mass. In general, this tradition is not as popular as it used to be. Fewer and fewer people attend this mass.
Gifts and presents
The fireplace is the place where children hope to find their presents. They put shoes in front of the fireplace and Santa Claus fills them with presents. While younger children wait until December 25th to unwrap their presents, older children unwrap their gifts at midnight on 24th of December.
On the 25th December people finish eating what was left over from the Christmas feast. Another way to spend this day is by relaxing or visiting their extended family.
Each region in France has its traditional Christmas menu. It usually consists of smoked salmon, oysters, bran bread and butter, foie gras (goose or duck liver pate), goose, capon or turkey stuffed with chestnuts and vegetables and provincial herbs sautéed potatoes. If you are still not full you can have a dessert – Yule log that is a sponge cake decorated like a log, traditionally made of chocolate and chestnuts.
wonder – be interested
market – an open space where goods or services are offered
intention – aim, action
sip – to drink in small quantities
mulled – heated, spice
daily – every day
date – to have origin in a particular time in the past
Briton – an inhabitant of Great Britain
ribbon – a narrow strip or band of fabric
fortune – a large sum of money
following – coming next
table – a piece of furniture where meals are served at
highlight – a significant event
feast – eat heartily
attend – be present
Midnight Mass – mass that take place at midnight
in general – affecting the whole or every member of a class
left over – not used
extended family – a family group that consists of parents, children and other relatives
smoked – dried and cured by hanging in wood smoke
stuffed – filled
sautéed – fried quickly
Yule – Christmas
log – large section of a trunk or limb