Christmas in France
I have had the pleasure of spending two Christmas seasons in France, one in Paris and the other in Tours. It was truly a magical time. The lights along the boulevards and the nativity scenes will always be etched in my memory. In France, Christmas Eve is more important than Christmas Day. I was honored to be included the festivities, as this is usually reserved only for family and close friends. After an afternoon of shopping and preparation, we went to midnight mass at the local cathedral. I remember the elaborate and delectable dinner that was served on that evening, Le Réveillon. It lasted for about 5 hours. We had roasted goose, glazed chicken, seafood, chestnuts and budin blanc (a rich pudding). My absolute favorite is the Bûche de Noël, a yummy chocolate and chestnut cake in the shape of a log, definitely not your typical fruitcake.
The two traditions that really reminded me of home were the love for the Sapin de Noël (Christmas tree) and the burning of the candle for the Virgin Mary, so that she could bless your home for another year as she passed by.
French Children put out their shoes instead of hanging stockings. It was so lovely to see the faces of Jean & Delphine when they awoke on Christmas Day to see that Père Noël had filled them with candies, nuts and small toys. The gift giving was not as elaborate as here in the states, however I am sure that has changed now.
And I have to admit I did get a bisou or two underneath the mistletoe! 😉
So from my family to yours, Merry Christmas and Joyeux Noël!