It’s the most wonderful time of the year and I’m so grateful I get to spend it in France!
In France, the Christmas festivities start as early as the 1st of December with…
L E C A L E N D R I E R D E L ‘ A V E N T :
In the U.S, these are very hard to find, so I was really excited when my host family gave me my very own! This specific calendar is filled with Kinder (the best kind of chocolate in the world!) and everyday leading up to the 24th, you open up a window! There are 5 different kinds of Kinder chocolates, so everyday you are ‘surprised’ with a different chocolate! And on the 24th, you actually get a ‘Kinder Surprise’ which is a chocolate egg with a ‘surprise’ inside! It’s a fun Christmas tradition for kids 😉
L E M A R C H E D E N O E L :
My favorite thing about Christmas in france is how festive the cities are. Each city in France has their own Marché de Noël (Christmas Market) open for the month of December. It’s a bunch of tiny outdoor markets scattered all around town, these markets are run by locals artists, bakers, florists, the list goes on and on! It’s a great way to support local businesses and find unique christmas gifts! They also have entertainment for children such as an ice skating rank, live music, and ‘Santa’s house’ where they can go to take pictures with Santa and give him their Christmas list!!
The Christmas lights are also a very cool tradition! Every night, the streets are lit with beautiful christmas lights…
In France, as well as the U.S, we decorate Christmas trees! This year my host family bought a real Christmas tree which I thought was super cool because my family in the U.S. uses an artificial tree. We decorated with some candy canes, red & white ornaments, and some spray on snow to make it feel more Christmas-y since the snow hasn’t arrived in Chambéry yet!
This is the most unique tradition I’ve noticed during my time here! A papillote is a chocolate wrapped in festive paper traditionally used to decorate the table for Christmas dinner! The original papillote comes with a joke and a firecracker on the inside! How cool is that?! In fact, legend has it that a young man who worked in a candy shop was in love with a girl downstairs. To attract the young love’s attention, he wrapped love notes around each of the chocolates and tossed them into her window. The owner of the candy shop found out their little secret and found it original. This idea soon became a delicious tradition and is enjoyed by people all over the country at Christmas time.
The best for last!… I think the best Christmas tradition is spending time with family and after 4 months of living in France, I’m happy to call these people family. I feel very lucky to have been hosted by such a kind family, they never fail to make me feel at home.