traditions in France

Customs and Traditions in France

23 May 2014 by Anna Staford

Travelling to France

Tourists have been flocking to France for years for its renowned cuisine, beautiful landmarks and diverse culture. The culture is characterised by the French penchant for tradition, every day you can still see people lining up outside their local boulangerie for fresh baguette, a scene captured in photos taken by tourists to show off back home.

Tradition and Culture of France

Bastille Day Celebration

Perhaps more than any other peoples, the French revere their independence with a passion. La Fête Nationale, celebrated annually on 14th July, is the French equivalent of the American Fourth of July celebration. Often called ‘Bastille Day’, the event commemorates the prison break which begun the French Revolution in 1789 and is celebrated with parades, fireworks and a culinary display featuring cassoulet, clafoutis, ratatouille, palmier, bouillabaisse, coq au van and boeuf Bourgignon. Their national anthem, ‘La Marseillaise’, is played throughout the whole day from homes with their windows open, restaurants, bars and any other buildings.

Read also: Transport in France: How to Get Around

Christmas Time

The majority of French people are Roman Catholic, hence the cultural tradition of celebrating the birth and resurrection of Christ, both in grand mode. ‘Les fêtes de Noël’ is the French Christmas, characterised by Mass in the late evening and followed by le Réveillon. This is a dinner which includes saumon fume (smoked salmon), dinde aux marrons (chesnut-stuffed turkey) and bûche de Noël. This is a traditional holiday cake, shaped like a log and made out of buttercream flavoured with hazelnut or chocolate.

The French Santa Claus is known as ‘Père Noël’. He fills French children’s shoes instead stockings, arranged neatly in a row in front of the fireplace, with confectionary, money and small toys. If the children were consistently naughty during the time prior to les fêtes de Noël, it is Père Fouettard who might appear to dispense spankings rather than presents.

Holidays Celebrated in France


Be there when the bells “Fly Back from Rome”

Easter, known as ‘Pâques’ in France, begins on Maundy Thursday as a sombre remembrance of the passion and death of Christ. There is no ringing of church bells (les cloches volants) for three days but they are rung on Easter morning when the children watch the bells ‘fly back from Rome’. They then participate in numerous activities, not the least of which is the traditional Easter lunch.

A typical Easter lunch in France would consist of oeufs de caille sur son nid de roquette (quail eggs on arugula greens) or celeriac remoulade (celery salad), gigot d’agneau (roasted leg of lamb with green beans and other spring vegetables), plateau de fromages (cheese platter) and nid de pâques (“nest cake”).

Celebrate Bastille Day, Christmas and Easter by experiencing the customs and traditions in France. Explore the heritage of this country through Brittany crêpes, Reims champagne and Provençal melons. Make that trip to France with the security of one of Globelink’s travel insurance policies for your safety and peace of mind.

Read also: 6 Things I Wish I Knew Before Travelling to France

Planning Your Future Trip?

Join over 20K savvy travellers reading our monthly newsletters!

We accept

Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, we’re temporarily not offering NEW SINGLE TRIP policies. You can still buy our ANNUAL cover, or an ‘ALREADY TRAVELLING’ policy if you’re currently away. Or you can visit our travel insurance partners for a SINGLE TRIP quote. Click here for transfer to their website.

If you are you an EXISTING SINGLE TRIP CUSTOMER - To EXTEND your SINGLE TRIP policy, please contact us to get an extension BEFORE your policy expires so you have continual cover: globelink@globelink.co.uk or by +44 1353 699 082.

For notification of when Single Trip policies are available, please leave you email and we will get back in touch.