Apt Candied Fruits: Discovering the Sweet Secret of Provence

Apt Candied Fruits © French Moments

Every time we’ve stayed in the Luberon, wandering through the village markets has been a highlight. Among the bustling stalls, the famed Apt candied fruits often caught my eye. Yet, I scarcely gave them more than a passing glance in the past. Each time I returned home, my thoughts lingered on these quintessentially Provençal treats, tinged Read more…

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Christmas Jazz in France: A Photographic and Musical Journey

Christmas Jazz in France. Photo via Envato Elements and by Prostock-studio via Envato Elements

Every year I think of a way to thank my readers and wish them a Merry Christmas. In 2023, let’s enter the world of Christmas Jazz in France!Christmas Jazz in France!After creating ebooks in previous years, I have chosen to do something different for Christmas 2022. I had the idea of producing a musical and photographic Read more…

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Christkind: Unwrapping Traditions in Alsace and Germany

Christkind - Richard Ernst Kepler - Im Lande des Christkinds 1903

You must have been born in Alsace or Germany to know about Christkindel, an enigmatic figure in Alsatian and German Christmas. A discreet figure, he is rarely seen at Alsatian Christmas markets… but with a little patience, you’re sure to come across him!Christkind illustrated in 1845Who is Christkind? First of all, there’s something strange about Read more…

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Christmas in Strasbourg Cathedral: Where Tradition Shines

Christmas in Strasbourg Cathedral © French Moments

Strasbourg cathedral welcomes around 4 million visitors a year, making it the second most visited church in France after Notre-Dame de Paris. As in many churches in Alsace and France, Christmas is a time for nativity scenes, Advent wreaths and other yuletide traditions. The Christmas Nativity Scene in Strasbourg cathedral is no exception. It is Read more…

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Capturing Christmas in France with a Creative Suite

Capturing Christmas in France with a Creative Suite

France has such a rich culture that hundreds of thousands of visitors stop by every year to experience the magic of Christmas. With fantastic traditions, beautiful cities, and so many festive things to see and do, you’ll certainly want to capture the memories forever. To ensure the pictures and video footage you take do your Read more…

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The Meisenthal glassworks and its famous Christmas baubles

Meisenthal Baubles © French Moments

If you follow the Glass and Crystal Route through the thick forests of the Vosges du Nord, you’ll reach a glass mecca. Less than 10 km from Wingen, the glass-making site of Meisenthal has become a popular destination over the years. The former glassworks, which closed in 1969, has been resurrected to form three centres: Read more…

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Père Fouettard: Unraveling the Dark Side of Christmas in France

Le Père Fouettard en Lorraine © M. Laurent - CRT Lorraine

When we saw his silhouette from afar, we were already terrified! As a child, I remember the visit of the sinister Père Fouettard. Fortunately for good children, Saint Nicholas was never far away. Père Fouettard is a legendary character in Christmas folklore in France and other French-speaking regions. He is often portrayed as the companion Read more…

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La légende de saint Nicolas

La légende de saint Nicolas © French Moments

La légende de saint Nicolas (also known as Il était trois petits enfants or Complainte de saint Nicolas) is a traditional French song with lyrics dating from the 18th century.The story of the songLa légende de saint Nicolas was collected by Gérard de Nerval in the province of Valois in 1842.  This legend tells us how the Read more…

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Merry Christmas: A Photographic and Musical Journey

Christmas Jazz in France. Photo via Envato Elements and by Prostock-studio via Envato Elements

Every year I think of a way to thank my readers and wish them a Merry Christmas.Merry Christmas! After creating ebooks in previous years, I have chosen to do something different for Christmas 2022. I had the idea of producing a musical and photographic journey from Paris to the Eastern regions of France. I have selected my Read more…

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Boxing Day in France: Celebrations & Traditions

Boxing day in France. Photo by ShintarTatsiana via Envato Elements

The day after Christmas is another feast celebrating Christianity’s first martyr: Saint Stephen’s Day, in French, Fête de Saint-Etienne or La Sainte-Etienne. In English-speaking countries, this date is known as Boxing Day. In this article, we will go back in time to learn more about the origin of Saint Stephen’s Day in France. And to Read more…

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Hans Trapp, the terror of the children of Alsace

Hans Trapp © French Moments

Riding his black horse, he roams the countryside of northern Alsace with a vengeance. Hans Trapp is the terror of Alsatian gatherings. On St Nicholas’ Eve, he proudly takes part in the procession of the holy man in Wissembourg and other towns in the region. Here’s a look at the bogeyman of Alsatian children’s nightmares…Hans Read more…

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Winchester Christmas Market: A Discovery Guide

Winchester Christmas Market © French Moments

Renowned as one of the best in Europe, the Winchester Christmas market is inspired by traditional German Christmas markets. Visitors enjoy its lively atmosphere and unique location in the shadow of the historic cathedral. I visited it a few days ago and I’m happy to share my photos and impressions with you here on the Read more…

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The NEW Christmas in France ebook is out!

Christmas in France ebook - A Journey to the Land of Christmas

Finally! After working on it for several months, the Christmas in France eBook is finally ready! This book is for those wanting to discover the Christmas traditions that make France – and particularly Alsace and Lorraine – such a unique holiday destination. A New Christmas in France Ebook Illuminations, decorations, Christmas trees and delicious sweets: Read more…

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Petit Papa Noël: the story of the song

Petit Papa Noël. Photo by choreograph via Envato Elements

Everyone in France knows the only French secular song “Petit Papa Noël”. Grandparents, parents, children… everyone has listened to it over and over again in their younger years at Christmas time. However, it is not such an old song. In this article, we will learn more about its origin, which dates back to the Second Read more…

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10 French Books Ideas for your Child’s Christmas Gifts

10 French Books Ideas. Photo by choreograph and Pineapple_Studio via Envato Elements

In this article, I give you 10 French books ideas that can inspire you for your child(ren)’s Christmas presents.   10 French Books Ideas for your Child’s Christmas Presents I’ve gone through my daughter Aimée’s (8 years old) library to come up with some French books ideas and recommendations for Christmas. I hope you find Read more…

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Christmas Toys: the History of a Tradition

Vintage Christmas Toys. Photo by ira_lichi via Twenty20

It’s Christmas morning. Impatient as ever, the children can no longer stay in bed… at full speed, they rush down the stairs to the living room where the Christmas tree stands. And it doesn’t matter if the parents are still asleep, this morning it’s time to discover the presents that Santa Claus has placed at Read more…

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11 Most Beautiful Christmas Markets in the UK

Winchester Christmas Market. Photo by BruceAlborough via Twenty20

Let’s step into the joy of Christmas in the UK with the discovery of one of the most popular festive traditions. The Christmas markets in the UK are somewhat a recent tradition and originate from the famous Weihnachtsmärkte in Germany. During Advent, the main cities and towns of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland host Read more…

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Christmas presents in France: Origins and Traditions

Christmas presents under the tree © French Moments

Christmas presents are traditionally given to children (and also to grown-ups!) at Christmas. Wrapped in a shiny gift paper with a beautiful ribbon, it is given out by Father Christmas. However, the tradition of the Christmas gift hides an astonishing story… let’s have a closer look at its origins and traditions with a French twist! Read more…

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The Christmas pyramid: Origins and Traditions

Christmas pyramid at the Magdeburg Christmas market - licence [CC BY-SA 2.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The Christmas Pyramid, also known as the Advent Pyramid, is an important decorative element of the Christmas season in German countries. For several years now, it has been making its way into the French Christmas scene, albeit timidly. I did my research and it turned out to be a fascinating task. I never imagined that Read more…

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30 Most Beautiful Christmas Markets in Germany

The Striezelmarkt in Dresden, one of the most beautiful Christmas markets in Germany. Photo by tdyuvbanova via Twenty20

Let’s enter the joy of Christmas in Germany by discovering the Weihnachtsmarkt tradition. The Christmas markets in Germany are indeed an age-old tradition. During Advent, thousands of markets open their doors to visitors. Their stallholders sell seasonal gifts and mouth-watering treats in the crisp winter air. But it’s not just about shopping. People also come Read more…

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Top 20 Destinations to Visit in France at Christmas

Top 20 Destinations to Visit in France at Christmas © French Moments

Here is a list of 20 destinations to visit in France at Christmas. This is an opportunity to discover places that you may not have known about and that will be revelations for future trips. I take you to discover the Christmas markets of Alsace, the illuminations of Paris and Lyon, a Winter Wonderland in Read more…

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The NEW Christmas ebook is out!

Christmas ebook © French Moments

It is in the midst of that sad context we’re living in, I came up with an idea. Which was to work on a photographic Christmas Ebook that would give you a glimpse of how Christmas is celebrated in the French province of Alsace. Well, after working on it for several weeks, the photographic eBook Read more…

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A photographic journey to a French Winter Wonderland

A French Winter Wonderland: Village of Hirtzbach © French Moments

For many, the words ‘Winter Wonderland’ refers to a popular American song played during the holiday season. As this year Christmas is looking like no other, I came up with some photos that create a wondrous Wintery atmosphere. Follow me on this journey to a French Winter Wonderland, from Paris to the Alps and Alsace. Read more…

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The French Moments Christmas Gift Guide is out!

Christmas Gift Guide

Welcome to the 2020 French Moments Christmas Gift Guide! In the past, people have asked me about ideas for French-related products they could buy as a gift for Christmas. I used to reply individually to these enquiries and as you can guess it took me a fair amount of time to do so. This year Read more…

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The French Christmas Traditions: A Discovery Guide!

Things to see in Nancy: Christmas in Nancy © French Moments

The French consider Christmas one of their most important holidays, alongside Bastille Day! How many of us have cherished memories of the most wonderful time of the year? Indeed, this is a time when families and friends get together to share customs and traditions that have been followed for centuries. In this article, I’ve listed Read more…

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10 Destinations for a Christmas Trip in Alsace-Lorraine

Christmas Trip in Alsace and Lorraine © French Moments

During 12 days in November and December 2018 we criss-crossed the regions of Lorraine and Alsace at the invitation of several Tourist Boards. The journey of this Christmas Trip brought us across France’s north-east region in 10 stages. With lots of photos, I hope this little summary of our trip will give you ideas of places Read more…

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The private chef you’ll want when visiting Europe

Private chef experience, dineindulge dinner party

At French Moments we are carefully choosing selected partners to work with, who can help add value to your next French or European experience, and we think we’ve found one that you will love! I recently had the great pleasure of trying out Dineindulge, which offer a private chef experience. They got in contact with Read more…

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Dates of Christmas Markets in France 2024

Dates of Christmas Markets -Mulhouse Christmas Market © French Moments

Here are the dates of Christmas markets in France for 2024. Each year, Christmas markets open in towns and villages across France. With their unique architectural settings, French towns and villages deliver an enchanting setting enhanced with lights and decorations. Come and enjoy the aromas of mulled wine, hearty food, roasted chestnuts, and local delicacies Read more…

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Provins Medieval Christmas Market: A 2023 Guide

Provins Medieval Christmas Market © Damien Gilbon

I have two favourite sites when it comes to Christmas in the Seine-et-Marne département. These are the château of Vaux-le-Vicomte and the Provins medieval Christmas market. The latter is a significant event in the region and takes place during one Advent weekend. Situated one hour from Paris, the medieval town of Provins is worth a Read more…

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What makes the Ribeauvillé Christmas Market special

Ribeauvillé Christmas Market © Office de Tourisme Pays de Ribeauvillé-Riquewihr

A joyous medieval atmosphere awaits all who come to Ribeauvillé! Open on two weekends during Advent, the Ribeauvillé Christmas market has become over the years a not-to-be-missed event in Alsace. In the waiting of Christmas, the historic wine town welcomes its visitors in a fairy-tale setting. Here, as in many villages of the Alsatian vineyard, the fine Read more…

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An Enchanting Christmas: a blog carnival

An Enchanting Christmas

On the first Sunday of Advent our French blog Mon Grand-Est organised a blog carnival on the theme of “An Enchanting Christmas“. To celebrate the most wonderful time of the year, French bloggers came together to write about their Christmas. We invite you to click on the links to their websites to find out more about Read more…

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Christmas 2016 at Galeries Lafayette Haussmann

Christmas 2016 at Galeries Lafayette

Christmas 2016 at Galeries Lafayette is just amazing. The department store has done a great work this year with beautiful and creative decoration. The theme chosen for the window display and the Christmas tree is magical and refers to our childhood dreams. Here are a few photos I took on the 10th December to show you how it looks Read more…

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Discover “Rêve de Couleurs” in Reims

Frédéric Leroux Skertzò Reims Rêve de Couleurs light show

On the occasion of the Holiday season, the façade of Reims cathedral is magically enhanced by a  visual and audio scenography: the Rêve de Couleurs light show. Thanks to the photos taken by the talented Frédéric Leroux, discover the majestic Gothic façade of the Notre-Dame de Reims in a new light!   The Rêve de Couleurs light show Read more…

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5 Christmas Markets on the Alsace Wine Route

Most Beautiful Christmas Markets in France © French Moments

The Alsace Wine Route is a scenic itinerary that criss-crosses the Alsatian vineyards from Marlenheim to Thann. During the Advent period, many villages and towns host Christmas markets in a magical atmosphere. Lights, Christmas trees, Advent wreaths, beautiful Christmas window displays… here are 5 Christmas markets on the Alsace Wine Route to discover.   Christmas Read more…

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Discover the Basel Christmas Market in Switzerland

Basel Christmas Market

On the border of France, the Swiss city of Basel (or Basle) hosts Switzerland’s largest Christmas market (der Basler Weihnachtsmarkt). Easily accessible from Mulhouse, France, you will be amazed by the local traditions of Advent. You will discover the decorated chalets of the Basel Christmas market, the great Christmas tree on the Marktplatz, and the Christmas lights Read more…

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Christmas Nativity Scene at Sacré-Cœur Basilica, Montmartre

Nativity Scene at Sacré-Cœur Montmartre Christmas © French Moments

The crib inside the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Montmartre  (18th arrondissement) is one of the most visited in Paris. Embracing local traditions is an integral part of experiencing any destination. Visiting the Nativity Scene at Sacré-Cœur allows you to partake in French Christmas customs. You can also attend Mass and explore the festive markets that often dot the neighbourhood.   Why Read more…

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Christmas Nativity Scene at Saint-François-Xavier, Paris

Nativity Scene at Saint-François Xavier church, Paris © French Moments Scene Saint-François Xavier Paris 01 © French Moments

One of the most beautiful Nativity Scenes in Paris is found inside the church of Saint-François-Xavier in the 7th arrondissement. The large scene refers to the tradition of a Provençal Nativity Scene with hundreds of ‘Santons‘. The Nativity Scene at Saint-François-Xavier church The church of Saint-François-Xavier is situated in the 7th arrondissement not far from Les Invalides. Its official Read more…

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Nativity Scene at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris

Nativity Scene Notre-Dame Paris

One of the most famous Nativity Scenes in Paris is found inside the Notre-Dame cathedral and attracts almost 2 million visitors from the first Sunday of Advent to Candlemas. We have been lucky enough to have been in Paris for two consecutive years to visit the simple yet monumental Nativity scene at Notre-Dame cathedral. The Nativity scene at Notre-Dame cathedral Tradition has Read more…

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Christmas Nativity Scenes in Paris

Nativity Scene at Saint-François Xavier church, Paris © French Moments

Many Catholic churches in Paris set up a Nativity Scene at Christmas, whether traditional, baroque or modern. Some, like that of Notre Dame cathedral, attract thousands of visitors during the festive season. Here are a few churches where to find Nativity scenes in Paris.   Nativity scenes in Paris Nativity scenes have been a regular fixture Read more…

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What are the Christmas Tree Decorations in France?

Christmas tree decorations © French Moments

With its bright lights and dazzling ornaments, the Christmas tree is one of the symbols of Christmas. In Alsace, the tradition of putting up a decorated tree at Christmas dates back to the 16th century at least. The tradition reached the court of the King of France in the 18th century. It landed in French Read more…

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What are the Christmas Tree Types in France?

Christmas tree types

They are at least three best-selling Christmas Tree types in France: spruce, Nordmann and noble fir trees. Christmas tree types in France Most people who want to have a real tree at home go to a Christmas Tree stand located at a local supermarket, Christmas market or a specific place designated by the municipality. There, the seller often Read more…

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Facts and Figures about Christmas Trees in France

Foret de Sapin 02 © French Moments

For decades, getting a Christmas Tree has stayed a popular tradition in France. In fact, the decoration of Christmas trees are known to have been popular in Alsace as far back as the sixteenth century.  It is not surprising that residents would leave the shutters and curtains open so that all the people passing by can Read more…

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Do you suffer from Santa Claustrophobia or Paternatolophobie?

Metz Christmas Market © French Moments

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to kick off the holiday festivities than with a hearty dose of laughter? We all know the iconic figure in the red suit who brings joy and gifts to homes worldwide – Santa Claus himself! But what if we told you that even Santa isn’t Read more…

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No Christmas tree in front of Notre-Dame Cathedral

Notre-Dame Cathedral Christmas 2015 01 © French Moments

Bad news for those who wished to wonder at the traditional Christmas tree in Paris. Following the Great Fire of April 2019 there will be no Christmas tree in front of Notre-Dame cathedral. No Christmas tree in front of Notre-Dame Every year at Christmas time a tree over 20 metres tall is traditionally put up in front Read more…

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Explore La Défense Christmas Market in Paris

La Défense Esplanade by Night 02 © French Moments

The Christmas market of La Défense is arguably the largest in the Paris region. The cluster of its white chalets at the centre of the Esplanade seems at odds with the futuristic environment made up of tall skyscrapers. This is definitely France’s most surprising Christmas market…   La Défense Christmas Market The presence of a Christmas market in Read more…

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Listen to French Moments on the Join Us in France Podcast

Riquewihr Christmas Alsace © French Moments

Pierre of French Moments joined Annie from the Join Us in France podcast to talk about Christmas in Paris and the difference between Christmas in the North East of France and the rest of the country.   Join us in France podcast Last week Pierre was interviewed by Annie from Join Us in France about Read more…

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Who is the character of Saint Nicolas?

Saint Nicolas

As the frosty winds whisper through the cobbled streets of Alsace and Lorraine, a mystical figure clad in a crimson robe emerges from the shadows, carrying with him the enchantment of centuries-old traditions. Who is Saint Nicolas, this festive harbinger of joy, the bearer of gifts and the symbol of benevolence on the 6th of Read more…

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Today is the first Sunday of Advent

Christmas at the Ecomusée d'Alsace © French Moments

Today is the first Sunday of Advent, a time of waiting and preparing for Christmas. Advent lasts for four weeks, starting on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Lighting the first of the four candles on the Advent wreath is a tradition. The Advent wreath materialises the traditions of Advent. The wreath is topped by four Read more…

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