How the French Celebrate Christmas: A guide to the holidays


The Christmas season is a special time of year for many cultures around the world, and France is no exception. From unique decorations to traditional feasts and customs, the French have their own special way of celebrating the holidays. In this article, we’ll explore how the French celebrate Christmas and provide you with a guide to get you through the holiday season in style.

How the French Celebrate Christmas

The French celebrate Christmas with a range of traditions and activities. On Christmas Eve, in the evening, families attend ‘la Messe de Minuit’ (midnight Mass) and afterwards, they go out carolling. They sing traditional French carols such as ‘Il est né le divin enfant’ or ‘Douce Nuit’ (‘Silent Night’).

The traditional dinner on Christmas Eve is called ‘le Réveillon’ and consists of dishes such as oysters, foie gras, and turkey. The children place their slippers or shoes under the Christmas tree in the hope that “le Père Noël” (Father Christmas) brings them “des cadeaux de Noël” (Christmas presents).

The following day, ‘le jour de Noël’ (Christmas day) is the main celebration with a big feast of traditional food such as roast turkey, chestnuts, and a log called ‘bûche de Noël’, which is a cake shaped like a log.

Overall, the French celebrate Christmas with religious traditions, big feasts, and exchanging gifts. It is a time for family and friends to come together and enjoy each other’s company. They cherish these moments and spend time reflecting on the year that has passed and making plans for the future.

Traditional French Christmas Foods

Christmas is a special time of year, and in France it is celebrated with a variety of traditional foods. Some of the most popular dishes served during the holiday season include bûche de Noël, foie gras, oysters, and snails (‘escargots’)

How the french celebrate Christmas - Les Escargots
Les Escargots
How the french celebrate Christmas - la bûche de Noël - chocolate log
la bûche de Noël

The ‘bûche de Noël is a classic French dessert. It is a log-shaped cake, usually made from chocolate sponge cake, that is filled with cream and decorated to look like a real yule log. This tasty treat is enjoyed by many French families during the Christmas season.

Foie gras is another classic French Christmas food. It is made from duck or goose liver that has been specially prepared. Foie gras is often served as an appetizer.

Oysters are also popular during the holidays in France. They can be served raw on the half shell, cooked in a variety of dishes, or even as a soup.

Finally, ‘les escargots’ are another favourite during the Christmas season in France. This dish consists of snails cooked in garlic butter. ‘Les escargots’ are a luxurious delicacy that is eaten by many French families during the holidays.

No matter what your tastes may be, there is something for everyone when it comes to traditional French Christmas foods. From the classic ‘bûche de Noël’ to the luxurious escargots, there is always something special to enjoy during the holiday season.


In conclusion, the French take Christmas very seriously, celebrating with traditional decorations, activities, games and foods. Christmas can provide a great opportunity to experience the French culture and get involved in the festivities!

Overall, Christmas in France is an unforgettable experience that should not be missed.

From the markets to the decorations, the traditions to the food, the French have created a holiday that is sure to be enjoyed by all.

So, if you’re looking for a festive celebration, look no further than France!