Today is Toussaint in France.
“Toussaint” is the contraction of “All Saints.” The French pay homage to their dead on November 1. This Catholic tradition distinguishes All Saints Day (November 1) from the Commemoration of the Faithful Departed (November 2). The deceased receive tributes from their loved ones during this public holiday.
I almost made the terrible decision of buying colorful chrysanthemums for my garden the first year after moving to France. I was quickly instructed that they were only for the graves during Toussaint!
All Saints’ Day can be a significant time for families. Family members gather and visit the cemetery. They place chrysanthemums on the graves and light candles which symbolize a happy life after death. They can also take part in special masses organized for the occasion.
If you are in Paris during this time, consider joining in on the tradition. If you have a favorite French poet, scientist, or hero, visit their gravesite with some flowers. While I love Pére Lachaise cemetery, my favorite is the cemetery Montmartre.
On February 17, 2021, about a month after launching This French Life, it was the height of Covid and our lockdowns in France. With everything shuttered, and frost on the ground, I decided to create a mini-series on Francisque Poulbot. In doing so, I got to learn about and meet the kitties of the Montmartre cemetery that keep him company all day long.
I keep the Poulbot playlist on my YouTube channel, but if you don’t want to watch it all, at least check out the kitties in episode five!
If you like stories and insider Paris information like this, you’ll love my Autumn issue of the Paris Quarterly magazine. It’s half about our beloved city and half about how you can implement French culture and lifestyle into your every day. Plus, it’s full of exclusive videos, downloads, and resources!
My guides, free downloads, and the magazine are linked in my bio.
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