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Nov 1

List of all the Saints Days in France

Check your Birthday and see what your name may have been if you were French !

In the past a French child would be given the name of the saint on whose day their own birth fell. More recently it has become more common for the saint's name to be given as a second or middle name. This means that children often have two special days to celebrate.

So what would your name have been if you were French? and your parents had named you after the saint day you were born on? check out your "Saint Day" name below.

Below is the most common used Saints Day listing, certain regions of France have variations.

January 1 Jour de l'An [Ian] January 2 Saint Basile January 3 Sainte Geneviève January 4 Saint Odilon January 5 Saint Edouard January 6 Saint Melaine January 7 Saint Raymond January 8 Saint Lucien January 9 Sainte Alix January 10 Saint Guillaume January 11 Saint Paulin January 12 Sainte Tatiana January 13 Sainte Yvette January 14 Sainte Nina January 15 Saint Rémi January 16 Saint Marcel January 17 Sainte Roseline January 18 Sainte Prisca January 19 Saint Marius January 20 Saint Sébastien January 21 Sainte Agnès January 22 Saint Vincent January 23 Saint Barnard January 24 Saint François January 25 Saint Paul January 26 Sainte Paule January 27 Sainte Angèle January 28 Saint Thomas January 29 Saint Gildas January 30 Sainte Martine January 31 Sainte Marcelle February 1 Sainte Ella February 2 Saint Théophane February 3 Saint Blaise February 4 Sainte Véronique February 5 Sainte Agathe February 6 Saint Gaston February 7 Sainte Eugénie February 8 Sainte Jacqueline February 9 Sainte Apolline February 10 Saint Arnaud February 11 Saint Séverin February 12 Saint Félix February 13 Sainte Béatrice February 14 Saint Valentin February 15 Saint Claude February 16 Sainte Julienne February 17 Saint Alexis February 18 Sainte Bernadette February 19 Saint Gabin February 20 Sainte Aimée February 21 Saint Damien February 22 Sainte Isabelle February 23 Saint Lazare February 24 Saint Modeste February 25 Saint Roméo February 26 Saint Nestor February 27 Sainte Honorine February 28 Saint Romain February 29 Saint Auguste March 1 Saint Aubin March 2 Saint Charles March 3 Saint Gwenolé March 4 Saint Casimir March 5 Saint Olive March 6 Sainte Colette March 7 Sainte Félicité March 8 Saint Jean March 9 Sainte Françoise March 10 Saint Vivien March 11 Sainte Rosine March 12 Sainte Justine March 13 Saint Rodrigue March 14 Sainte Mathilde March 15 Sainte Louise March 16 Sainte Bénédicte March 17 Saint Patrick March 18 Saint Cyrille March 19 Saint Joseph March 20 Saint Herbert March 21 Sainte Clémence March 22 Sainte Léa March 23 Saint Victorien March 24 Sainte Catherine March 25 Saint Humbert March 26 Sainte Larissa March 27 Saint Habib March 28 Saint Gontran March 29 Sainte Gwladys March 30 Saint Amédée March 31 Saint Benjamin April 1 Saint Hugues April 2 Sainte Sandrine April 3 Saint Richard April 4 Saint Isidore April 5 Sainte Irène April 6 Saint Marcellin April 7 Saint Jean-Baptiste April 8 Sainte Julie April 9 Saint Gautier April 10 Saint Fulbert April 11 Saint Stanislas April 12 Saint Jules 1er April 13 Sainte Ida April 14 Saint Maxime April 15 Saint Paterne April 16 Saint Benoit April 17 Saint Etienne April 18 Saint Parfait April 19 Sainte Emma April 20 Sainte Odette April 21 Saint Anselme April 22 Saint Alexandre April 23 Saint Georges April 24 Saint Fidèle April 25 Saint Marc April 26 Sainte Alida April 27 Sainte Zita April 28 Sainte Valérie April 29 Sainte Catherine April 30 Saint Robert May 1 Saint Joseph May 2 Saint Boris May 3 Saint Jacques May 4 Saint Sylvain May 5 Sainte Judith May 6 Sainte Prudence May 7 Sainte Gisèle May 8 Saint Désiré May 9 Sainte Pacôme May 10 Sainte Solange May 11 Sainte Estelle May 12 Saint Achille May 13 Sainte Rolande May 14 Saint Matthias May 15 Sainte Denise May 16 Saint Honoré May 17 Saint Pascal May 18 Saint Eric May 19 Saint Yves May 20 Saint Bernardin May 21 Saint Constantin May 22 Saint Emile May 23 Saint Didier May 24 Saint Donatien May 25 Sainte Sophie May 26 Saint Bérenger May 27 Saint Augustin May 28 Saint Germain May 29 Saint Aymard May 30 Saint Ferdinand May 31 Sainte Perrine June 1 Saint Justin June 2 Sainte Blandine June 3 Saint Charles June 4 Sainte Clotilde June 5 Saint Igor June 6 Saint Norbert June 7 Saint Gilbert June 8 Saint Médard June 9 Sainte Diane June 10 Saint Landry June 11 Saint Barnabé June 12 Saint Guy June 13 Saint Antoine June 14 Saint Elisée June 15 Sainte Germaine June 16 Saint Jean-François June 17 Saint Hervé June 18 Saint Léonce June 19 Saint Romuald June 20 Saint Silvère June 21 Saint Rodolphe June 22 Saint Alban June 23 Sainte Audrey June 24 Saint Jean-Baptiste June 25 Saint Prosper June 26 Saint Anthelme June 27 Saint Fernand June 28 Saint Irénée June 29 Saint Pierre June 30 Saint Martial July 1 Saint Thierry July 2 Saint Martinien July 3 Saint Thomas July 4 Saint Florent July 5 Saint Antoine-Marie July 6 Sainte Marietta July 7 Saint Raoul July 8 Saint Thibaud July 9 Sainte Amandine July 10 Saint Ulric July 11 Saint Benoart July 12 Saint Olivier July 13 Saint Henri July 14 Saint Camille July 15 Saint Donald July 16 Sainte Elvire July 17 Sainte Charlotte July 18 Saint Frédéric July 19 Saint Arsène July 20 Sainte Marina July 21 Saint Victor July 22 Ste Marie-Madeleine July 23 Sainte Brigitte July 24 Sainte Christine July 25 Saint Jacques July 26 Sainte Anne July 27 Sainte Nathalie July 28 Saint Samson July 29 Sainte Marthe July 30 Sainte Juliette July 31 Saint Ignace August 1 St Alphonse-Marie August 2 St Pierre-Julien August 3 Sainte Lydie August 4 Saint Jean-Marie August 5 Saint Abel August 6 Saint Octavien August 7 Saint Gaétan August 8 Saint Dominique August 9 Saint Amour August 10 Saint Laurent August 11 Sainte Claire August 12 Sainte Clarisse August 13 Saint Hippolyte August 14 Saint Evrard August 15 Sainte Marie August 16 Saint Armel August 17 Saint Hyacinthe August 18 Sainte Hélène August 19 Saint Jean-Eudes August 20 Saint Bernard August 21 Saint Christophe August 22 Saint Fabrice August 23 Sainte Rose August 24 Saint Barthélémy August 25 Saint Louis August 26 Sainte Natacha August 27 Sainte Monique August 28 Saint Augustin August 29 Sainte Sabine August 30 Saint Fiacre August 31 Saint Aristide September 1 Saint Gilles September 2 Sainte Ingrid September 3 Saint Grégoire September 4 Sainte Rosalie September 5 Sainte Raïssa September 6 Saint Bertrand September 7 Sainte Reine September 8 Saint Adrien September 9 Saint Alain September 10 Sainte Inès September 11 Saint Adelphe September 12 Saint Apollinaire September 13 Saint Aimé September 14 la Croix Glorieuse September 15 Saint Roland September 16 Sainte Edith September 17 Saint Renaud September 18 Sainte Nadège September 19 Sainte Emilie September 20 Saint Davy September 21 Saint Matthieu September 22 Saint Maurice September 23 Saint Constant September 24 Sainte Thècle September 25 Saint Hermann September 26 Sts Côme et Damien September 27 Saint Vincent September 28 Saint Venceslas September 29 Saint Michel September 30 Saint Jérôme October 1 Sainte Thérèse October 2 Saint Léger October 3 Saint Gérard October 4 Saint François October 5 Sainte Fleur October 6 Saint Bruno October 7 Saint Serge October 8 Sainte Pélagie October 9 Saint Denis October 10 Saint Ghislain October 11 Saint Firmin October 12 Saint Wilfrid October 13 Saint Géraud October 14 Saint Juste October 15 Sainte Thérèse October 16 Sainte Edwige October 17 Saint Baudouin October 18 Saint Luc October 19 Saint René October 20 Sainte Adeline October 21 Sainte Céline October 22 Sainte Elodie October 23 Saint Jean October 24 Saint Florentin October 25 Sainte Doria October 26 Saint Dimitri October 27 Sainte Emeline October 28 Saint Simon October 29 Saint Narcisse October 30 Sainte Bienvenue October 31 Saint Quentin November 1 La Toussaint November 2 Les Défunts November 3 Saint Hubert November 4 Saint Charles November 5 Sainte Sylvie November 6 Sainte Bertille November 7 Sainte Carine November 8 Saint Geoffroy November 9 Saint Théodore November 10 Saint Léon November 11 Saint Martin November 12 Saint Christian November 13 Saint Brice November 14 Saint Sidoine November 15 Saint Albert November 16 Sainte Marguerite November 17 Sainte Elisabeth November 18 Sainte Aude November 19 Saint Tanguy November 20 Saint Edmond November 21 Saint Albert November 22 Sainte Cécile November 23 Saint Clément November 24 Sainte Flora November 25 Sainte Catherine November 26 Sainte Delphine November 27 Saint Séverin November 28 Saint Jacques November 29 Saint Saturnin November 30 Saint André December 1 Sainte Florence December 2 Sainte Viviane December 3 St François-Xavier December 4 Sainte Barbara December 5 Saint Gérald December 6 Saint Nicolas December 7 Saint Ambroise December 8 Sainte Elfie December 9 Saint Pierre December 10 Saint Romaric December 11 Saint Daniel December 12 Ste Jeanne-Françoise December 13 Sainte Lucie December 14 Sainte Odile December 15 Sainte Ninon December 16 Sainte Alice December 17 Saint Gaël December 18 Saint Gatien December 19 Saint Urbain December 20 Saint Théophile December 21 Saint Pierre December 22 Ste Françoise-Xavière December 23 Saint Armand December 24 Sainte Adèle December 25 Jour de Noël December 26 Saint Etienne December 27 Saint Jean December 28 Saints Innocents December 29 Saint David December 30 Saint Roger December 31 Saint Sylvestre

Blog submitted by: David at Cle France.

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Oct 31

Celebrating Halloween in France

Ghosts’n’Goblins: The Origins of Halloween

Soon, children in many countries will be donning their déguisements (costumes) and at crépuscule (dusk) will be headed out the door to make the rounds of their neighbourhood to celebrate Halloween.

Mais d’où vient cette tradition (But where does this tradition come from)? What exactly is Halloween? And does France even celebrate it?

Halloween in France

 Image by Pedro Ferreira on Flickr

Halloween, also called Hallows’ Eve, has roots in l’histoire ancienne (ancient history). It can trace its lineage back to the Celtic calendar festival of Samhain (literally “end of summer” in Celtic) in Ireland and Britain.

November 1 was set apart as the day to commemorate la fin de l’été (the end of summer) and to celebrate les morts (the dead). The emphasis on the supernatural during Samhain gave the festival an aura of peur (fear) during which people made sacrifices to the Celtic gods who played tricks on them. Fires were lit to ward off spirits and disguises were often worn pour se cacher des fantômes (to hide from ghosts).

The Roman festivals of Feralia merged with the rituals of Samhain when the Romans conquered the Celts in the 1st century A.D., thus adding to the mystique and folklore of Halloween.

Six hundred years later, La Toussaint (literally “All Saints’” Day) was promulgated by Pope Boniface IV and was to be celebrated on May 13. Families would gather to pay respects to loved ones they had lost and to honor the saints. Durant le Moyen-Âge (During the Middle Ages) the Catholic Church was the most powerful institution and in the 8th century, Pope Gregory III changed the date of La Toussaint to November 1, possibly to overshadow the pagan holidays. October 31st of every year became a “hallowed evening” and thus the term “Halloween” came into being. Today, November 1st continues to remain un jour férié (public holiday) in France where schools, restaurants, post offices, banks and other businesses are all closed. A similar tradition to La Toussaint takes place au Mexique (in Mexico) between October 31st and November 2nd called Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) when those belonging to the Catholic faith visit les tombeaux (the graves) of their relatives to pay their respects.

Britain and Ireland continued celebrating Halloween as a secular holiday beyond the Middle Ages. British and Irish immigrants brought Halloween to the United States beginning in the mid-19th century and since then Halloween, much like Noël et Pâques (Christmas and Easter), has slowly morphed into a commercial “holiday” filled with costumes, trick-or-treating and copious amounts of bonbons (candy).

In France, Halloween has garnered little attention and is mostly a pretext for people to dress up and attend costume parties. Absent are the typical American costumes (superheroes) in favor of more macabre disguises (ghosts, zombies, etc.) typically associated with Halloween. Halloween remains an obscure holiday in France but you might find Jack-o’-lanterns and other decorations behind the windows of businesses and homes.

In honour of the holiday, a short 'scary' vocabulary list:

le déguisement, le costume – costume

se déguiser – to disguise oneself, dress up in a costume

une citrouille – pumpkin

la bougie – candle

les bonbons – candy

la peur – fear

avoir peur – to be scared

faire peur à quelqu’un – to scare someone

le sang – blood

les os – bones

le diable – the devil

le fantôme – ghost

l’épouvantail (m) – scarecrow

le sorcier/la sorcière – the sorcerer/the witch

l’araignée (f) – spider

la chauve-souris – bat

Will Halloween ever become a popular tradition in France?

It is doubtful. But the next time someone asks you about Halloween, you can impress them with your knowledge of its origins. If anything, it makes for good conversation.

Happy Halloween!

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Blog submitted by: David at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

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Oct 31

La Toussaint (All Saints Day)

Halloween traditionally wasn’t celebrated in France and has only been exported to France is recent years from American traditions. You don't normally see children going around doing trick-or-treat in the streets of Paris or provincial France that much.

Rather, some friends would hold small Halloween parties and bars could have Halloween-themed nights. (Many people in France would indeed not enjoy being disturbed at night by children yelling, “frisandes ou bêtises”, the French equivalent of trick-or-treat, because it hasn’t yet entered French culture).

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However, a national holiday that is very much observed by the French is related to Halloween and celebrated the following day (November 1). La Toussaint, meaning All Saints’ Day, is a Catholic holiday and schools and banks are typically closed in commemoration of the holiday. La Toussaint is a day that commemorates people who have passed.

Traditionally, November 1 (All Saints’ Day) would honour public figures who had died while November 2 (All Souls’ Day) would honour close friends and relatives who had passed. However, because La Toussaint is a day off, families traditionally combine these days of remembrance into one.

Typically, La Toussaint is commemorated by bringing flowers, most commonly chrysanthemums, to the graves of lost loved ones. Religiously observant people might attend a special church service or light a candle in honour of a loved one who is no longer with them. Walking around the streets of France, you can usually see chrysanthemums being sold in stores, florist shops, and out as decoration.

The tradition of laying chrysanthemums on graves for All Saints’ Day began following World War I, when the president requested on the first anniversary of the end of the war that soldiers who had died fighting for the country be commemorated by laying flowers on their graves. Chrysanthemums were the only flowers available at that time of year and so became part of the tradition.

If you’d prefer to celebrate Halloween rather than just La Toussaint, however, you can find some good celebrations in large cities, like Paris, in American bars or diners. Halloween parties can be advertised in English-language magazines such as Fusac.

However, the city that has most adopted Halloween traditions is not Paris, but Limoges. Limoges has hosted Halloween parades every year since 1996 and it is supposedly a sight to see!

Happy Halloween for the kids and Happy All Saints Day for the family!

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Blog submitted by: David at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

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Oct 31

Holloween and All Saints Day

Have a Hair-Raising (ébouriffant) Halloween!

It may be fair to say that in France 'Holloween' seems to be 'in the shops' and celebrated more so than in the UK but no where near as commercial as it is in the USA. Back in the late 90s I had almost forgotten about Holloween, not having children of a certain age but moving to France it struck me that all the local boulangieries and supermarkets would make grand displays of all their Holloween related goodies.

Even the smallest village shop will make an effort and if you are lucky you will even see a candle or torch lead procession in villages or towns where all the children [and parents] walk around the commune singing and celebrating. The following day is whay you have seen magnificaent Chrysanthemums for sale everywhere, All Saints Day on the 1st of November is when families remember loved ones that have passed away and visit to leave the fantastic plants and pay their respects.

If you are going to France on a viewing trip with Cle France over this period watch out for these things and let us know what you thought.

“Hair-raising” is a great adjective in English.

It’s descriptive and makes you understand exactly what it conveys… a fright that makes your hair stand up on end.

Some dictionaries offer “terrifiant(e)” as the French translation of “hair-raising”.

Another translation, and perhaps one that is more accurate, is “ébouriffant(e)”.

Neither of these words, however, are as descriptive as the original English word (this is one of the reasons why translations are so difficult!).

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Take time and stop to see a great display even in a local village Boulangerie.

But there is an expression in French that more accurately conveys this English adjective: “faire dresser les cheveux sur la tête” means something that makes your hair stand up on end. It can also mean “to bristle,” which provides similar imagery, but conveys less a sense of fright than a sense of disgust or anger.

For example, you could say: “J’ai ecouté un chanteur hier soir. C’était une experience à vous faire dresser les cheveux sur la tête!” (I heard a singer last night. It was a hair-raising experience!). This could mean that the singer was so bad that it made this listener’s hair stand up on end.

Another word that could accurately translate “hair-raising” is the more familiar “horripiler”. This verb literally means to “bristle hairs” and usually conveys the sense that someone is incredibly annoyed by someone else’s actions. For example, you could say: “Tu m’horripiles quand tu fais ce bruit-là!” (You really annoy me/make me bristle when you make those noises!). The adjective form is “horripilant.”

Finally, another expression you could use is “hérisser le poil” This means exactly the same thing as “horripiler” except it is a more standard expression. “Hérisser” means to bristle or to ruffle. “Le poil” means “a hair”.

Normally, if you want to talk about the hair on your head, for example, you would say either “les cheveux” or “les poils” — notice how both are plural (unless you are referring to one single hair, the French refer to hair in general in the plural). Thus, “hérisser le poil” literally means “to bristle a hair.”

Once again, this is not normally used to mean that something scares you, but rather that something is really annoying or disgusting. For example, you could say: “Ça me hérisse le poil” which means “it really gets on my nerves.”

Ok, so we’ve gotten off the original meaning of “hair-raising” so just go ahead and have a hair-raising Halloween!

Passez un Halloween ébouriffant!

Happy Halloween!

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Blog submitted by: Alex at The French Property Network - Cle France.

This blog was originally posted on The French Language Blog pages.

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Oct 20

Saints Days in France

Everyone knows a few but each day has a Saint and some have more than one!

After our article on St Valentines Day we thought we would take a deeper look at Saints Days in France. St Valentines Day may be the best example of where commercialism takes over what were once serious religious traditions and turns them into money-spinning opportunities. The French practice of celebrating one's "saint's day" is no exception although it is becoming less common, as people have more choice in naming their children.

The Catholic church once dictated the country's customs and this is where the tradition originated, even so far as providing a catalogue of acceptable Christian names. Of course, this practice was not restricted to France, but was common in all catholic countries. However, France is one country where the celebration of one's saint's day still persists albeit it is in decline.

In the past a French child would be given the name of the saint on whose day their own birth fell. Of course, people want not only originality but choice and so it became more common for the saint's name to be given as a second or middle name. This meant that a child would have two special days to celebrate where previously it would have been only one. 

Over the years, the tradition has evolved in France, as in most other European Catholic countries, for people to have a "name day" as well as a birthday. So for example, if you were born on July 29th which is St. Marthe's Day, but your parents hated the name Marthe or Martha and preferred to call you Terese, you would still obviously celebrate your birthday on July 29th, but your "name day" would be on August 9th, which is St. Terese's Day.

Almost every day in the calendar has a saint's name assigned to it, some have more than one (January 6 having five), so parents with a child born on January 6th could not really complain about a lack of choice compared to other days! These "saint's days" are still celebrated but are usually more low key than actual birthdays.

It's not only individuals who celebrate a saint's day. Towns and villages usually have a dedicated saint and special events are held in commemoration each year, while certain professions are linked to a particular saint and those working in that industry may mark that day in some way. Quite often the Bar in a small village will be named after the saint adopted it "Bar Saint Medard" (June 8th is Saint Medard Day) and either on that day or the following weekend the village will hold an annual Fete with celebrations running 48 hrs over the weekend.

In essence nowadays, when people are generally less religious than before, the "name day" tradition is just a nice excuse to have another day for gifts and fun, and has no more relevance than that. In France, they are not usually big gifts, more flowers or chocolates as a token. So next time you are due to go on a property viewing trip to France, check with the Catholic Calendar and see whether your name coincides with a Saints' name day during your trip. It will be another chance to celebrate especially if you find your dream home as well!

Blog submitted by: David at Cle France.

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