Truth be told, Halloween isn’t really celebrated in France. Furthermore, most French shops and businesses are not really into holiday decorations. Even more so, I am living in a climate where there are palm trees, and it is still 75 degrees and sunny. For someone born and raised in Wisconsin, this is quite a change, and summer does not really correlate with holidays! Most of you know that I have a very, very high holiday spirit! So, embarrassingly enough, with living in France, I honestly didn’t really remember it was almost Halloween until I saw decorations in Barcelona, and then when all of my American friends from home posted Facebook pictures.
Fortunately there were a few restaurants and bars who got into the spirit (mostly because we are a military port so there are quite a few Americans and other foreigners in this city!) I think I counted four or five bars and restaurants who put up decorations and had bands play on Halloween night. There were even a few little kids (I maybe saw fifteen) dressed up in costumes who were trick-or-treating at local businesses.
So, a group if assistants (and Frenchies) decided to celebrate regardless, so we checked out Chez Gringo, a Mexican restaurant run by an American from San Diego (coincidentally one of the waitresses who works there is also an American from Green Bay!) It was a really great night! We went to a few different bars and restaurants with Halloween-related themes and then later back to Spanish assistants’ apartment.
Truth be told, in France, the important day is the day after Halloween, aka November 1st, aka All Saints’ Day, or La Toussaint. On November 1st, it is customary for French people to go lay flowers (specifically, chrysanthemums and wreaths on their deceased ancestors’ graves in their honor. There are many church services held, and most businesses are closed on November 1st. La Toussaint is the name of the fall school holidays, because during this time people are given time off to visit and be with family. Yesterday, when I visited St. Tropez with some of my friends, we saw the famous St. Tropez cemetery, which was decorated with flowers and chrysanthemums.
Happy Halloween! Joyeuse Toussaint!
St. Tropez cemetery