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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Toussaint -- All Saints Day in France

Today is All Saints Day, known in France as Toussaint.  

Toussaint is a holiday in France and businesses are closed--except for flower shops. The flower shops remain open because people bring flowers to the graves of their loved ones in the cemeteries. (They don't do it on All Souls Day, November 2, a Catholic holiday.) According to the website, French Moments

"Members of a family usually gather to go to the cemetery together. They put chrysanthemum flowers on the grave and light candles to symbolise happiness in the afterlife. They can also attend special church services."

It is also interesting to note that for the past couple weeks, school kids have been off. It is part of the Toussaint period, which historically came at the same time as the potato harvest when most people were farmers. Kids worked the fields and didn't go to school, so "potato holidays" were declared between October 22 and November 3. They were later known as "Toussaint holidays." 

November 1 is also the Centre's first day off since last March. We said good-bye to our last group of the season on Tuesday. Now it's time for program planning, vacations, and a little down time. 

We spent our morning by sleeping in and going to 10 o'clock Mass. The church was so packed that the pastor said he might have a second Mass in the morning next year.

 After Mass, I had a taste for cinnamon roll, so we went to the bakery to see what we could find. As much as the French have adopted North African food, they don't care that much for cinnamon. Instead, we bought Jesuites (left), a cream-filled layered dessert and a chaussure pomme (literally "apple shoe" but what Americans call an apple turnover). Both were delicious, of course, and we ate them for dessert. However, I'll need to learn how to make cinnamon rolls! Any good recipes out there?

We had a nice lunch of "restant" (leftovers) that included pasta as well as rosette (salami) and a salad of carrots, olives, grapes. 

Anita, Eluiza and I sat down to a quiet, leisurely meal.


Check out Eluiza's new hairstyle!

 I don't often get into the picture but here I am--with my new haircut--and color (shhh).

At 2 p.m. we went to the fair in town. This fair is not unlike ours in the USA, but I think it has been here for the "Toussaint holidays." People have been coming for a couple weeks now and today was a mild and beautiful for fair-going.

We didn't go on any rides but instead wandered around to see all the people and all the rides. 

Most of the rides' names were familiar to our fairs--and their names were in English. Good thing the French are learning our language!

Before we left the fair we stopped for croustillons. A croustillon is like a New Orleans beignet, only it is a small, round ball with a lot more grease and coated with granular sugar instead of powdered sugar. 

Long lines form in front of the croustillon counters, but the servers work fast, the wait is not long, and the croustillons are hot. 

Upon returning home, we watched a couple quiz shows, including my favorite, "N'Oubliez Pas Le Paroles" (more on this later), ate leftover mushroom/tortellini soup, and slept through the news. It was an early retirement to bed also.

All Saints Day was a good day for all of us!


The Ferris Wheel was invented by George Washington Gale Ferris, a 33-year-old engineer from Pittsburgh. It was the Chicago's answer to the Eiffel Tower, which was constructed for the 1889 World's Fair in Paris. The Columbian Exposition of 1893 was held in Chicago, and it ostensibly commemorated the 400th anniversary of Columbus' landing in the Americas. However, psychologically, the fair was Chicago's comeback and rebuilding after the 1871 fire that burned down 3.3 square miles of the city, killed 300 people, and left more than 100,000 residents homeless. The Exposition, under eminent architect Daniel Burnham's charge. "Make no little plans," said Burnham to his all-star team of designers--and voil√†, among the many world-dazzling showpieces that mushroomed in Chicago was the Ferris wheel.   


  1. Wonderful! You all need some down time and it looks like you made the most of the holy day! Nice to see some familiar sites.

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  3. Your blogs are so interesting, and pictures lovely. I feel like I'm there with you. Thanks, Mary

  4. Thanks for this wonderful walk through your All Saints Day! I enjoyed it!
    Some of their crispy, greasy pastries remind me of some of the Italian pastries my mother and her friends use to make.Delicious and fattening!
    Good Blog!