Saturday, May 1, 2010

Labor Day

Today is May 1 and Labor Day in France. It is a Jour Férié, or national holiday in France. Most businesses except for boucheries (butcher shops), poissoneries (fish mongers), boulangeries (bakeries) and marchand de fruits et légumes (green grocers) are closed.

As we drove around Clapiers today, buying what we wanted for lunch, we spotted people selling lilies of the valley all around town. Tradition says that On May 1, 1561, King Charles IX of France received a lily of the valley as a lucky charm. Supposedly, he decided to offer a lily of the valley each year thereafter to the ladies of his court.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it became custom on the 1st of May, to give a sprig of lily of the valley, a symbol of springtime. The French government permits individuals and workers' organisations to set up stands and sell them free of taxation on May 1.


  1. Avery says that she loves and misses you and Gigi very much! She likes the picture of Gigi in the rental car from your previous post. Have a great time.

    Love lots

  2. How lovely for you to be in France at this time! Are the poppy fields in flower? I have read other posts about the tradition of giving lily of the valley to neighbours and family on May 1st, what a lovely thing to do!The french are so civilised I always say!Enjoy your holiday!