French figures: The furniture where you hide a crêpe

In most countries, wardrobes are for hanging up clothes but in France this piece of bedroom furniture has a rather unexpected secondary use.

French figures: The furniture where you hide a crêpe
Photo: AFP

This is linked to La Chandeleur – the day in February when the French eat lots of crêpes.

February 2nd was originally a religious holiday, marking the date when Jesus was presented at the temple in Jerusalem. How exactly it morphed into its current form as the French 'pancake day' no-one is very clear on, but one thing is certain – as well as just eating lots of delicious pancakes La Chandeleur features a lot of superstitions.

These traditions are mostly connected to long-life and prosperity for the year ahead, and are likely linked to pagan festivals that were celebrated at this time of year.

There are a lot of these superstitions and they vary between regions – here is a list of some of the most common – but one that is quite common concerns the first crêpe out of the pan on February 2nd.

READ ALSO La Chandeleur: The day the French get superstitious and go crazy over crêpes


Tradition says that this first crêpe should be placed in a drawer or on top of a wardrobe, and this will bring prosperity to the household for the coming year.

Another prosperity tip – and let's face it we might need all the help we can get in 2021 – is to toss the pancake in your right hand while holding a piece of gold in your left.

And if you're not the superstitious type, it's still a good excuse to eat lots of yummy crêpesaccompanied with cider of course.

This article is part of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – every day until Christmas we will be presenting you with a person or object that has a particular significance to life in France. 


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French figures: The true spirit of France

This is the incredible story about the teenage girl who became a symbol of France for the ages.

French figures: The true spirit of France
Illustration photo: AFP

The story of Joan of Arc – Jeanne d'Arc in French – begun like many fairytales do: an unlikely hero is chosen to accomplish a dangerous task.

Born around 1412, Joan of Arc was an illiterate peasant girl convinced that divine powers had decided she would fight the English army in France. 

She then did exactly that. 

This was during the so-called Hundred Years’ War, when English troops battled for territory across the country that is now France.

Joan of Arc liberated Orléans city from English forces in a legendary and decisive battle that paved the way for the later French victory in 1453.

Joan of Arc paid for her heroism with her life. She was captured and sold her to the English army, who burned her at the stake in Rouen, northeast France, around 1431. She was approximately 19 years old at the time.

But her short life left a lasting mark on France and in 1920 she was made a Saint. Almost 600 years after her death she is still commemorated and celebrated in France and her spirit is invoked during difficult times for the country.

Known today as “the Maid of Orléans”, Joan of Arc's silhouette is all over the city, ingrained on medallions on the street, cast into sculptures and painted on the boxes of Cotignac, an Orléans culinary speciality.

READ ALSO: Ten reasons why you should visit the French city Orléans

This article is the final instalment of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – featuring every day a person or thing that has a special place in French culture. To see the whole calendar, click here.