Saturday, December 3, 2022

Advent Day Three - festive fun with French words

French Village Diaries advent day three festive fun with French words sapin de noel
My Christmas tree decorations

Advent Day Three - festive fun with French words


It is the first Saturday of December and festive Christmas markets are popping up all over France. This afternoon, our local big town of Niort will turn on its Christmas lights with a firework display this evening, and as well as the chalet market stalls there will be a fun fair, an ice rink and a projected light display on the Donjon walls every evening throughout December. Having visited the impressive nine-hundred-year-old Donjon this summer, as well as done a few cycling trips in and around Niort this year, it sounds lovely, but we won’t be there. In the last two weeks I’ve been to Niort four times, and as it’s almost a one-hundred-kilometre round trip, that is more than enough for me. The fact that Covid-19 is going crackers once more in our region, means for us, large gatherings, even if they are outdoors, are best avoided. 


I have seen a few festive things out on my travels, however, that made me smile and I hope you will enjoy them too. 


Sapin ou Arbre de Noel ?

In French, a Christmas tree is a Sapin de Noel, literally a fir tree (sapin - pronounced sa-pan) of Christmas. A winter advertising poster with the phrase “Un Hiver Sapin-thique”, caught my eye as we walked past a coffee shop yesterday. 


With hiver meaning winter, this is a fun, festive play on words – sapin-thique or sympathique, (pronounced sam-pa-teek) meaning you will have a nice, friendly or pleasing winter when you order their festive specials on the menu. 


Then there was the boulangerie poster saying, “Sa Pain de Noel”, translated as his Christmas bread, but sounding almost the same as sapin de Noel.


French Village Diaries advent day three festive fun with French words arbre de noel
Helping Père Noel with the shopping

The literal translation of Christmas tree is arbre de Noel, but this actually means an organised event or Christmas party where Père Noel meets the children, listens to what they want for Christmas and hands out wrapped gifts. We have already begun planning our village arbre de Noel and Père Noel’s helpers have had their secret rendez-vous with him. You have no idea how much fun it is having a whole toy shop at our disposal as we select the thirty-six gifts and leave them in the careful hands of his elves who will wrap them and ensure they are in the village in time for our arbre de Noel.


We don’t go overboard with decorations, but I have hung my advent tree in the kitchen and filled each of the pockets with a tasty treat to share with Adrian. I have also put out some of my Christmas book trees, the perfect decorations for a book worm. 


  1. I am loving your advent posts, Jacqui, And learning so much!

    1. Thank you Jeanie. The blog has had periods of neglect this year, so I'm using Advent to kick start my motivation.


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