Mardi Gras in France: How To Celebrate & What To Expect!

Would you like to know more about Mardi Gras in France?
Despite its religious roots, Mardi Gras is a holiday for all: if you love pancakes and dressing up, this one’s for you! However, not sure what to expect? You’re not alone- understanding a different country’s traditions and celebrations can be hard if you are not a native. We have put together some of the key things to know to make this February Tuesday particularly sunny. 

mardi gras in france

Origins Of Mardi Gras

Originally a catholic holiday, Mardi Gras marks the eve of Lent, a period of abstinence from indulgent food and other luxuries. Also known as Ash Tuesday in English, it still holds religious significance for many. Whilst historically meat would be the food primarily given up, nowadays people can choose from a wide range of things, whether that be crisps, sweets or vegetables if you are trying to cheat the system! 

Why Dress Up For Mardi Gras?

Historically, people dressed up for Mardi Gras to join in the revelry and excitement of the day, giving themselves the chance to transcend the hierarchical structure of society and become someone else. Nowadays, kids often dress up to go to school and show off their outfits, although dressing up isn’t just for children. Whilst carnivals happen across France, the most famous carnival in France takes place in Dunkirk; the streets are filled with people dressed up in wild and wonderful creations, ranging from sailors to dragons, and the sound of drums and voices! Check out your local events which are sure to get you in a celebratory mood. 


What To Cook

With Mardi Gras literally translating as ‘Fat Tuesday’, prepare yourself for some serious indulgence! This can come in many forms but the three most popular options in France are:


This classic choice was traditionally made to use up all the rich butter and eggs before Lent. Delicious all year round, this is a great excuse to treat yourself!


Perfect for our Americans in France, the french word for waffles is gaufres. A great opportunity to brush up on your language skills and have a snack in the process.

What to cook for Mardi Gras in France


These sugary wonders are a speciality in many parts of southern France. Available in many shapes and flavours; they are called beugnots in the Vosges, bugnes in Lyon, rissoles in Savoie… the list goes on! They can even be infused with orange blossom- how delicious! 

To Discover More French Traditions, Read Here!


To discover more French traditions, read here!
Read about la Saint-Valentin, la Chandeleur, Christmas in Paris, etc.
Babylangues loves to share new stories about old French traditions!

Babylangues has new job opportunities in France all year round

To find out more about our language instructor positions in Paris and18 other cities in France, click just below.