Many Christians honor the lives of their deceased relatives and all the saints on All Saints' Day (La Toussaint). They visit special church services and place flowers on family graves. In France, it is also a popular period for a short autumn (fall) vacation.
Is All Saints' Day a Public Holiday?
All Saints' Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
What Do People Do?
Many Christians visit special church services on All Saints' Day. They may also visit cemeteries and place flowers on the graves of deceased family members and close friends. It is customary to leave chrysanthemums or wreaths of artificial flowers on or close to the graves.
All Saints' Day is also an opportunity for many people to spend time with family members and close friends. This holiday falls during the autumn (fall) school holidays, it is a popular time for families to take a short vacation or to visit relatives living in other areas.
Public life in France is generally very quiet on All Saints’ Day. Post offices, banks, stores and other businesses are closed. Outside of tourist areas, restaurants and cafes may also be closed for one or more days. However, some stores in Paris, as well as at airports and railway stations and along major highways, are open.
Public transport service schedules vary depending on where one lives and intends to travel. Churches may be closed for visitors who do not wish to take part in the services and guided tours may not be available.
Background and symbols
France is in the northern hemisphere so All Saints' Day falls in the autumn (fall). Chrysanthemums are an important symbol of All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day, grief and funerals. Hence, they are often laid on graves, but rarely given as gifts.