La chandeleur, or candlemas, is a Christian holiday celebrated on February 2 that commemorates the presentation of Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem. The French word chandeleur evokes the chandelles (candles) that were symbolically lit that day, Jesus being recognized as the “light of the world.”
Decades ago, French churches would distribute candles that had been blessed by the priest to parishioners for processions des lumières (processions of lights). Afterwards, families would return home and continue with an evening vigil around a large dish of crêpes. Their golden color and round shape recall the solar disk, and thus light, evoking the imminent return of spring after the dark and cold winter.
The festival is not without its superstitions. For example, if farmers didn’t make candlemas crêpes, it was believed that they would have a bad harvest the following year.
These days if you’re not religious, la chandeleur is simply crêpe day – a great excuse to eat a delicious crêpe! So without further ado, here are my favorite places to celebrate la chandeleur in Paris:
Did you know that “Breizh” is the Breton word for Bretagne (or Brittany), where crêpes are a traditional dish? Easily one of the most popular crêpe restaurants in Paris, serving both sweet and savory, you can’t go wrong by celebrating la chandeleur at BREIZH. Their stone-milled wheat and buckwheat flours are certified organic (buckwheat is also gluten-free). They also have a cellar of more than 60 cidres from Bretagne and beyond.
This crêperie has Greek owners, hence the name. Au P’tit Grec has been making sweet and savory crêpes since 1981 on rue Mouffetard in the Latin Quarter. But the huge savory ones are their claim to fame. My personal favorite is the savoyard, filled with raclette cheese, potatoes, ham, and salad. Due to their huge popularity (there’s often a line down the street), they have opened a second address, also in the 5th arrondissement.
Another restaurant you can expect a long line at is Chez Alain Miam Miam. I love their massive sandwiches, but they also make equally large savory crêpes, as well as sweet, using organic flour. The owner, Alain, is a real character, often shouting out “miam miam” (French for “yum yum”) at random intervals. They have a restaurant in the 3rd arrondissement as well as a stand at the nearby Marché des Enfants Rouges.
Get your chandeleur crêpe from what must be the smallest crêperie in Paris, located at the end of rue des Abbesses. This hole-in-the-wall was my local crêperie when I lived in Montmartre. I’m half Dutch, so my go-to was the sweet speculoos crêpe, but you can get savory too (though they’re much simpler than the above addresses!)
- Learn about another French tradition that took place in January, fête des rois.
- For the 9 best Paris crêperies, head to TimeOut.
- Love French sweets? Check out Molly Wilkinson’s French Pastry Made Simple.
Written by Ali Postma for HiP Paris. Looking to travel? Check out Haven In for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, France or Italy. Looking to rent long-term or buy in France or Italy? Ask us! We can connect you to our trusted providers for amazing service and rates or click here. Looking to bring France home to you or to learn online or in person (when possible)? Check out new marketplace shop and experiences.