In France, the equivalent of Mother's Day, La Fête des Mères, typically takes place on the last Sunday in May or the first Sunday of June. The history of this French holiday dates back to the 1800s and was adopted as a way to honor the mothers of large families whose husbands had fought in World War I.
Today, French families celebrate together as a family over a Sunday lunch on Mother's Day, and flowers and small gifts are given to both mothers and grandmothers.
Spread happy Mother's Day wishes in France with the phrase "bonne Fête des Mères," or if you know someone more intimately, it's appropriate to wish a less formal "bonne fête Maman." French mothers traditionally receive cards, flowers, perfume, and handmade gifts from their kids, just like in the United States. Sometimes families plan a celebratory outing, often complete with a bottle of bubbly.
Food is an important part of the celebration , so Mother's Day warrants a special meal, either made at home or eaten out at a restaurant. Consider cream of watercress soup, which is a springtime favorite in France, or enjoy a bounty of seafood if you're visiting the coast. There is no traditional Mother's Day spread, per se, but cakes and cookies are common desserts.
Here are some ideas on what to do during Mother’s Day in France.
Grab some flowers in Paris. Parisian streets are lined with blooming buds. In fact, there's a florist in almost every neighborhood. Treat yourself to a bouquet of fresh flowers.
Go out for lunch. Many French bistros offer specials during La Fête des Mères, complete with a bottle of nice French wine. Since this is usually a daytime affair, you're expected to take your time, sample several menu items, and spend the afternoon at your table. Pick a spot that's good for people-watching.
Cruise the river. Book a riverboat ride on the Seine River in Paris that takes you by sites like the Eiffel Tower, the Institut de France, and the Notre Dame cathedral. Aboard, you'll enjoy a four-course meal and a selection of fine wines.