<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
5 ISSUES FOR £5 Subscribe to France Magazines today click here

April Fool’s Day in France

PUBLISHED: 12:54 27 March 2017 | UPDATED: 12:54 27 March 2017

April Fool's Day in France is known as le poisson d'avril © Mikael Lever / Fotolia

April Fool's Day in France is known as le poisson d'avril © Mikael Lever / Fotolia

Archant

Watch out for practical jokes on April Fool’s Day in France but also keep an eye out for paper fish stuck to your back in the French tradition of ‘le poisson d’avril’

Fish, not Fool

In France, April Fool’s Day is simply known as the ‘1er avril’ but it is a day when people, mostly children, try to hook paper fish on the back of unwary victims which will then walk around with a paper fish on their backs without their knowledge. Like in the UK, it is a day for pranks and jokes. When a prank is discovered, the prankster shouts out ‘poisson d’avril!’

___________________________________________________________________________

Related articles

French Easter traditions

Bizarre French superstitions you should know about

___________________________________________________________________________

Why fish?

The origins of le poisson d’avril are unclear, but many believe it is related to the end of Lent, a period where Catholics do not eat any meat. It was traditional for people to give each other food to celebrate the end of Lent and the beginning of Easter and fish was a popular gift. When the tradition of jokes became linked to that day, it was common for people to give each other fake fish as a joke. Today, it is common to see chocolates and pastries in the shape of fish.

___________________________________________________________________________

Related articles

10 things you need to nkow about French etiquette

18 French words to use at Easter

___________________________________________________________________________

So why do we prank each other on April 1st?

Again, the origins of joking on the first day of April are unsure but the most common explanation in France puts the genesis of joking on that day in the mid-16th century. In 1564, king Charles IX allegedly decided that the new year would start on April 1st and not January 1st. From then on, people began giving each other presents in April and the tradition persisted – although the New Year quickly reverted back to January 1st - slowly becoming a bit of a joke. The gifts followed suite and became silly and funny presents.

___________________________________________________________________________

Related articles

27 things you need to know about French food etiquette

April events in France

___________________________________________________________________________

Famous French poissons d’avril

Le poisson d’avril has become something of a national sport in the French media who enjoy writing shocking headlines and only revealing the ‘poisson’ at the end of the day.

In 1972, the radio station France Inter announced that following the United-Kingdom’s entrance in the EU, cars would have to drive on the left hand side in France.

In 1986, the Parisien newspaper wrote in its columns that the Eiffel Tower was going to be relocated to Marne-la-Vallée, because the Seine river was causing it to move. Many people actually believed this.

In 2006, TV presenter Jean-Pierre Coffe introduces a new wine on his show ‘Ca se bouffe pas, ca se mange’: blue wine.

In 2011, Ouest France’s website announced that the first step of the Tour de France, set to begin on the Noirmoutier peninsula, would have to be completed by pedalo.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Complete France visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Complete France staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Complete France account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Article by France Magazine France Magazine

More from Travel

Friday, January 12, 2018

France is full of beautiful places to explore and discover during your stay. These are a few of our favourite spots for you to visit during your next trip

Read more
Short breaks
Thursday, January 11, 2018

From picturesque coastal villages to charming countryside villages with traditional half-timbered houses, Normandy has plenty of pretty villages to explore. These are 15 of our favourites

Read more
Normandy
Thursday, January 11, 2018

From winter walks with a cup of chocolat chaud to historic buildings all lit up in fairy lights, winter in France is a magical time of year. Just take a look at these beautiful photos to see for yourself

Read more
Winter trips
Friday, December 22, 2017

Do you want delicious French food, stunning landscapes, exciting local festivals, fun activities and a bit of art, history and culture from your French holiday? Then a CroisiEurope river or canal cruise could be the perfect holiday for you

Read more
Boating in France
Thursday, December 21, 2017

Finding your own new cycle routes can be a great part of a cycling adventure; Andy from Fellow Velo shares some tips on what to look out for when you are researching your rides off the beaten track

Read more
Cycling in France
Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hop off the Paris métro at the Grands Boulevards station and discover Paris’s 19th-century shopping streets

Read more
Paris
Sunday, December 10, 2017

An insider’s guide to Charente in Aquitaine-Limousin-Poitou-Charentes, including the main attractions to visit on holiday, the best towns and villages to live in, and buying property in Charente.

Read more
Poitou-Charentes
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

A cycling holiday with young children might sound stressful but with some careful planning you could enjoy great family adventures on two wheels

Read more
Cycling in France
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Need inspiration for a short break in France this winter? From a ski trip to a spa weekend, from a city break to tasty truffle festivals, here are 12 ideas for a winter getaway in France.

Read more
Winter trips
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Get in the festive spirit by visiting one of these 12 traditional Christmas markets in France and pick up some French Christmas gifts

Read more
Christmas in France
Subscribe today

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now