As there is no answer to your query as yet Angela perhaps I can give one as I spend a great deal of time in France.

Most US holidays originated in Europe and crossed the ocean with the immigrants who set up home in the �New World�, so they are celebrated here but not always in the same way as across the Atlantic.

The Christmas, Easter etc. holidays are of course held at the same time everywhere, however in general they are not quite as commercialized in Europe, and in France it is perhaps no surprise to find out just how much emphasis is put onto food during Christmas and New Year especially, and less to the actual occasion itself.

Nevertheless just as the US has Thanksgiving and Independence Day for example the French also have their own National day. Bastille Day in July. It is known as 'le quatorze juillet' (the fourteenth of July), and is a celebration for the storming of the Bastille on 14th July 1789, which ultimately led to France becoming a republic.

France also has many holidays in common with other European countries, such as November 1st, which is put aside to honor those that have passed.

As France has an affinity to holidays where an emphasis is put on food this can take us back to Melissa�s original subject for this thread, which she began in May to cover vegetarian possibilities in France.

There is an amazing variety of vegetarian food readily available throughout France, to cook and eat at home as well as to �eat out� in restaurants during those holidays, in fact it is very easy to be a 'legume' (vegetable) eater in a land of meat munching carnivores.

Of course the selection of fruit and vegetables on offer is incredible, fresh and actually possessing some taste and texture, but there is also everything from vegetarian cheese, and organic eggs and butter to food influenced by France�s North African connection, such as Tagines which are basically vegetable and spice stews, or simple risottos. A popular one is with spiced egg plant, topped by baked figs, then sprinkled with fig syrup and crushed roasted walnuts.

While those vegetarians that do eat fish will find an endless variety in every supermarket, open air market or specialist shop, and that includes the lobster and oysters which are very popular for any holiday celebration.

Vegans will have more of a problem because soy milk for example will not be offered in coffee shops, but it is easy found and as long as they don�t mind carrying some around with then there should be no problem.

And as for any �vegetarian� cats and dogs they are also catered for, because there is a comprehensive, and easily available, range of �veggie� food designed just for them, so they can also take part in any �food extravaganzas� during French holidays.

Francine A. McKenna - German Culture Editor

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