Every year the Royal British Legion in France raises a significant amount of money through its Poppy Appeal.
Buy a poppy
Anyone who wants to buy a poppy can contact one of the Legion’s six individual branches, with their contact details shown at rblfrance.org.
The branches are: Paris, Bordeaux & South-West France, Central Brittany, Lyon, Nice-Monaco, Nord/Pas De Calais and Somme. Poppies will be on sale around France at various events held in association with Royal British Legion branches.
Buy a bleuet
The French equivalent of the poppy is the cornflower or bleuet de France. This will also be on sale around the country at various events or can be purchased online at boutique-bleuetdefrance.fr/.
Like the poppy, it grew amid the mud and desolation of World War One but the term bleuet was also used to describe fresh, young soldiers conscripted to fight in that conflict, whose bright blue uniforms were a sharp contrast to the dirty trenches.
The idea to sell cornflower pins to raise money for wounded veterans came from two women in 1925 – Charlotte Malleterre, daughter of the director of l’Hotel National des Invalides, and Suzanne Leenhardt, a nurse major.
They set up a workshop at the Institution Nationale des Invalides (INI), where residents made the flowers out of cloth and sold them on the public highway to make income.
Some 128,000 cornflowers were sold on November 11 1934, the first time they were sold on the streets of Paris. In 1935, the state made it official to sell the Bleuets de France on every November 11.