The real history of Mother’s Day in France

yellow roses in a display
Flowers are a traditional gift for Fête des Mères

No, the celebration was not invented by Maréchal Pétain

Mother’s Day – Fête des Mères - will be celebrated in France this Sunday June 7. 

Most years it is held on the last Sunday in May, unless that date coincides with Whitsun, when it is moved to the first Sunday in June. The next time it clashes with Pentecôte is in 2023 when the Fête des Mères will be on June 4.

The first ever ceremony to award mothers in France and the model for future Mother’s Day celebrations took place in Artas, a small village in Isère, on June 10, 1906.

Marie Philippe and her husband. One of the two first women to be awarded the Prix de haut Mérite Maternel

Two women, Marie-Louise Bouvard and Marie Philippe (right) were presented with a bouquet of flowers, 25 francs (the equivalent of a week’s wages) and a certificate for “High ...

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