Les Papillotes de Noël

Les Papillotes de Noël are traditional, foil-wrapped Christmas chocolates.

They began in the city of Lyon in 1790 at la chocolaterie of Monsieur Papillot. 

The chocolate-maker had a niece who lived above the shop.  A young apprentice who was employed by Monsieur Papillot fell in love with her.   

Tu es belle.  Je t'aime.

The young man invented a clever way of sending secret love messages to his employer's niece.
He would wrap a chocolate inside a piece of paper on which his message was written.  Then he would send it to her.   When she unwrapped the chocolate, she would find the secret words hidden inside!

Monsieur Papillot noticed that chocolates were mysteriously disappearing so he began to investigate.   

Someone must be stealing!  

C'est bizarre!  Mes chocolats ont disparu! 

Soon, Monsieur Papillot discovered what the love-struck worker was doing but, instead of being angry, he decided it was an excellent idea that could be copied!   

So, he began to create chocolates that were wrapped in paper with a wise message hidden inside (such as a proverb) for his customers to read.   It was an entertaining and exciting addition to his delicious chocolates!

Ever since, when you unwrap une papillote,  you will find a proverb or a quotation printed on the inside of the wrapper.  

And what happened to the young apprentice?
Nobody is sure what happened next as there are two versions of the story's ending:
1.  Monsieur Papillot sacked the young worker but still used his invention.
2.   The young apprentice married Monsieur Papillot's niece and was involved in developing his idea in the family business.

This Christmas,  if you decide to make your own papillotes to give as a present, which messages will you write inside?

Nowadays, the main producer of les papillotes is a company called Révillon Chocolatier.

Below are some of the proverbs and quotations that have been printed inside their papillote wrappers:

La plus perdue de toutes les journées et celle où l’on n’a pas ri.   (Nicolas de Chamfort)
The day that is the most wasted is the one when nobody has laughed.

Il ne suffit pas d’avoir du talent.  Il faut encore savoir s’en servir.   (Alphonse Allais)
It isn't enough to have talent.  You need to know how to use it.

De toutes les passions, la seule vraiment respectable me paraît être la gourmandise.
Out of all the passions, the only respectable one seems to me to be the love of good food.
(Guy de Maupassant)

La vie ressemble à un conte; ce qui importe ce n’est pas sa longueur, mais sa valeur.  (Sénèque)
Life is like a story; what matters is not its length but its worth.

Amour, amour, quand tu nous tiens, on peut dire: adieu prudence.  (La Fontaine)
Love, love, when you have a hold over us, it can be said: goodbye to being careful.

Celui qui pose une question risque cinq minutes d’avoir l’air bête. Celui qui ne pose pas de question restera bête toute sa vie.  (Proverbe Chinois)
He who asks a question risks looking ignorant for five minutes.  He who asks no questions will remain ignorant for all of his life.

What do you think of these quotations?   1.   Je suis d'accord.     2.   Je ne suis pas d'accord.

 

A French Christmas Activity For The Classroom!

Pupils bring in some chocolate truffles to transform into des papillotes

They write French messages or proverbs on pieces of paper.   

They wrap each truffle within a message.   

Each chocolate can be further wrapped with foil paper and ribbon, etc.   

Pupils can then present their collection of papillotes in a decorative box etc. 
to take home and give as a Christmas present. 

Amusez-vous bien!

 

 Site updated:  1 December 2020    
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