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Carnival Les Gras in Brittany France

This popular carnival custom takes place at the end of winter, during Shrovetide – the period just before the Christian Lent… Carnival Les Gras comes from the  latin “carnem levare” meaning “ remove meat”, but carnival takes another turn 😉  to people living in the wonderful seaside town called Douarnenez; as a Fishermen Village.

breton fishermen painting       douarnenez-fishing-village


Indeed, the Carnival means a Great opportunity to celebrate the end of winter regarding hard working conditions for Fishermen during winter period.

Many processions, dances everywhere in town, and a big Carnival parade are in the limelight for no less than for Five days!

Dating of 1835 yet!:)

The “carnavaliers” have ever been disguised,  ever used carnival masks, enjoyed a lot dressing up in Drag too! 😛

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Festivities took place from Sunday morning until next Wednesday.

Later, Carnival started from Saturday in the evening until Wednesday.


First, official Mascot of the Carnival is “Den-Paolig” meaning “poor bonhomme” or poor guy 🙂 He is introduced to audience on Saturday evening, no one knows what he will look like before the day. And poor guy will go up in flames on next Wednesday…c’est la vie! 😛


At the beginning, they used to drown a personified manikin ; Den Paolig was made of straw and especially created for Carnival from one year to another. Sure, Mardi Gras is the most important day.

Fishermen have ever been the Kings of the celebrations. No Fishery activity meant no income…

In fact, carnival is about a collective opportunity to goof around for some days, how much hard and dangerous was their daily work during mackerel fishery.

Owners of the numerous Bistrots over there 😉 have been part of Festivities from one year to another.  Indeed, Bistrot was the right place where fishermen used to have a drink and some more all together 🙂  even if they were spending too much money in bistrots, They did also contribute to the “pot” dedicated to Carnival organisation.

Carnival was simply Not possible without considering a collective pot!

On Sunday and Monday, single men were in the spotlight and they had to do the Show!, young Demoiselles lurking around! 😉 . On Mardi Gras day, Most of local shops were closed, anyone participated to Festivities…


There is no Carnival without party, good food and Music! Music everywhere ; in the streets, in Bistrots. And that really sounds Great!

Carnival is also the occasion to celebrate les “Noces des Gras” ; weddings of Mardi Gras. It was about to spotlight the youngest couple of the year, through a farce with wedding dressing up and disguises of course! 🙂

carnival gras of dz

Sure, this Special Event sounds a terrific “Carnival Spirit” in the streets, in the bistrots of Douarnenez.

Yep! and It is Really Unique!!

Regarding Carnivals, for sure, I Never felt such a strong Atmosphere anywhere else in Brittany.

Nowadays, Carnival Les Gras of Douarnenez remains the single Carnival festivities in Brittany France.

That’s all for now! 😉

Enjoy Great Carnival Festivities everywhere you are from!

4 thoughts on “Carnival Les Gras in Brittany France

  1. 👍 Great idea! 🤗 I’m feeling Honored! 🙏 Amen!😉and yes!let’s share 💖 Dave!if you did not already exist, you would have to be invented! 🤗 😉 💖
    (hmm, yesss, I like a lot…smileys! ;-P)

  2. What a grand celebration and well deserved for those who’ve worked so hard. I can only imagine. Another wonderful read and if is ok with you, I would love to share with my readers that of which you have to share? Let me know.

    Merci :O)

  3. yep!👍 🤗 😉 🙏 and many 💖💖💖

  4. I really enjoy your articles, and learning more about where you live and the celebrations there. This sounds like a fun celebration – thank you for sharing!

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