Mardi Gras in France
Mardi Gras in France

All about Mardi Gras... in France

When Mardi Gras and mid-Lent come round, doughnuts reappear on all the tables of France. They're a symbol of opulence, because they're rich in flour, eggs and milk. They change name and shape by region. Recipes vary, depending on whether you use butter, oil or cream, yeast or baking powder, orange flower water, rum, lemon, anise or Pastis... but each one is more delicious than the last! In fact, some are so popular that they're made all year round. Hop aboard to discover merveilles, oreillettes, bugnes and the other doughnuts of carnival! 

In Provence and Corsica
Mardi Gras in France 1

This is the land of "oreillettes" flavored with orange blossom water and lemon zest.

- View the recipe

In Montpellier, they add a touch of rum in the dough.

- View the recipe

In Nice, they serve ganses or gansettes, prettily knotted, and sometimes fried in olive oil. In Corsica, frappes are flavored with myrtle eau-de-vie.

There are also
- Chichi frégi in Provence, and
- Mascottes in Côte d'Azur

In the Lyon Region
Mardi Gras in France 2

"Bugne" is a Mardi Gras classic in France, a delicious doughnut-like pastry sprinkled with icing sugar that dates back to the Middle Ages. Hot "bugnes" were once sold to travelers along the road between Dijon and Arles.

- View the recipe

In Franche Comté
Mardi Gras in France 3

 "Beugnets," often with apples, and pets-de-nonne (nun's farts) are the stars. Sometimes called "soupirs de nonnes," (nun's sighs), these fried choux paste balls are light and crispy, and have become popular everywhere in France!

- Pets-de-nonne recipe

In Pays de la Loire
Mardi Gras in France 4

Here, doughnuts in geometric shapes are called "Bottereau" or "Tourtisseau".

- View the recipe

In Alsace Loraine
Mardi Gras in France 5

 Strasbourg's roussettes are fluted rings made from a dough flavored with kirsch. In Lorraine, corvechets, rich in eggs, are the favored treat. 

In Auvergne
Mardi Gras in France 6

Doughnuts made with milk or cream are called "guenilles," or rags, because the shape of this treat from the Auvergne is reminiscent of strips of cloth.

- View the recipe

In the South-West
Mardi Gras in France 7

The merveille from Bordeaux and Gascony is cut into a round, diamond or square shape, with a hole in the centre. 

- View the recipe

In Les Landes, crouchepette is the name given to a particularly puffy, crispy doughnut. 

In the North
Mardi Gras in France 8

The tradition here runs more to waffles than to doughnuts. There's a simple historical explanation: doughnuts are cooked in oil, a product not produced in the north, the land of butter and lard! And because the Lenten tradition meant no eggs, pancakes were also popular. 

And don't forget
Mardi Gras in France 9

 - Carnival Masks 

- Bougnettes in Catalan country
- Craquelins in Savoy, Limousin and Brittany
- Croquignolles in Anjou
- Faverolles or Frivolles in Champagne
- Merveille de Gascogne and de Haute Savoie 
- Rondiaux in Sologne

Search within the site
Advanced search >
Register free to receive our official newsletter
Sign up
Subscribe to our free RSS feeds:
Get the daily and monthly recipe posts automatically added to your newsreader.
Sign up