Le 1er Avril in France : Poisson D’avril !


Tomorrow is le 1er avril! A day of jokes and tricks. If you have kids in France, they’ll cut paper fish all day and adults will try to trick you.

I love sharing stories about French traditions with you. Hope you are in France tomorrow.
If you’re not, look at newspapers (online) and TV programs, all publish fake reports among other true stories. ????

Today, I’ll explain what happens in France on le 1er avril.


Et toi ?

Have you ever been in France on April 1st?
Did you see the famous “Poissons d’avril”?

Satirical news sites:
Le Gorafi
Le Daily Béret


Join the conversation!

  • We have lived in France since 2006 and I never realised until seeing your video that you have the same April Ist day of pranks! I love your videos Geraldine, they have helped explain lots of things!

  • Also in the UK, if you try to play a trick after midday then the joke is on you. You become the April Fool

  • I happened by some awful chance on Wednesday afternoon 1 April to find myself on this website [reference removed]
    There’s a ‘Poisson d’Avril’ but I don’t understand it and I don’t know if I should want to!
    Carry on Geraldine, and we’ll all keep calm.

  • It is obviously colder in UK because our saying is

    “Ne’er cast a clout ’till May be out”

    (Never cast off (remove) an item of clothing until May is over)

    May may be the month otr may be the blossom of the Hawthorn (aka May) Tree (aubépine)

    • It makes more sense to be the flower of the Hawthorne/May tree – this is more weather dependant than the calendar month of May!

  • Oui, l’année dernière, je étais à Nice le 1er Avril. Dans le parc, où les fontaines sont, des centaines de poissons étaient accrocher nuit. Ce était un spectacle vraiment rafraîchissant.
    I miss France a lot.

  • I learned that the Poisson became part of the joking because the first day of the fishing season was tied to the “new year” so those just beginning to fish on April 1st were fools.

  • Comme Harriet, j’aimerais savior plus des poissons au chocolat qu’on voit au magasins (je les ai vus chez Bon Marché). Merci pour la leçon, Géraldine! J’adore la tradition “Poisson d’avril!”

  • Geraldine, I love Comme Une Francaise. I can’t seem to watch any of the older videos you have made though. Can you tell me how? Merci.

  • Probably the most famous “Poisson D’Avril” in the UK, was either during the 50’s or the 60’s (I forget which!”) The BBC made a serious Documentary about the Spaghetti Harvest in Italy – they showed farmers up ladders collecting Spaghetti from the trees! (of course they had draped lot’s of Spaghetti on lot’s of trees first!) Very few British viewers realised it was a prank, & seriously believed that Spaghetti grew on trees! My “Poisson D’Avril for this April will be to swat a “Fly” with a newspaper & then swallow the “fly” (using a raisin to look like a squashed fly!)

    • Michael H – another famous blague was in the Guardian in 1978? A serious travel piece about the fabled delights of the Caribbean island of “Sans Serif”. In those olden days before word processing hardly anyone outside graphic design knew the names of type faces. I’m typing now in a sans serif face, prolly Helvetica.

  • Merci, Geraldine, for the great videos every week!
    Thanks for the warning about tomorrow– this is my first 1er Avril and I work in a school. Now I know what to expect!

  • Salut,

    En Angleterre, nous l’appelons le jour “April fool’s” et les blagues ne sont valables que jusqu’à midi.


  • Fan de Jacques Dutronc depuis 1966, voici la premiere fois que j’ai entendu l’expression.
    Elle adorait
    Tous mes déguisements
    Je déguisais
    Mes sentiments
    Quand elle est partie
    Avec un salaud
    J’ai mis un poisson
    D’avril dans son dos

  • Salut! Est-ce que les poissons d’avril sont liees avec les poissons au chocolat qu’on voit partout pour paques? En Allemagne et aux Etats Unis on ne voit pas les poissons pour paques….
    Bien à toi! Harriet

    • Bonjour Harriet,
      Je ne sais pas, désolée.
      Les petits poissons en chocolat vendus au poids ou en paquet sont appelé “de la friture” (comme les vrais petits poissons frits).
      Ce sont mes préférés. 😉

  • Geraldine I really enjoy your weekly lesson. We have an apartment in Champagny en Vanoise In Savoie and we are there for about 4 months of the year I am sure there are plenty of people like us. Thank you so much Marion.

    • Bonjour,Getaldine: I arrived in Paris yesterday, and I appreciate your cultural lessons. Now I know a new custom to enjoy and I’ll know what all those fish are tomorrow! Thanks!

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