Jump to content
Complete France Forum

What to say at a funeral !


Recommended Posts

We are going to a funeral tomorrow (monday) morning. We did not know the deceased at all but his Dad is our "ancien maire" and a nice old boy so we want to support the family.

Please:  What is the French equivalent of "we are sorry for your loss" ?  But not exactly that as I would never say it in English - too trite for words.  We have never been to a French funeral before and want to do the right thing.

Chap only died last Thursday.and we got the note round yesterday so too late to go to the undertakers to sign the book - will it be at the church too?

Many thanks to anyone who can help us "do the right thing".

Mrs H

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just go to the church, after service everyone will file out past the coffin, do the same as everyone else, then wait outside the church until the hearse leaves, usually only the immediate family and maybe mayor will go to cemetery, there may be a short solemn gathering at the village hall, do contribute to the offertory during the service.

Je suis de tout cœur avec toi dans ce moment de douleur et je tiens à te présenter mes plus sincères condoléances".

mes plus sincères condoléances
je suis de tout coeur avec toi
je suis la si tu as besoin de quoi que ce soit

Probably use of vous rather than toi but aux funerailles one often will tutoyer even with people one really does not know too well.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm sure you will find that there are regional variations. In our our area everyone files out and views the coffin. There is always a bucket for you to put a donation in so have some money readily available. Roman catholics cross themselves; we get away with a bow. Everyone goes to the cemetery - because of the rocky nature of the land we don't have graves but family tombs. Seeing the other coffins in there was a bit of a shock the first time.

We were a bit diffident about going to the funeral of someone we didn't know well and not having clothes that we thought appropriate, but neither of these things mattered in France. Your presence is important.

It will be noticed and appreciated. We have always been thanked for our attendance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It went very well indeed!  As I said earlier this is a village of around 200 people - the deceased was born here in 1949 and was still living in the area.  More than 300 people attended the funeral, the little church was packed - we arrived 15 minutes early and had to sit on a bench brought in to seat the overflow.  The local MP was there.

Only problem was that the church was freezing - the little wall mounted heaters were no help at all.

We did find it odd that in the churchyard (the church is in the middle of this) a lorry with a mini-digger was waiting to fill in the grave.  Not as "gentle" as a couple of men with shovels.

Thanks again for help

Mrs H

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...