The name of the city where Loïs was born is called Fourmies. If we translate it, it sounds like ”ant”: “But we don’t eat ants in Fourmies!”
France is known for cheese. We can find different kinds of cheese, depending on the regions. The city Maroilles, where the Maroilles cheese is produced, is next to Fourmies. In the North, people cook Maroilles pies, which are called Flamiche, a word which comes from the French and the Flemish.
Another cheese from the North is the Boulette d’Avesnes (patty of Avesnes), which smells really strong! The form of this cheese is pyramidal, in reference to the coal. In fact, there were a lot of mines to extract the coal in the North of France. The wastes are thrown and the accumulation of them forms slag heaps.
In the North of France, people speak a dialect called Ch’ti. For example, the word “endive”, which is pronounced endive in French, is called “chicon” in the North. They eat a lot of it in this region.
Then, potatoes represent a big production there. People like to cook French fries with them and we can find a lot of baraques à frites (French fries trucks) in Fourmies.
By the way, there is a competition between French fries and Belgian fries. In Belgium, they cook it with three cooking processes and three different oils, instead of French fries, which are cooked with only one cooking process and one vegetal oil, most of the time.
The carnival is really popular in the North of France. There are many opportunities to celebrate: in February and in June for the Saint-Jean. At this occasion, people create giants who walk on the streets. If you touch them, you will keep smiling in your life and be happy.
Each city has its own giant with its symbols. For example, in Dunkerque, where the biggest carnival takes place, the symbol is the anchor because the city is next to the sea. In Fourmies, the symbol is the miner’s strike. It was the first city where miners went on strike. The most important was in the 19th century, on a 1st of May. That’s why the first of May is now Labor Day.