Around the world, there are many
different traditions and events performed to celebrate bringing in the New
Year. As a public holiday, New Years in France, known as la Saint-Sylvestre and
le Jour de l’An, features a number of exciting gatherings and customs for the
day. We take a look at some of the most common French New Years traditions.
Cruise It is becoming more and more
popular in France to take a mini cruise on New Year’s Eve. While some take
short trips along the Seinne, and other rivers throughout France, others take
to the seas. The demand is becoming quite high for this, so if you feel like
celebrating the new year in the middle of the ocean, then ensure you book in
House Party Typically, New Years celebrations
in France tend to be more private affairs. House and dinner parties are
preferred over going out. Costume parties are a common theme at this time of
year if not, dressing smartly for the special occasion is often the norm. As
it’s France, there will, of course, be an almost never-ending supply of food
Food Somewhat confusingly, the meals eaten on Christmas Eve and
New Year’s Eve are both known as Le Reveillon in France. To make it simpler (or
perhaps more confusing,) the New Years Eve meal is also referred to as la
Saint-Sylvestre or le reveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre. This festive feast typically
involves several courses, which can take over four hours to eat! Starter
courses involve caviar, foie gras and oysters, while goose or turkey is served
up as a main dish. Champagne is obviously also a must at these dinners, with
plenty of bubbles being poured throughout the night. According to French
traditions, this dinner is said to bring good luck to those in attendance.
In addition to the meal, another food-based tradition in
France around the New Year is La Galette des Rois, or King’s Cake. This
involves a puff pastry case and lid, filled with frangipane, which is made from
eggs, butter, sugar and ground almonds. A lucky charm, such as a coin or small
figurine, is baked within the cake, and the person who finds it in their slice
becomes ‘King’ for the day, and wears a paper crown that accompanies the cake.
Street Party If you’re not attending a house
party, and you don’t fancy splashing out a rather inordinate amount of money to
get into a club on La Saint-Sylvestre, then just hit the streets. Thousands of locals
gather in the city streets to celebrate the New Year together, and these
celebrations are free. Paris has three very popular locations for such
celebrations; by the Eiffel Tower, the Champs-Élysées and at the Sacré-Coeur.
To make it even better, public transport in the big cities will all be free!
When the clock strikes twelve, the French kiss each other
on both cheeks, as they do for a greeting. Cheers of ‘Bonne Année!’ will fill
the streets. Depending on your location, there may be fireworks, however, many
French cities have banned them due to the dangers, so don’t be too disappointed
if the new year doesn’t start with a bang.
New Years Day Of course, the celebrations
continue during the first day of the new year. Parades are quite common
throughout France, with performers leading processions through the streets.
Paris has a two-day long parade, with local performers, as well as some more
known singers and dancers. They march through various Parisian streets before
ending by the Eiffel Tower. If you don’t fancy joining in one of these parades
yourself, then you can always stay in and be cosy, watching the excitement
happen on TV.
Cards Don’t worry about sending your
French friends Christmas cards; it’s not really the tradition for them. Instead
be sure to get some New Year’s greeting cards ready, as these will be exchanged
on the day, and throughout the first month of the year.
If you are looking for 2017 New Years Eve
villas, Francehas numerous fantastic places to stay, which will have
incredible views of the New Year celebrations. How are you going to celebrate
the new year? Let us know via social media.