top of page

Celebrating NYE in France

Updated: Dec 21, 2023

Getting ready to ring in the New Year in France? 

How the French Celebrate New Year's Eve

In France, New Year's Eve, also known as Le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre, is all about good food and wine. People in places like Fontevraud might sip Crement de Loire wine, while Champagne is a must in Paris. And don't forget the foie gras or moules à la marinière (mussels)!

Some folks have fancy dinner parties, others might go to a big ball, and sometimes local hotels in France throw special New Year's Eve events with lots of yummy treats.

Imagine being in a fancy restaurant in Paris with jazz music playing. At midnight, everyone puts on paper hats, throws confetti, and shares New Year's Eve kisses and cheers.

Many people also go out to restaurants on New Year's Day. The meals are huge, sometimes with up to fifteen courses!

Ringing in the New Year in France

At our French New Year's dinners, we often have Christmas crackers on the table and pull them throughout the evening. At midnight, under a mistletoe decoration called gui, friends and family kiss and wish each other "Happy New Year."

New Year's Eve might end in France with fireworks in the backyard, lighting up the night sky.

Celebrating New Year's Day in France: Le Jour de l'An

On January 1st, while discussing our plans for the new year, we noticed a difference from our French friends – they don't typically exchange gifts or cards on this day. Instead, it's common for French folks to send New Year's cards, sometimes in place of Christmas cards. As for the kids in France, they might discover gifts in their stockings on the morning of January 1st and then spend the day visiting their grandparents and enjoying family time.

French New Year Wishes

  • "Joyeuses fêtes!" means "Happy holidays!"

  • "Meilleurs voeux!" is "Season’s greetings!"

  • "Bonne Année! Joyeuse Année!" for "Happy New Year!"

  • "Tous mes/nos voeux pour la Nouvelle Année" is "All my/our wishes for the New Year."

  • "Bonne année et bonne santé" means "Happy New Year and good health."

French New Year Terms

  • New Year's Eve party/feast: le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre

  • Midnight: minuit

  • Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve: Le Réveillon

  • New Year’s Eve: la Saint-Sylvestre

  • New Year’s Day: le Jour de l’An, le Nouvel An

  • 1 January: le premier Janvier

  • Mistletoe: Le gui (hard g)

  • New Year’s resolution: une bonne résolution

  • New Year's gifts: des étrennes

  • Epiphany: Fete des Rois

  • Firework/s: un feu d’artifice/ les feux d’artifice

  • To propose a toast: porter un toast

  • Hangover: la gueule de bois

Epiphany in France: Fete des Rois

On January 6th, the Epiphany, it's time for La Galette des Rois, the French King cake. It's a puff pastry cake with almond cream and sometimes a little porcelain treasure inside. If you find the treasure, you wear a golden crown and be the King or Queen!

You can buy a galette kit or make your own. Here's a simple King cake recipe:

King Cake Recipe: La Galette des Rois

  • Use ready-made puff pastry.

  • Mix almond meal with sugar and an egg white for the almond paste.

For a classic Parisian New Year's Day meal, think dishes like asparagus with quail egg mousse, lobster Thermidor in crustacean stock, line-caught sea bass with caviar, and seasonal vegetables with pasta.

Desserts might include:

  • A Brie de Meaux cheese course.

  • Pink Champagne with hibiscus jelly.

  • Wild strawberry elixir with coconut.

New Year's in Paris is all about elegance, delicious food, and celebrating with loved ones.



bottom of page