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New Year's traditions


DZ

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We will be spending our first New Year in France this year and I was wondering if there are any traditions associated with it (apart, of course, from eating lots and drinking even more, which goes without saying)?  I came across the word  for the New Year's gifts ("étrennes"), which makes me wonder if exchanging gifts at that time of year is a wide-spread custom, or one confined to family members and closest friends only? 

Do villages tend to organize their St. Sylvestre parties with fireworks etc?  Thanks for enlightening me!

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Étrennes is usually between family members and very close friends. Presents are little and intimate. Perhaps wrong choice of word. I mean to say nothing to ostentatious or brash!

Mostly a small gift of money to grandchildren or children. Also a small gift of money to the pompiers, the éboueurs, the facteur, the school teacher etc... At this point I would stop to the most charitable needy cause of that lot. It can get out of hand.....

We don't have a Xmas stocking in France so this is probably an alternative.

And of course celebrations will start early on the 31st! Don't even think of buying anything that day if you don't like crowds, queueing and fighting in the aisles or by the tills of the supermarket! Make sure you are well stocked up...

Don't consider going to bed much before noon on the 1st ...

Village parties... not really ... unless several friends/neighbours in the village have commendeered the 'salle des fêtes' for that as their homes are far too small.... then you could gate crash the party... ask at your local mairie if there is such a fête in the village/town...

Fireworks... perhaps but not always ... 14th of July is the day for that.

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Thanks a lot for this detailed reply.  We will try to get ourselves invited to a New Year's Eve party somewhere (or organize our own, if we come across anyone who has no other plans and can spare us their company!).
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[quote user="Loiseau"]

If you're thinking of going to a restaurant for a protracted NYE evening, then book well in advance - probably now!

Angela

[/quote]

Interesting how  things vary from region to region.  When we tried to book a hotel and dinner in St Malo for Millenium Eve the places I enquired at hadn't even sorted what they were doing at the end of September - they wouldn't take a definite booking until early November!  Since then we've found that local restaurants have no bookings until within a month of New Year's Eve - admittedly, they are all full to overflowing, but not til mid December!!

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In these parts lots of villages organise a meal with a live band. 

You have to book in advance and the tickets can cost about  40 - 60euros per head.  This includes aperitifs and hor d'oeuvres, a six course meal with different wines and champagne. Plus the live entertainment.

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[quote user="TWINKLE"]

In these parts lots of villages organise a meal with a live band. 

[/quote]

I wonder if you ever perfom at such events, Twinkle?

I'll find out what is being planned in my village when we go at the end of this month (hurray - can't wait!).

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I more often than not work every New Years Eve thank goodness!  I love partying don't get me wrong - but I don't like being told to do it.  It has to be a bit more spontaeneous than that for me.

Did you know that musiciens get paid 3 times more than a normal gig on the 31st December?[;-)]

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  • 3 weeks later...
Out town is normally quite big on fetes and festivals throughout the year but last new year's eve (the first I've spent there), even the restaurant that 'never' closes was shut! Nothing communal going on at all, I guess everyone was with friends and family for their oysters and foie gras.

The streets were almost deserted around midnight. Just us three fou anglaises down on the waterfront with our champagne. Then a beautiful tall yacht sailed in from the bay, the crew waving sparklers, and it became a magical moment.

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