Are you lucky enough to be in Paris for New Year’s Eve? As one would imagine, the French capital is very resourceful in terms of celebration possibilities. It’s just about knowing what kind of New Year’s Eve you wish for!
New Year’s day or “Saint Sylvestre” dates back to the Romans. After a somewhat chaotic calendar with years beginning on March 25, December 25 or September 20, it was Julius Caesar who finally set the calendar as we know it with the beginning of the year starting on the 1st of January. January derives from Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings. He is generally depicted with two faces: one looking into the past and the other towards the future. As for the “Saint Sylvestre”, it comes from the saint of the day – pope Sylvestre. And although “saint” has a religious meaning, those two events have nothing to dowith one another. It’s merely a calendar coincidence!
1. What are the French traditions for NYE?
Apart from a few long-lived traditions attached to New Year’s Eve, such as the mistletoe kissing or the “étrennes” (gift giving), it will mostly be a food celebration! The “étrennes” is more about showing gratitude to those who serve us all year round such as the caretaker, the firemen or the rubbish collectors. It is unlikely that this tradition will concern you. However, yes, you could find yourself kissing underneath a mistletoe bunch as it is believed to bring good luck! NYE is mainly a family and friends celebration and will almost always include a good dinner. Although the food served at New Year’s Eve will vary, there are some dishes which are more regular than others such as “foie gras”, oysters, smoked salmon, sea food and of course, the essential cheese platter. Not to mention that no proper NYE dinner in France can be eaten without a good portion of wine and champagne. At the stroke of midnight, the Happy New Year, “Bonne Année”, greetings start along with the cheek kiss, “la bise”, to everyone!
If you’re hosting a dinner party and need an exhaustive selection of wine, make sure to visit La Cave Duclot of Galeries Lafayette.
After the feast, it’s just a matter of choosing your favorite celebration: walking around the city to enjoy the light shows around the Arc de Triomphe, trying a traditional cabaret show or partying the night out in a club. You are spoilt with choice.
2. Making your New Year’s Eve celebration perfect is easy with Galeries Lafayette!
Going out? Make sure you look stunning.
People often get dressed up for New Year’s Eve but it’s not a “faux pas” if you don’t. Contrary to popular belief, there is no “rule” on how to dress for a major event like New Year’s Eve in Paris. However, there’s a French expression that says “se mettre sur son 31”, which means dressing up, 31 referring to the 31st of December and NYE.
If you’re looking for something fancy to wear but fashion is not your forte or you don’t want to struggle with language barriers, Galeries Lafayette can provide you with a personal shopper. A fashion expert who speaks English will lead you through the store to seek out what fits your unique needs and style. More details about Galeries Lafayette’s tailored services.
If, on the other hand, you are the expert and you’re looking to find the best pick, make sure to check our exclusivities, new brands and good deals of the moment!
Our beauty department will complete your perfect outfit with the best cosmetics.
For the best Cosmetics and makeup tips.
Hosting a Parisian dinner party
If you have decided to throw a New Year’s Eve party at your house, make sure you find everything you need. A nice table, fine food and bubbles are a must as it is believed that a proper meal on New Year’s Eve will bring prosperity to the house–in which case all the effort you will put in making it a success will definitely be worth it. After all, the French gastronomy is recognized by Unesco so partying over seafood and slick bottles of champagne will undeniably be a good idea.
Great wines and champagne are to be found at La Cave Duclot at the Galeries Lafayette. Meet our wine experts for your best pick.
For your gourmet shopping and the best tableware items, you can find all you need at Galeries Lafayette Gourmet and Home!