Saint Sylvestre/New Years Eve in Paris

It’s New Year’s Eve, or ‘la Saint-Sylvestre’ in Paris and in keeping with tradition, there are a few things to expect of tonight/today – the eating of New Years’ Eve staples – foie gras, papillotes and the drinking of mulled wine along with crucial, sparkling white alcoholic beverages to usher in 2011!

There is no excuse whatsoever to not join in tonight’s festivities. The city provides a very enabling environment for celebration and the ushering in of a new year tailored to the tastes of this beautiful, cosmopolitan organism that is called Paris!

There is plenty on queue that can be easily accessed through google – it’s quite fun to get educated on New Year’s Eve traditions here, and all that I can say is that I’m excited and privileged to be here. Well, apart from the prospect of being witness to young men with overly high levels of testosterone burning people’s cars in honour of the New Year – pretty much everything else seems open to the possibilities of a terrific New Years Eve in the city of lights!

Wikipedia gives an interesting contextualisation of New Years Eve in France, describing it as such:

New Years Eve in France

The French call New Year’s Eve “la Saint-Sylvestre”. It is usually celebrated with a feast called le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre (also called Cap d’Any in Northern Catalonia). This feast customarily includes special dishes like foie gras, seafood such as oysters and drinks like champagne. The celebration can be a simple, intimate dinner with friends and family or a much fancier ball (une soirée dansante).

On le Jour de l’An (New Year’s Day), friends and family exchange New Year’s resolutions kisses and wishes, the main ones being “Bonne Année”, Bonheur, Sante, Amour, Argent (“Good Year”, Happiness, Health, Love and Money). Some people eat desserts made of ice cream[19]

The holiday period ends on January 6 (The Twelfth Night) for the Epiphany, or Jour des Rois. On this day, they celebrate the Wise Men, eating a traditional type of flat pastry cake, la galette des rois, most often two sheets of puff pastry, filled with frangipane (almond paste). The cake contains a fève, small china character, that whoever finds becomes king or queen and get to wear a gold paper crown, then chose their partner. This tradition can last up to two weeks.”

of the best sites on travel to Paris gives an extensive guide on what to do on New Years Eve in Paris – here

And it was quite nice seeing the Eiffel tower at news years eve 2009/2010 in this clip of New year celbrations around the world on France 24

While it’s highly unlikely that I’ll find myself at an energetic New Years’ Eve party o club full of young undergraduates – this site for students on what to do tonight was interesting to look at for ideas. A couple of them, including dinner on a cruise on the Seine were interesting, but pricy little ideas on how to usher in the new year.

With all of this information – insight into preceding New Year’s Eve celebrations, cultural practices ( what to say and eat ; anunderstanding of the risks ( car-burning disgruntled youth), Associated benefits (free transport on the metro) and the diverse options and market for “Saint-Sylvestre” celebrants – I’m ready to usher in 2011!!