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How to celebrate New Year’s Day in France

By Jean
Reading Time: 4 minutes
New Year's Day in France

Celebrating New Year’s Day in France is an unforgettable experience, especially for international students who have chosen this beautiful country as their destination to live, study, and immerse themselves in the French language.

This article aims to guide you through the customs, festivities, and practical tips to make the most out of New Year’s Day in France.

Dive into New Year’s Day in France

Le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre

The New Year’s Eve celebration, known as Le Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre, is the kickoff to New Year’s Day festivities. It involves a late-night feast that includes luxurious dishes such as foie gras, oysters, and not to forget, the traditional champagne toast at midnight. As an international student, joining a Réveillon party can be a wonderful way to experience French cuisine and hospitality.

Exchange of Bises and Voeux

At the stroke of midnight, the air fills with the sound of bises (kisses on the cheek) and heartfelt voeux (wishes) for the New Year. This exchange symbolizes goodwill and hope for the coming year. Participating in this tradition allows you to deepen your connections within the French community.

The Day of Rest and Reflection

New Year’s Day in France is traditionally a day of rest, where businesses and shops are closed, allowing everyone to recover from the previous night’s festivities and spend time with family and friends. This quiet day is a perfect opportunity for you, as a student, to reflect on your goals, both academic and personal, for the year ahead. Perfect time for you to reflect on your New Year’s resolutions.

Cultural Events and Activities

Public Celebrations and Fireworks

In major cities like Paris, Lyon, and Marseille, the night sky lights up with spectacular fireworks displays. The Champs-Élysées in Paris becomes a focal point for celebrations, with thousands gathering to enjoy the show and the festive atmosphere. These public celebrations offer a fantastic way to experience the communal spirit of New Year’s in France.

Concerts and Cultural Events

The first day of the year is also marked by various cultural events, including free concerts and performances in some cities. Keep an eye out for local listings in your area; these events can be a great way to experience French culture and art.

Plan Ahead

Given that many establishments are closed on New Year’s Day, it’s wise to plan your celebrations and stock up on essentials in advance. If you’re attending a party, consider bringing a small gift, like a bottle of wine or chocolates, as a gesture of appreciation to your host.


While you’re in France to study and learn French, New Year’s celebrations offer a fun and engaging way to practice your language skills. Learn some common New Year’s greetings and wishes in French to share with those you meet.

Here are some vocabulary for you:

New Year’s Resolution: Learn the Language

As the New Year unfolds, it is time for you to embrace the challenge of learning French. Making this your New Year’s resolution opens a door to understanding the nuances of French culture, enhancing your interactions with locals, and fully appreciating the country’s rich literary and historical heritage.

Let this New Year be the start of your linguistic journey, a path filled with discovery, connection, and the joy of mastering a new language. At Go! Go! France, we’re dedicated to making your dream of studying in France a reality. Through our tailored services, comprehensive support, and student-first approach, we simplify the visa application process and pave the way for your educational adventure in France. 

When you feel ready to start, contact Go! Go! France team here to get your life and study in France journey started.

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