Here in France, New Years Eve (31 December) is celebrated with a feast – le Réveillon de Saint-Sylvestre – with similar food to what is eaten on Christmas Day including oysters, smoked salmon, goose, turkey or hen, foie gras, and of course, a glass (or bottle) or two of champagne. At midnight, you kiss under the mistletoe (a custom which is usually done at Christmas in other cultures) and give best wishes to your friends and family for the coming year.
If you are in France for New Years Eve many restaurants have special menus, themed dances and entertainment – it’s a good time to enjoy the night on a dinner date as the chefs are all trying to outdo each other with the best Saint-Sylvestre menus, though as expected the price of a New Years Eve menu is high.
New Year’s Day (le jour de l’an) is a bank holiday in France, and is traditionally a day of family celebration with a large lunch, often with seafood of various kinds. January also signals time to send best wishes for the New Year, which is usually done when you hand out Christmas cards in the USA, UK, Australia or New Zealand.
New Year / Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre Festive Menus:
Le Menu Saint-Sylvestre or Le Menu Réveillon is for New Years Eve
Le Menu Jour de l’An is for New Years Day
Things to do with kids on New Years Eve on the French Riviera
When you’re a parent, you often forgo celebrating New Years with parties and a late night. Whether you have a newborn, toddlers or teens it can be lovely to celebrate New Years with kids. Here are some suggestions for a family-friendly New Years Eve with children on the French Riviera:
- If your kids are old enough to stay up late, head to the free fireworks displays on New Years Eve. Cannes will host a free fireworks display in the Baie de Cannes. Park up at Palm Beach or find a spot to watch along the Croisette. The Cannes Film Festival celebrates 70 years in 2017, so the theme for this year’s New Years Eve fireworks is ‘Cannes fête le cinéma’. Music starts at 11pm, followed by the fireworks display at midnight.
Juan les Pins has a free fireworks display on New Years Day (01 January 2017), the display is in the bay of Juan les Pins and starts at 6.30pm
Sadly, the free fireworks display in Monaco is not happening this year however the Christmas market and ice skating rink will be open until 2 a.m on New Years Eve.
2. Dress up at home and have a party! Head to craft stores such as Cultura in Mandelieu, La Grand Récre in Antibes or one of the regional Maxi Bazaars and buy some party hats, noisemakers and decorations to host your own New Years party. Get out the Singstar or Wii Music and enjoy karaoke, making songs and dancing.
3. Missing New Years Eve cocktails with friends? Make alcohol-free mocktails with your kids complete with drinks umbrellas from the Maxi Bazaar or Carrefour. Here are some easy mocktail recipes:
Strawberry Lemonade Floats
Whizz a small handful of strawberries in a blender, add strawberry puree to a glass with a few scoops of vanilla icecream then fill the glass with lemonade. Garnish with a retro straw and chopped strawberry.
Half-fill a jug with ice and fill it three-quarters with ginger ale or sparkling water. Add orange slices, fresh kiwi, strawberries, cranberries and a sliced lime. Store in the fridge. Decorate glasses with sliced fruit and party umbrellas.
Berry berry happy
Add frozen berries (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries etc) to a jug and top up with berry juice. Add 750ml of sparkling grape juice or sparkling water. Finish with crushed ice. Garnish glasses with sprigs of mint and curly party straws.
4. Watch movies and New Year celebrations around the world. With the time difference, your kids can watch TV coverage here in France of the fireworks in New Zealand, Australia or Hong Kong then head to bed well before midnight. Streaming video giant Netflix helps parents out by creating countdowns with movie characters that you can use well before midnight (genius idea meaning you can put the kids to bed early and perhaps enjoy a glass of bubbly!). Featured shows this year include Puffin Rock, Luna Petunia, Beat Bugs, All Hail King Julien, Skylanders Academy and Trollhunters.
5. Head to the mountains – Val d’Allos has a torchlight descent and fireworks on New Years Eve, Valdeblore has free horse and cart rides for families and fireworks, Valberg has a DJ party and laser show from 5.30pm-8pm and Auron has a New Years Eve party (best for adults as it starts at 10pm, entry fee applies).
New Years / Réveillon de la Saint-Sylvestre Menus on the French Riviera
For parents who are fortunate to have a babysitter for New Years Eve, here are some of the restaurants you can head to for festive menus:
L’Arazur (previously Le Broc en Bouche) on the corner site on rue des Palmiers has both New Years Eve and New Years Day menus you can view here:
Le Albert 1er, a local seafood restaurant, has a New Years Eve menu for €98. Their website has been down for a day so check back at http://www.restaurant-albert-1er.com/
Le Brulot, an old favourite for pasta in the Old Town, has a menu for €49; bookings via www.brulot.fr
Restaurant Le Figuier de Saint-Espirit has both a New Years Eve and a New Years Day menu which you can find at http://www.restaurant-figuier-saint-esprit.com
Les Terraillers has a New Years Eve menu; note: you must give a deposit of €80 to secure your reservation. Menu copy is found here at the link Les Terraillers
JW Marriott Cannes has New Years Eve menus available to see here: http://www.marriott.fr/hotelwebsites/us/n/ncejw/ncejw_pdf/JW_Cannes_F_B_NewYearMenu2017.pdf
For a dinner worthy of another mortgage, head to La Palme d’Or at Grand Hyatt Cannes Hotel Martinez. Bar L’Amiral is also hosting a New Years soirée. You can see the New Years Eve menu here: https://cannesmartinez.grand.hyatt.com/fr/hotel/news-and-events/events/Fetes-de-fin-d-annee-a-cannes.html
Le Bistro Gourmand has a New Years Eve menu; to see here: http://www.bistrotgourmandcannes.fr/menus-carte/
Le Relais de Semailles has New Years Eve and New Years Day menus which you can see here: http://www.lerelaisdessemailles.com/menus-des-f%C3%AAtes
The Majestic Barriere has New Years Eve packages which include accommodation and/or meals www.hotels-barriere.com
Mantel, now known as Table 22, has the same menu for New Years Eve and New Years Day which you can see here: http://www.restaurantmantel.com/images/pdf/Menu-des-fetes-2016.pdf
Chef Patrick Raingeard welcomes diners to Cap Estel for a special New Years Eve menu. You can see the menu here: http://www.capestel.com/media/original/menu-reveillon-nouvel-an-2016.pdf
Jacques Chibois at La Bastide Saint Antoine will cook up a gorgeous menu for New Years which includes caviar, blue lobster and truffles. Have a splurge, you can see the menu here: http://www.jacques-chibois.com/restaurant/nossoirees.html
LA COLLE SUR LOUP
Chef Alain Llorca has both New Years Eve and New Years Day festive menus available at www.alainllorca.com
JUAN LES PINS
AC Hotel Ambassadeur has a New Years Eve dinner; see the menu here: http://www.marriott.fr/hotelwebsites/us/j/jlpar/jlpar_pdf/AC%20Ambassadeur_New%20Year%20Menu_HWS.PDF
La Passagère at the Hotel Belle Rives has a perfume-themed New Years Eve ‘Diner du Réveillon’ menu (and also a New Years Day menu) http://www.bellesrives.com/site/uploaded/ckeditor/files/Fetes%20de%20fin%20d’ann%C3%A9e%20au%20Belles%20Rives.pdf
Hotel Juana has a special New Years Eve dinner and After Party as well as New Years Day menu. http://www.bellesrives.com/site/uploaded/ckeditor/files/AFFICHE%20MENU%20-%20FFA%20JU%20-%20septembre%202016.pdf
Chef Bruno Oger has a New Years Eve menu for Villa Archange available to see here: http://www.bruno-oger.com/media/original/548b07bb582ce/villa-31-decembre.pdf
MONACO / MONTE-CARLO
Joël Robuchon at Hotel Metropole has a New Years Eve menu; see here for more info: http://metropole.com/actu/2010/12/09/happy_menus_fr/
Sporting Monte-Carlo has a dinner with show by Italian operatic trio, Il Volo. Details are found here: https://www.montecarlolive.com/news-en/reveillon-du-nouvel-an-a-la-salle-des-etoiles/
The Buddha-Bar Monte-Carlo has a New Years Eve dinner with DJ; watch a video below of last year’s celebrations and find out more info here of this year’s evening: https://www.buddhabarmontecarlo.com/actualites-evenements-en/new-years-eve-dinner-at-the-buddha-bar/
L’Amandier Mougins will have a menu specially prepared for New Years Eve. You can book via their website www.amandier.fr
Le Mas Candille’s New Years Eve menu includes a magnum of Champagne for 2 people, see the menu at www.lesmascandille.com
Paloma is offering their ‘Menu de la Saint Sylvestre’ which you can see here : http://www.restaurant-paloma-mougins.com/menu#1
Hotel Splendid & Spa has a New Years Eve dinner with entertainment; find out more here: http://www.splendid-nice.com/en/new-years-eve-dinner/
Le Bistrot des Viviers is offering a New Years Eve menu for €90 which you can see here: http://www.les-viviers-nice.fr/fr/le-bistrot/les-menus/79-le-restaurant/144-menu-special-restaurant.html
The iconic Le Negresco will welcome diners to their carousel-themed La Rotonde for a New Years Eve menu that includes scallop carpaccio, boudin blanc with truffles and dark chocolate on shortbread. See the menu here: http://www.hotel-negresco-nice.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/35/2014/11/ROTONDE-NOUVEL-AN.pdf
Château Begude has a New Years Eve menu www.chateau-begude.com