The dawning of a new year is yet another excuse for a great time here at Parc du Cap. Mistletoe is strung in abundance to bring good luck and inspire celebratory kisses, and chefs across the region put on their best whites and take to their kitchens to create their crowning dishes of the year.
Have you made plans for the turn of the year yet? With so much to see and do, it isn’t always easy to know where to start. Here are our top five insider tips for celebrating the New Year on the French Riviera in style.
In many households, New Year’s eve celebrations begin with a nationwide screening of “les vœux présidentiels”. At 8pm on the 31st the French President reflects on the year gone by, and lays out his vision for the one to come. The speech is broadcast live from the Élysée Palace. Then it’s time to se metre sur son 31 (‘dress up like it’s New Year’s eve’) and head out for dinner and dancing!
Costume balls are loved across the country, as is confetti, streamers and kisses under mistletoe at midnight. Unlike elsewhere in Europe, mistletoe is a New Year’s rather than a Christmas tradition in France. Similarly, greetings cards tend to be sent out in the New Year rather than at Christmas. Send your cartes de voeux du nouvel an on or after 1st January.
New Year’s eve is otherwise known as La Sainte-Sylvestre in France, as it’s Saint Sylvestre’s feast day. Perhaps that explains the the country’s focus on fine food and drink during New Year festivities. Many restaurants across the region serve lavish multi-course set menus on New Year’s Eve, followed by seafood lunches paired with fine champagnes on New Year’s Day. Le Figuier de Saint-Espirit has long been a wonderful choice for New Year’s dining right here in Antibes, or if you’d like to venture further from home there are a whole host of exquisite menu options on offer at the various restaurants of Monte Carlo Société des Bains de Mer. Wherever you decide to celebrate, make sure you book in advance!
For an unbeatable countdown to midnight, head to Cannes or Nice. Pop a champagne cork on Promenade de la Croisette in Cannes as a movie-themed firework display lights up the bay, or join the crowds in Place Massena in Nice to welcome in 2019 at midnight.
A new year’s day swim in the Mediterranean isn’t for the faint hearted, but it is a much loved tradition by a group of brave ocean-lovers. They’ll welcome you to join them for very first dip of the year at 11.30am on Salis Beach, otherwise known as le Bain du Jour de l’An.
The music begins at 11am on New Year’s Day in France. Conductor Benjamin Levy invites you on a waltz through time in Juan-Les-Pins’ Palaises Congrès on 1st January 2019, or you can head to the Concert du Nouvel An 2018 at the Acropolis in Nice to enjoy some of the masterpieces of Johann Strauss, led by György G. Ráth. Tickets to the Palaises Congrès are €25 and bookable in advance, whilst the concert at the Acropolis is free and un-ticketed (but seats tend to fill up very early).
Thank you for dipping into our Life.Style journal this year. We can’t wait to share more of our insider knowledge with you throughout 2019!