Le Réveillon: Christmas Eve Dinner in France and What We are Eating

Christmas decorations for Noël in the town of Valbonne.

réveillon (ray-veh-ohn) noun, masculine

  1. Christmas Eve Dinner, New Year's Eve Dinner, midnight supper
      (réveillon de Noël, reveillon du Nouvel An)
  2. Christmas / New Year's Eve party

Great French-themed books for children, by Catherine Stock:
"A Spree in Paree" and "A Porc in New York". The illustrations are delightful!

                               *     *     *
Today's quote:
Le Père Noël ne fait jamais de réveillon dans sa maison, car il rentre au mois de mai ; ce n'est plus la saison. Santa Claus never has Christmas Eve dinner at his house as he returns in May -- when it's no longer the season. --Francis Blanche

A Day in a French Life...
by Kristin Espinasse

Preparations are underway for tonight's réveillon and, once again, there isn't much for me to do but twiddle thumbs—in between and among twiddling a bit of dust, twiddling together a bit of decor, and twiddling over to our marriage armoire to check on place settings. We'll need 12 this year.

Santa's helpers, disguised as everyday Frenchmen, are here to stir up the savories and sweets. Cousin Audrey is making la soupe de courge with ginger and pears. Uncle Jacques is bringing oysters. My mother-in-law (en route now from Marseilles, along with my oyster-bearer beau-frère) has in her overnight bag her chocolate cake and some homemade "carrot bonbons" (she is also toting smoked salmon and foie gras)...

Jean-Marc is marinating garrigue sanglier for roasting in our cheminée. Aunt Marie-Françoise is bringing her gâteau de marron and soup bowls for her daughter's potage... Aunt Michou (a.k.a. "Michounette"), in from Paris, will surely have in her bag une devinette.

We've friends here from Texas as well: Phyllis and Tim. Twelve jars of peanut butter arrived ahead of them (this, after the last 12 and the 12 before that—enough to twiddle the tastebuds of any expat).

As for me: I am in charge of finding matching napkins, plates, and glasses. Best untwiddle my fingers and toes, and get to that now, illico presto!

"Joyeux Noël à tous et à tous une bonne nuit!"*


le réveillon (m) = Christmas Eve dinner
la soupe (f) de courge = pumpkin soup
le beau-frère (m) = brother-in-law
garrigue sanglier (le sanglier de la garrigue) = wild boar from the Mediterranean scrublands;
la cheminée (f) = fireplace
le gâteau (m) de marron = chestnut cake
le potage (m) = thick soup
la devinette (f) = guessing game (anyone's guess)
illico presto = right away
Joyeux Noël à tous et à tous une bonne nuit! = Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

:: Audio File ::
Listen to Jean-Marc pronounce today's French word and quote:
Le Père Noël ne fait jamais de réveillon dans sa maison, car il rentre au
mois de mai ; ce n'est plus la saison.

Chestnut cake gateau marron
Le gâteau à la crème de marron. Recipe found in this post

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal week after week. If you find value in this website and would like to keep it going strong, I kindly ask for your support by making a donation today. Thank you very much for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1. Paypal or credit card
2. Zelle®, an easy way to donate and there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety