Christmas in France – a time of festivity and celebration, good food, good wine and champagne, family and friends, lights and trees, fun and indulgence.
We asked the writers at The Good Life France how they would be spending Christmas in France – it won’t surprise you to discover the gastronomic delights of their adopted country featured high on the list!
Roger St Pierre: Slurping oysters!
Lucy Pitts: Chillin’! And drinking, eating, walking and then eating and drinking some more! Not very original but hugely enjoyable.
Kirsten McKintosh: It will be a quiet family Christmas in Collioure. For the children (of all ages) the Christmas fair at the Chateau Royal is just magical. I plan to drink my body weight in vin chaud and uphold most British Christmas traditions in our little corner of France.
Susie Woodhams: The family tradition is to spend it in Arcachon, where we see friends, eat oysters and foie gras and other “gastronomique” treats, and walk by the water. With any luck, the sun will be strong and warm, and we’ll get a nice tan on the terrace.
Linda Matthieu: I will be in Paris for Christmas having already been in the States to visit family for Thanksgiving. I will be spending Christmas Eve with my husband’s children which is a sit down dinner – very traditional.
Marilyn Catchpole-Dossat: If I’m in France for Christmas I’ll be in Clermont Ferrand with Yves my husband, enjoying a big family meal with at least 20 adults around the table on Xmas Eve. There’ll be too much food and champagne but the next day we’ll be opening the presents with the children and taking long walks in preparation for the next session. There’s loads to do in Clermont Ferrand – at night there are the fabulous lights and Xmas market by the Cathedral – plus the big wheel and an enormous Norwegian Pine in the town square – loads of atmosphere.
Amanda J Fisher: Skiing I hope (because France is still the best value, easily accessible and most enjoyable winter sports destination I know)…
Honor Marks: I’ll be at home in Languedoc-Roussillon eating Turkey and definitely doing all things British but they are more special here cos you can’t get half the stuff and that makes it more challenging! However I may nod a bit to French traditions and eat some oysters if I get a chance!
Donna Kerridge: Celebrating the 25th with friends, and being grateful that in France, it is a one day, highly indulgent celebration and not a three week long excuse to over-eat and slob out.
Evelyn Jackson: I will be right here in my little village. I will have aperos with friends on Christmas Eve and spend Christmas Day evening on Skype! I’ve been saving some foie gras and maigrets of duck that I prepared myself under the instruction of my French friend, Christiane. I will put together a lovely meal with them for Christmas Day. Being far from family (and grandchildren) is the only down side about living in France. My group of friends will probably have a big Reveillon dinner on New Year’s Eve.
Susana Iwase Hanson: We will either go to my in-laws’ in Normandy for Christmas or to friends’ in the Cote d’Azur and take walks on the beach near Cannes. It’s pretty quiet in our village that week so best to get away. Cannes has the best Christmas market that goes on well into January!
Margo Leszt: Normally we go away for Christmas, but this year, I think we will stay in Nice. We will check out the nearby hill towns to see what kind of Christmas events they have going on. On Christmas day, we will probably go to the ballet in Nice and then to one of the big hotels on the seafront for Christmas dinner.
Alecia Caine: I’ll be home in California for Christmas,where its warm! But if I were in France, I’d want to be in Paris. This city goes all out with extravagant light displays and if its cold outside you can sip a nice hot chocolate at Angelina’a or spend the day in a museum.
Heather Tyler: If I was there, I would be strolling up the lovely Avenue des Champs-Elysées all decked out for Christmas, happily enveloped in the aromas of mulled wine, cinnamon, nutmeg, gingerbread and roasting chestnuts
Paola Westbeek: I won’t be in France for Christmas Day but I might pop into Lille for a day to do some Christmas shopping!
Donna Faulkner: We will be spending Christmas at home here in France with family.
Jill Barth: If I were in France for Christmas, I’d gather my family and roam the marché de Noël (Christmas market). I love the image of us together on a dazzling little street with our baskets filled with small treats, decorations and gifts from the local market.
Janine Marsh: I’ll be up early as usual to feed the chickens, ducks, geese and let the cats and dogs out. Then I’ll be making Oeufs en Cocotte for breakfast which Paola, our Queen of French Cuisine showed me how to make. Take the dogs to the beach for a walk while my turkey from Licques is cooking and in the evening go for a walk with the dogs round the village and say hello to anyone and everyone we see! I love walking round the village, whisps of smoke comes from chimneys on the little old houses, the branches glisten from the light shed from the only three street lights in our village, the air smells smokey and sweet, plastic santas hang from windows and gutters, ducks quack in gardens as we walk by, cows and horses come to the fences to greet us, then home to a roaring fire. In France the day after Christmas is a work day so we don’t usually have a very late night – we save that for New Year’s Eve!