French people love the New Year. They wish family, friends, and strangers a Happy New Year at least three weeks into January. They also say and write things like, ‘Good health to you and your family‘, ‘I wish you prosperity and success in all of your endeavors.‘ It sounds formal and strange in English, but natural in French.
One of my New Year’s resolutions is to draw and paint more. It would be a shame for me to not take advantage of being in such a beautiful city full of life and art! I started the year off right with a sketch of The Kiss by Auguste Rodin. Cyril and I visited the newly renovated Musée de Rodin on Sunday, a little jewel of a museum to check out if you ever visit Paris. (Another one of my New Year’s resolutions is to explore more Paris art museums.)
January in France means two things: la galette de rois and les soldes.
La galette de rois, aka King’s cake, is a heavenly, sweet, flaky pastry traditionally made for the Epiphany, which falls on January 12th. French people love it, and eat it as desert throughout the whole month January. This time of year, the bakery display cases are packed with the pastry and its traditional beverage, sparkling cider. If the galette de rois wasn’t so darn delicious I would get sick of it.
Hidden inside each galette de rois is a little figurine. Whoever finds the figurine in their slice is the ‘King’ for the day and gets to wear a paper crown. In addition, the person who finds the figurine has to buy the next galette, but Cyril’s family only jokes about that part. To make sure that the galette slices are distributed randomly, sometimes the youngest person will go under the table and name the recipient of each slice as indicated by the server.
Cyril is so lucky! He has found the little figurine in his slice all four times we have eaten the galette de rois so far, be it with friends and family or just us two.
Another very French January tradition is les soldes. Les soldes literally means the sales in English. In France, retail sales are regulated by the government. Most stores can only have sales twice a year, during specific periods in winter and summer. During this time, the last season’s stock goes on sale, and after each week, the prices are slashed more and more on remaining merchandise. The winter sales started on January 6th and will go for six weeks. Some people take the day off of work with their friends for the first day of the sales to snatch up the deals, because the clothes and sales items fly off the shelves. Many people buy most of their clothes during the sales. Normal people also tend to splurge during this time to buy designer items on sale. (Parisians love haute fashion, even if they can’t afford it.)
Of course, when in Rome do as the Romans; I used a gift card I received from Cyril’s mother to buy a pair of shoes. Thanks Danielle!
Bonne année a tous!
À la prochaine:)