Christmas Eve: Le Réveillon de Noël

At this festive time of the year, I enjoyed a French Christmas Eve dinner, known as “Le Réveillon” – a typical family-center meal that started with “amuses-bouches” (hors d’oeuvres) and champagne, followed by a delicious, six-course meal with a “pause cadeaux” (a break to open gifts) before the main course was served.  The evening festivities lasted from 8 p.m. to around 1:30 a.m. (dinner started at around 9:30 p.m.), with lively conversations and discussions about politics, wine, food, and an update on personal family topics –  a truly magical evening!

table decorations


Foie gras toasts, endive stuffed with cheese, smoked salmon, salmon eggs


table setting

des huitres

Traditional: Fresh oysters on the half shell

Raw scallops with mango & cilantro

Raw scallops with mango & cilantro

Pumpkin soup with croutons & pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin soup with croutons & pumpkin seeds

Risotto with shrimp, asparagus, and cheese straw

Risotto with shrimp, asparagus, and cheese straw

De-boned pigeon baked in a pastry crust with foie gras sauce

De-boned pigeon baked in a pastry crust with foie gras sauce

Buche de Noel - fruits rouges

Traditional: Buche de Noel (fruits rouges)

Buche de Noel - Black Forest

Traditional: Buche de Noel (Black Forest)

yule log cakes

Yule Log Cake:  “The origins of this most famous and delicious of French pastries can be traced back to the ancient Celtic tradition of celebrating the winter solstice. On this day, the shortest of the year, the Celts would search for a large trunk of either oak, beech, elm or cherry and would burn it. The burning log was a symbol of the rebirth of the sun as well as an offering of thanks to the sun for returning to the earth.”

Source: French Today

8 thoughts on “Christmas Eve: Le Réveillon de Noël

  1. Marina says:

    Merry Christmas!

  2. colormusing says:

    Ooh, everything looks beautiful and delicious! Joyeux Noel!!

  3. Merci – wishing you a happy new year!

  4. What a fabulous feast, and all so beautifully presented. That’s one of the things that I love about France, food is as much as feast for the senses as for the pallette and you have certainly created this here.

    What a wonderful time you must have had. Sorry I missed it!!

  5. It was a really nice evening with a smaller family group this year, so more intimate somehow.

  6. says:

    Hi Kim,

    We are now in Menton…enjoying your blog posts while we look for yet another apartment to rent short term, likely here. We apply for the OFII carte de sejour in Nice, we hope this month. So enjoyed Provence pour Noel. Loved your pretty postings of Nice in this festive time! I rec. your blog to Susan Spleth, another American we met recently and encouraged to check out S. France. We have been renting gites and apts since arriving just in mid November from Colorado. Sounds like Susan landed an apt. near the port area in Nice last week…eager to hear the details and see her again.

    Looking to “downsize” to a studio likely in Menton if we can manage to get the monthly rate vs. the weekly rate instead now. Hope to negotiate a bit with an owner on the price since still low season, take it for a month or so. We love Antibes and Nice as well, just thought we would try Menton to switch things up. The weekly rates really are adversely affecting our budget now that we have moved f.t. to France and hope to start an internet biz in the near future.

    Sure hope the OFII office doesn’t mind that we wish to apply in Nice now, since our year long letter of housing from friends in Orleans with required electric bills. Any experience with that? We could probably also submit a letter from Susan with her address as temporary as we plan to explain we are in the South for now…but it was to be honest, sooo much simpler to just ask our friends of so many years to do the letter for housing for the CA French Consulate.

    I plan to offer small tours and retreats for women as well as perhaps consult a bit if at all possible and even teach or provide counseling on the side. None of which is covered on our current “retired status” visas bien sur!

    Wishing you a truly wonderful, fun, happy and healthy new year. We may be coming to Nice this week or weekend for the day…if time perhaps you can join us (and Susan) for a coffee or if not this time, another time? It would be lovely to meet you. Thanks for your encouragement along our path! Great to finally realize the dream of moving to France. I lived in France for a time during grad school, been visiting ever since. Now to somehow limit my intake of pastries. Must hang that bathing suit up on the closet door as a reminder that it isn’t that far off to summer! Such gorgeous weather today wasn’t it? Enjoy!

    We are hoping to find the new film, Anna Karina in v.o. showing in Nice. Not yet, it seems. Appears it may be in Cannes.

    All the best. Much continued success in your blogging and all of your pursuits. It really is a labor of love, yet hard work as well, writing…

    I would like to do a bit of writing and blogging at some point, for now we are busy looking into opening a bank account and other matters it seems.

    I did hear from a school in Nice some months ago about a p.t. position teaching English. When I asked if the school was able to obtain a work permit for me, the reply was rather vague. Presumed with so many teachers locally looking for work, this would not be doable unless there was a position at say the Intl. School in Sophie Antopolis. I had also been in touch with them re: a counseling vacancy. I do think my heart leans toward creating my own businesses at this time in my life though.

    Thanks for the fun and informative posts, lovely photos.

    Best regards, Hope to meet up soon.

    Sandy Sweeney Portable: 06 67 81 80 38 We also have Skype.

    • Hi Sandy – Good luck with all the details of getting settled and finding work – suggest you look into the biz setup status of autoentrepreneur – an all around good biz structure! I would love to meet up with you (and Susan), so just let me know where and when you’ll be in Nice – you can email me at and we can set up skyping from there too. A bientot!

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