It will come as no surprise to anyone that the French celebrate New Year's Eve with a big meal, or réveillon. Most restaurants offer a special -- and usually expensive -- menu for the occasion, but in Aveyron a lot of people ring in the New Year with catered meals in village halls, or salles des fêtes. My friends, though, usually organize home-based New Year's Eve parties, and my family often has to choose between several possible venues. This year we decided to réveillonner in our village with four other families.
The New Year's Eve meal is one of the only occasions where the French readily adopt the principle of everyone contributing to the meal, partly because of time constraints, but mainly due to the cost of the fine foods involved. Don't imagine it's a potluck, though -- the menu is coordinated down to the last detail, with each family responsible for one or two courses.
Our party started at 7:30pm and we were the second family to leave at 4:00 am. This is considered a reasonable finishing time; many réveillons continue until well into the daylight hours.
The complete menu of this year's celebration will appear on my food blog: Cuisine Quotidienne.