13 experiences in France for a New Year's Eve to remember

How about a change of scenery to celebrate the arrival of the new year? A night in an igloo or in a barrel, a night-time grape harvest, a torchlight descent, a sound and light show... There are 1001 ways to celebrate New Year's Eve in the right way. Let's get on board for a trip to France's unusual and authentic New Year's Eve celebrations.

Treasure hunt in the gardens of the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, near Paris

Experience an enchanted interlude in the Paris region before your New Year's Eve party. History buffs and theatre lovers will appreciate the end-of-year activities at the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte. On the programme, a playful tour of the gardens in the footsteps of Molière, on the occasion of the 400th anniversary of the French playwright, to discover the writing and staging of the comedy-ballet "Les fâcheux". The castle will also be the scene of an immersive projection in the dome of the Grand Salon on the theme of the Bourgeois Gentilhomme with music by Lully. Animated automatons will also bring the building's décor to life. Let the show begin!

Visit the Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte, near Paris (External link)

Torchlight descent and hot chocolate in the Alps

In need of powder snow, you have no doubt answered the call of the mountains.
The winter sports resorts are organising a series of night-time events during the festive season, culminating in New Year's Eve...

At Corbier, in the Maurienne, the evening of the 31st starts on the slopes. The skiers will be able to enjoy a last run with music before the closing of the slopes before attending the traditional torchlight descent of the instructors while warming up around a hot chocolate to plunge into the festive atmosphere of New Year's Eve. At Les Saisies, a fire show awaits the holidaymakers.
Les Gets, which has been awarded the Famille Plus label, is a gateway for budding skiers with a concert for children on the snow front, a chamallow party and a champomy bar (or champagne bar for parents). For the party people, it's in Tignes with a giant karaoke organised on the snow front, near the lake or in La Rosière where an open air DJ set is planned.

To ski down the slopes of Europe's largest volcano, we opt for Le Lioran, in Auvergne. The Cantal resort in the Massif Central, known for its authenticity and its many fir trees, also offers a torchlight descent followed by a fireworks display.

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (External link)

Hiking, snowshoeing and night in an igloo in the Pyrenees

Mountain adventurers, set off to conquer the snowy peaks and breathtaking landscapes of the Aspe Valley for a New Year's Eve under the snow, far from the urban bustle. On the programme: hike, snowshoes on, from Bedous in the direction of the Crêtes du Somport, set up the base camp and build your igloo for the night, shovels in hand. Count on two hours with the help of an experienced guide. After the evening in the dry room - more or less watered down - you put on your snowshoes for a night out. A natural and sporting start to the year!

Celebrate the end of the year in an igloo in the Pyrenees (External link)

Cross-country skiing and cocooning in the Jura Mountains

In the heart of the Jura massif, the Fourgs plateau is an ode to nature and tranquillity, ideal for cross-country skiing. For a New Year's Eve out of time, let yourself be tempted by a wooden hut from Champagne as a cocoon located at the entrance of a forest and accessible only by ski or snowshoe. An unusual accommodation, La Champagne offers panoramic views of Mont Blanc and Mont d'Or. It's hard to imagine a better backdrop!

Spend New Year's Eve in a wooden hut in the Jura (External link)

Strolling in Villandry

The magic of the châteaux of the Loire Valley can be experienced at any time of the year, but it really comes into its own during the festive season. The Renaissance masterpieces are open on 31 December. At Villandry, you can stroll through the alleys of the formal gardens, littered with lime trees, box trees and ornamental cabbages, before dining in a restaurant located near the château. Le Cheval Rouge offers a dinner in 7 acts. On the menu: avocado shrimp verrine, foie gras marble, lobster with champagne, veal fillet with the scent of truffles... For a glass of rosé champagne facing the Château de Chambord, go to the Grand Saint-Michel (Relais de Chambord).

Visit the gardens of the Château de Villandry, in the Loire Valley (External link)

Unusual island walk under a Breton lighthouse

Forget the countdowns of the big cities and the luminous screens. On Ushant, in Finistère, the rhythm of the beams emitted by the Créac'h lighthouse is what people wait for to usher in the new year. The Kalon-Eusa association is offering islanders and curious visitors a night-time walk led by Ondine Morin, a guide who decodes the language of lighthouses like no one else. The departure is at 11.15pm from the Caraës mill before the champagne is broken at midnight at the foot of the most powerful lighthouse in Europe. A magical walk for lovers of wide open spaces.

Celebrating New Year's Eve in Ushant, Brittany (External link)

Sleeping in a barrel in Normandy

New Year's Eve is a time for unusual experiences. So why not spend the first night of the year in a huge barrel converted into a cosy nest? Head for the Route du Cidre and the Domaine de la Cour au Grip located in the heart of the Normandy countryside. A rejuvenating break 20km from Cabourg. The opportunity to discover the architectural heritage of the mythical seaside resort with its Belle Epoque villas by taking the Promenade Marcel Proust, the longest pedestrian walk in Europe (3.6 km): a nice digestive stroll after New Year's Eve.

Staying at the Domaine de la Cour au Grip, in Normandy (External link)

Harvesting at night in the Gers, in Occitania

7pm in France. While some are struggling to open oysters, others are busy in the vineyards. In Viella, in the Gers, the winegrowers of the Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh (white wine) accompanied by the villagers and visitors of an evening are picking the last grapes, inevitably rich in sugar. The tradition dates back to 1991 when the winegrowers decided to wait until the very end of the year to let the fruit ripen, which had fallen victim to a major frost in the spring. The New Year's Eve harvest is followed by a convivial meal at the Château de Crouseilles. As midnight approaches, the twelve grapes from the last bunch harvested are removed. An unforgettable experience for an original and authentic New Year's Eve.

New Year's Eve harvest in the Gers, Occitania (External link)

Iodine on the Atlantic coast

Want to take to the sea to end the year in style? Plan a fishing trip on stilts near the Saint-Nazaire bridge and the Loire estuary, from La Ligérienne fishery in Saint-Brevin, on the Atlantic coast. Seafood lovers will opt for a tasting of oysters on the beach in Pornic bought at the local market or directly from an oyster farmer like Les Perles de Jade. Tonic!

Fishing trip on stilts in Saint-Brévin, on the Atlantic coast (External link)
Buy oysters from an oyster farmer in Pornic, Les Perles de Jade (External link)

New Year's bath on the Côte d'Azur

Every year, the people of Antibes proudly honour a tradition that was established 20 years ago: the New Year's bath. The appointment is given at 11am on the Salis beach. An invigorating ritual to start the year with fresh ideas after the excesses of New Year's Eve. To avoid any risk of hypothermia, it is advisable to warm up well before taking a dip in water that rarely exceeds 15°C in winter. You also need a lot of courage! For that, you can count on the organisers, the Day One association of Antibes and the encouragement of the onlookers. On your marks, get set, dive in! The day continues with a jazz concert and a fireworks display.

Visit Antibes on the French Riviera (External link)

Gourmet picnic in Corsica in winter

How about taking advantage of the mild Corsican climate to stay in an idyllic setting for New Year's Eve? The Calanques de Piana with their turquoise waters, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, are a popular playground for hikers who love the sea and nature. To combine effort and comfort, take a backpack filled with Corsican specialities to satisfy the one you love. Lonzu sandwich, figatellu terrine, brocciu fritters, chestnut buche... Not very healthy but after all, the 31st is only once a year. And it's so good!

Visit Corsica (External link)

Tasting, dancing and toasting in the Baie de Somme

The Baie de Somme is a restful and relaxing place to reconnect with nature on New Year's Eve. The region has no shortage of places to recharge your batteries and eat to start the New Year with serenity. Located on the cliffside, Le Cize The Originals Relais and its restaurant Le Poisson à Hélices offers a dinner dance on New Year's Eve.
You will have the luxury of admiring the wild and maritime landscapes as far as the eye can see, starting at the mouth of one of the most beautiful bays in the world.

Dinner on a cliffside overlooking the Bay of the Somme at Hotel Le Cize (External link)
Discover the Bay of the Somme, in the Hauts-de-France (External link)

Effervescence and sabrage in Champagne

What could be better than a New Year's Eve in Champagne to enjoy the inevitable fine bubbly beverage? It's the day or never! But you have to master the art. Start with an introductory session on sabrage in the famous village of Ay in the company of an expert. With Experience sabrage, you will also learn how to serve and accompany the champagne before tasting it, in moderation, with Biscuits Roses de Reims. Then it's time to get practical. The region has a number of unusual eco-accommodations on the hillsides, such as Cottages Antoinette, where you can sip a glass on the terrace as the clock strikes midnight. The establishment, made up of wooden houses built on stilts, also offers tastings as well as wellness treatments with an outdoor Jacuzzi facing the vineyard.

Champagne Workshop with Sabrage Experience (External link)
Sleeping in the vineyards with Cottages Antoinette (External link)