What do the French eat at Christmas?

The main Christmas meal is called The Reveillon and consists of luxurious and the more extravagant foods found in France.

The Reveillon meal is normally eaten late on Christmas Eve – it is a nighttime celebration served after midnight – the word comes from reveiller which means awaken as this meal involves staying awake after midnight! Champagne is served with the aperitif and good French wines to complement each course are served throughout the meal…

In 20 years of spending christmas with various french friends we have never had a meal that started after midnight! Generally start at normal’ish time for a celebratory meal, around 8 or 9pm, and go on until whenever.

Do you really only start at midnight?

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I would say the origins of The traditional Reveillon were to start late evening - but you’re right I’ve never eaten that late with french friends either!

You are supposed to go to mass (fasting, obv) and then come home and feast.


That has a logic to it… however the people I know who do go to mass either go after eating (leaving a gap of an hour or so), or go to the children’s mass which is usually around 6pm here.

Loved learning this! Thanks for sharing!

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We were asked by a neighbour… can I cadge a lift to midnight Mass… yes, of course, we replied.

On the evening itself… we dined as usual and around 10pm we set off for Church… Mum says to bring you round to her place after wards… OK… thankyou…

Mass was the usual good ambiance and we set off for his Mum’s home around 11.30pm… she was running ahead…:roll_eyes::roll_eyes:

We get there to find the place decked out for a full banquet… aperos followed by course, after course… how I cursed the shepherd’s pie we had consumed with such zeal some hours earlier…:zipper_mouth_face::zipper_mouth_face:

Around 3am we managed to extricate ourselves from the festivities… and trundled quietly home… leaving the rest of them enjoying themselves… phew… we slept late into Christmas Day and never caught sight of Santa Claus :wink::wink::wink::hugs:


I obviously don’t have good catholics amongst my friends then!


:grinning::grinning: Church is packed on Christmas Eve… a real mixed-bag… family and friends who are down from Paris or up from Montpelier… that sort of thing… plus the regular mob …and many locals who only turn out for this one event…

OH is definitely not religious but still takes me there and joins in the carols…:hugs:

Christmas in our country area is very special… celebrated until very late Christmas Eve/early Christmas morn… and then the place is more of less deserted on Christmas Day itself… presumably sore heads and a bit of heartburn…:wink::zipper_mouth_face::open_mouth:

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Pleasure, I love the French way and that eating good food is so important!

I have since asked around other French friends and it does seem to be the tradition to eat after Mass - although the families with children seem to modify a bit!

I think the question was “What” , rather than “When”
Reveilloner means “Staying up all night” !!

Oysters and other Sea Food
Foie Gras & divers Charcuteries
Turkey, or Venison, or even a Leg of Goat
Cheeses of all kinds
Desserts - in Provence , I think there should be more than half a dozen
Chocolate Truffles - Nuts - Fruit

And , the all served with the many wonders of France in bottles !
Bon Appetit , et Joyeux Noêl !

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We eat 13 desserts in Provence. Some of them you wouldn’t think of as desserts exactly. You have them with the Gros Souper, all v traditional and cosy and not like what they do elsewhere.