In France, New Year’s Eve is La Reveillon de Saint-Sylvestre and is celebrated much like everywhere in the world, with friends and family and champagne and oysters. Do consider having an inexpensive New Year’s Eve in Paris with oysters and champagne followed by a visit to see the shimmering Eiffel Tower as it strikes midnight. It will be a memorable way to celebrate.
Inexpensive New Year’s Eve In Paris
While you could go to a restaurant, getting a reservation may be difficult and like other places around the world, you’ll be paying a premium. Whether you’re in a hotel room or a rented apartment, doing oysters and champagne is definitely doable and can be much less expensive than going out for dinner and can be equally enjoyable.
Where To Purchase Your Oysters And Champagne In Paris
If you’re wondering why the French love oysters, especially to celebrate, check out Mireille Guiliano’s wonderful book, called, “Meet Paris Oyster”, which explores Parisian’s love affair with oysters. She is the author of “French Women Don’t Get Fat” and goes into detail about where to find the best oysters in the world, what wine to drink with them, and also provides a number of oyster recipes.
While we did not go to Huîtrerie Régis, which is in Guiliano’s book, my friend Laurie did pick up a couple of dozen from the nearby seafood restaurant. When you’re celebrating New Year’s Eve, even in a hotel room, oysters are doable because they do takeout! They’ll shuck the oysters for you and provide the mignonette, which is the shallot/vinegar sauce that accompanies the oysters.
For our dinner, we had oysters, steak, roasted potatoes, vegetables, wine, and champagne. We picked all the other necessities near our apartment in the 5th arrondissement. Place Maubert is a square at 47 Boulevard Saint-Germain that has a high concentration of superb merchants where we got everything we needed. There’s produce, meat (excellent roasted chickens), wine, a bread, and cheese shops. Worth noting are these three exceptional merchants:
Le Cuvier: they have an excellent selection of wine, beer and spirts and we picked up our wine and champagne here. (They are part of the “Le Repaire de Bacchus” chain).
Fromagerie Laurent Dubois: which has the best cheese in Paris (I’m not just saying this. More than just a ‘cheese shop’, Laurent Dubois has been awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF), which is the “Best Craftsman of France”, the highest designation and recognition for a cheese monger.
La Maison d’Isabelle: pastries and breads. It won the 2018 award for best butter croissant in Paris (1er Prix 2018 du Meilleur Croissant au Beurre de Paris et Ile-de-France). I bought two and they were BIG and buttery!
New Year’s Eve Celebrations At The Eiffel Tower
At about 10:00 pm, we walked to the Eiffel Tower area to watch the light show, toasting the New Year with champagne. Sadly there are no fireworks and you cannot stand beneath the Eiffel Tower as the area is blocked off. We started at Esplanade du Trocadero, overlooking the Eiffel Tower, but it was too packed. The weather in December/January is unpredictable and as luck would have it, it was raining. To get away from the crowds and to get a better view of the Eiffel Tower, we headed to the Pont de Bir-Hakeim bridge.
This bridge has the advantage of being a covered, open bridge which was perfect as it protected us from the rain but we had a perfect (uncrowded) view of the Eiffel Tower light show. We could also see the fireworks celebration in the distance (it takes place near the Arc de Triomphe). The light show was lovely and afterwards we walked back to our apartment. It was faster than trying to get through the crowds on the Metro.
[If you’d like to celebrate with a classic cocktail, consider making the French 75. It has gin, champagne, lemon, and sugar. Here’s the recipe.]