New Year’s Eve French vocabulary and expressions

Dear Readers! The new year’s eve party is approaching, and we know that you will be calling your French friends and congratulating them. As such, we will see in these articles some vocabulary and expressions, with their meanings and examples, to help you know how to congratulate them, talk about your New Year’s Eve plans and activities. 


Manger un plat de foie gras

Meaning: French people have the tradition of eating “foie gras” on New Year’s Eve. It is a specialty food product made of the liver of a duck or goose

Example: le plat de foie gras est pret. (the foie gras dish is ready.)

Avoir un cocktail 

Meaning: On New Year’s Eve, you can have a cocktail with your loved ones and friends. This might be alcohol, wine, or just a Pina Colada. 

Example: Ils ont eu un cocktail. (They had a cocktail.)

Compte à rebours 

Meaning: People all over the world would count from 10 to 0 on New Year’s Eve. This is called in French “Compte à rebours”.

Example: La cérémonie démarre avec un compte à rebours. (The ceremony starts with a countdown.)

Regarder les illuminations

Meaning: On New Year’s Eve, we can just sit down with our friends and watch FIREWORKS.

Example: Lors du spectacle, le public admire les illuminations colorées. (During the show, the public admires the colourful illuminations)


accrocher des guirlandes

Meaning: a wreath of flowers and leaves, worn on the head or hung as a decoration.

Example: I stretched the bell strings from tower to tower;  garlands from window to window. (Friday’s win over the Houston Texans was a nail biter)

Une étoile = a star

Meaning: decorate or cover with star-shaped marks or objects.

Example: Brille brille petite étoile. (Shine, you little star)

Une bougie = a candle

Meaning: a stick-shaped piece of wax with a wick in the middle of it that produces light as it slowly burns

Example: J’allume une bougie? (Shall I light a candle?)

les lumières

Meaning: decorative illuminations.

Example: Que toutes les lumières des fêtes de fin d’année illuminent toutes vos journées. (May all the lights of the holiday season brighten all your days.)


«Joyeuse fête de fin d’année»

Meaning: This is the most common and used expression to congratulate someone on New Year’s Eve. It means literally “happy New Year’s party”

Example: Joyeuses fêtes de fin d’année, je vous souhaite tout le bonheur du monde. (Happy New Year’s Eve, I wish you all the happiness of the world)


Meaning: this expression means “to the next year”. 

Example: Ils ont dit: “A L’ANNÉE PROCHAINE !” . (They said, “See you next year!”)


Meaning: We say this expression to ask about someone’s plans for the next year (next year’s resolutions)

«A un nouveau chapitre»

Meaning: The new year is a chance for everyone to “start a new chapter”. This is a commonly used expressions in French

Example: Célébrons ce nouveau chapitre. (Let’s celebrate this new chapter.)

Now, you know how to talk about New Year’s decoration and the most important expressions to say to your loved ones. You also know how to talk about your plans for the party, so make sure to use them.

You can also book a free session with one of our teachers to practice them in context. Have a “joyeuse fête de fin d’année”.