Have you ever wondered how a typical new eve on the French Riviera looks like? I hope you are now. If so, you are very welcome to keep reading. Be aware: all the conclusions are based on a one-time visit, so what feels typical, it’s not necessarily a must in these regions.
Toulon is a bigger one, among the charmingly small cities on the French Cote d’Azur. It’s a university town and an important one for the navy. Not so bad considering just 150 000 people live there. And if we take a look at the number of bars, cafes and restos, oh boy they livin’ it up.
It’s not exactly the most touristic town that you could find along the coast-line, it also has the real-town feeling. University and center for the marine… remember? Naturally, during New Year’s eve it was a mix between locals and tourists.
But… what are your options?
Same as always. Stay at home and invite some friends or go out to a club/bar/restaurant. People are not really partying on the street. As midnight comes no one rushes out to see the fireworks. Because there are no fireworks. You don’t have any concerts on the main square.
The only thing that happens outside of your friend-bubble at midnight is that ships sound their horn. Now it’s major. We’re living 10 minutes from the Beach, 15 from the marina and you could still hear it. And I mean LOUDLY.
All in all, it was a nice experience.
What is the typical French menu for the new eve? It’s not exactly a bag of chips, glass of coke night for them. So you will start off by eating some fois gras, literally meaning fat liver.
It’s basically an overstuffed duck’s liver. Illegal in most countries outside of France, so it’s a bit like hitting up Amsterdam for the New Eve. Only less exciting. Than you continue with some smoked salmon. You put cream on a piece of blini (some sort of round bread, think of a really thick pancake that is not sweet), than you put the salmon over it. Not complicated. Very tasty. When midnight comes, as everywhere, you gotta pop some champagne. But here it’s very important for it to be the real deal, from the region of Champagne, ‘cause otherwise we’re talking sparkling wine. Which is totally, soooo not the same.
I have been reassured once more that they know how to eat and drink well. And how to enjoy life in general. At least the French people I know.