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FESTIVE FAUX PAS

CHRISTMAS

Rules for partying with the French at Christmas

With plenty of festive lunches, dinners and parties ahead, here's a list of tips to ensure you have a jolly old time with your French in-laws or friends without making a massive fool of yourself this Christmas.

Rules for partying with the French at Christmas
Dos and don'ts for partying with the French this Christmas/Photo: Drunk Santa photo

It's that time of year again, but how to get through the festive season without committing a major faux pas?

Remembering the details of French social etiquette can be hard enough as it is, but all the Christmas dinners and parties really put the pressure on.

To make sure you avoid major festive slip ups, we've gathered a range of tips that should help you navigate the Christmas season successfully.

Whether it's what to bring or indeed what not to bring, or how to act around your French hosts or respecting centuries-old superstitions about polka dot dresses and knives, these tips should keep you in line, for the most part.

The Local bears no legal responsibility if you do make a massive festive faux pas. But we'd love to hear about it.

CLICK HERE for ten dos and don'ts partying with the French this Christmas

by Simone Flückiger

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WEATHER

Will anywhere in France get a white Christmas this year?

A white Christmas might be at the top of many people's festive wish list but will it actually come true for anyone in France this year?

Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France.
Haut-Koenigsbourg castle in Orschwiller, eastern France. Non-mountainous parts of the country will not see snow this year. (Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG / AFP)

If you’re in France and have been dreaming of a white Christmas, you are probably out of luck. 

It has been freezing in recent days with temperatures falling to a low of -33.4C in Jura on Wednesday morning, but the cold spell isn’t going to last. 

Temperatures across the country will hover around the 10C level in most of France by the afternoon on December 25th according to Météo France, with parts of the country including Brittany and some parts of eastern France experiencing rainfall. 

By the afternoon on Christmas Day, the chances of snow look extremely limited. Source: www.meteofrance.com

On Saturday, there will be some snowfall, but only if you are high in the mountains at an altitude of 1,800-2,000m. On Sunday, places above 1,500m could also see snow – but this rules out the vast majority of the country. 

Roughly half the country will see sunshine over the weekend. The French weather channel said that this Christmas could be among the top five or six warmest since 1947. 

Last year, Météo France cautioned: “While we often associate snow with Christmas in the popular imagination, the probability of having snow in the plains [ie not in the mountains] during this period is weak in reality.”

One of the last great Christmas snowfalls, outside of France’s mountainous areas, came in 2010 when 3-10 cm of snow fell in Lille, Rouen and Paris. In Strasbourg, 26cm fell. 

On Christmas Day in 1996, 12 cm of snow fell in Angers – ironically, this was also the day that the film, Y’aura t’il de la neige à Noël? (Will there never be snow at Christmas?) was released. It had been ten years since France had seen such snowfall outside of the Alps and Pyrenees. 

Météo France directly attributes declining rates of Christmas snowfall to climate change. Compared to 50 years ago, even the Alps receives the equivalent one less month of snowfall per year. 

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