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CHRISTMAS

Why the French face a pricey Christmas dinner this year

Classic French Christmas delicacies have shot up in price this year, thanks to everything from bad weather to bird flu.

Why the French face a pricey Christmas dinner this year
Photo: AFP
Christmas is just around the corner and many families in France are no doubt planning their “réveillon de Noël” (or Christmas dinner). 
 
In France, like in many other countries, the Christmas feast is an all-out event, with families often sparing no expenses on the meal, which typically includes treats like smoked salmon, foie gras, truffles, and giant scallops. 
 
The bad news is that all the above-mentioned foods will see price hikes this year. 
 
 
For starters (perhaps literally…), the per-kilo cost of foie gras is expected to be about €10 higher than it was last Christmas, meaning around €2 more if you buy 200 grams. 
 
While France was only this week placed on high alert due to a recent outbreak of bird flu, the increase in price actually reflects another outbreak last year. 
 
(Olivier Duquesnes/Flickr)
 
Bad news also for truffle fans. The delicacy will see a 38 percent price hike per kilo due to the summer droughts that severely reduced the hauls
 
The shortage was unprecedented in some parts of the country, with truffle hotspots in Dordogne going up to 14 weeks without rain. 
 
The bad news for Christmas food shoppers doesn't stop there. 
 
Salmon is expected to be a whopping 37 percent higher in price due to a drop in production and the French Christmas favourite of coquille Saint-Jacques (king scallops) will be around 8 percent pricier following a harmful algae infestation at one of the largest production farms. 
 
Other French traditional Christmas foods like oysters and snails aren't expected to get any pricier, nor are Christmas turkeys despite the bird flu scares. 
 
Keen to know more about Christmas food in France? Click here for dishes that make up a French Christmas feastBon appétit.
 

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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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