Updated: Mar 15
On New Year's Eve day, we decided that it would be a good idea to go to the Horse for a giraffe.
It was late afternoon, and we were just back from the Champs-Élysées, where, by 3 pm, the people were already shoulder to shoulder, and anticipation for the new year was electric. Walking along the boulevard, we heard every imaginable language spoken. Paris was bursting at the seams with tourists who wanted to bring in the New Year in the city of light.
On the metro ride home, packed in with all of the other tourists, we watched as young couples from all over the world practiced kissing in preparation for midnight.
Back at the Horse, we made a few new
friends when we offered glasses of beer from our giraffe to neighboring customers. Conversations with other travelers are always fun, and we asked everyone where they were planning to be at midnight. It seems that Paris attracts people, and most of them had no pre-planned ideas of where they would be as 2001 rolled around. It was enough to be in Paris.
On the recommendation of a Parisian friend, we made reservations at what she referred to as a traditional French restaurant in our neighborhood. We wondered whether that was the right choice. Would we regret missing the activities at la tour Eiffel, Place de la Concorde, or on the Champs-Élysées?
La Petite Cour is an elegant restaurant, where we enjoyed a fabulous 7-course dinner with spectacular wines. We were happy as the hands of the clock approached midnight, but we still wondered if we should get the check and head out to celebrate with everyone in the streets of Paris. We had walked to dinner in a hail storm, but maybe the weather had improved. The couple at the table next to us got up and left at about 11:30. Should we go too? We were so cozy that we decided a quiet, delicious dinner with family was enough for us. Midnight came, and we exchanged toasts and kisses.
Suddenly, all of the waiters came out from the kitchen in a long line, and holding trays over their heads; they marched around the room delivering a party sack to each diner.
In an instant, this very French, very fancy restaurant was like a high school cafeteria on the last day before summer vacation. The mood went from subdued to playful as the quiet background music changed to disco, and everyone donned silly hats and blew their horns and noisemakers.
The fun began as everyone found the best toy of all in their sacks, the 21st-century version of the peashooter, with little Styrofoam balls the size of marbles. These small colored bullets began flying through the air like confetti. Feeling something hit us in the head, we would turn to see a sophisticated smiling couple waving and laughing, very proud of their direct hit.
A conga line started weaving its way through the restaurant, the music was good, and soon everyone was hopping up to join the other dancers. We felt sorry for the couple who had decided to leave just before midnight because they missed the fun. We danced, followed along with the woman leading the Macarena, blew our horns, scored hits across the room with our peashooters, and enjoyed being silly in such an elegant setting.
Walking home through the streets of Paris in the early hours of the morning, it was cold, but there was no hail, and we giggled our way back to the hotel full of good food, wine, and fun.
We think that our New Year's Eve party in Paris has set just the right tone for the year 2001. We hope to have a happy and playful year, and we hope that you do too.
BONNE ET HEUREUSE ANNÉE