In the second installment of her new “French Connections” series for France 24, Florence Villeminot covers the finer points of wishing people a “bonne année” throughout January.
Unlike the United States, it’s considered gauche (and bad luck) to wish anyone a “happy new year” in France before the new year has begun. In America, of course, we tend to wish people a merry Christmas or a happy holidays, throwing in happy new year as a little value-added bonus. On the absolute first day of the new year, it’s bonne année to tout le monde; after that, you’ll spend the rest of January wishing friends, family, and coworkers the same, but not strangers.
This, of course, becomes tangled up with la bise, which has been a point of contention among the expatriate community in France lately. Villeminot throws in a visual demonstration of the Parisian bise and covers the galette des rois for good measure. You can view the entire segment on France 24’s website.