Back in Paris, and saying Bonne année to everyone I haven't seen since before the New Year. As I have mentioned before, it is not done in France to wish someone Happy New Year until after the dangerous cap has safely been passed. But afterwards, you must say it to everyone, from the baker to the grocery store cashier to the postman. Our concierge, who is a charming Columbian, actually kissed me on both cheeks as she wished me Bonne année. I like to think it was only partly because of the étrennes [yearly tip].
The French have the very sensible custom of sending New Year's cards instead of Christmas cards, so you actually have time to write them. Today I got an impressive one from someone I knew as a little girl: it came from the Ministry of the Interior. Regarde!