Birthday Celebrations in France

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Hamori family france
Dancing Queens at French birthday party
Christophe of Capestang
Christophe The Birthday Boy

To our family friend Christophe, ‘Happy Birthday to you!’

‘Happy 10th Birthday to Sebastian too!’

After our friend’s wedding on Saturday afternoon, we joined Christophe and Beatrice for their family celebration!

Christophe turned 50, their son turned 10 over the weekend, and they joined the parties together and rented out the Montels town hall where Christophe works.

Montels is 5 minutes away from Capestang and the joke is they have more cats than people.

Once the town’s school, now the building is their community hall for weddings, parties and social events. With beautiful old details, a house for the teacher above and pretty courtyard, made the scenery match the special event.

The views from the windows are beautiful and you can see the marshy E’tang and the open fields on two sides of the old school house. It is picturesque and typical southern French countryside.

We have been to many house parties with this lovely family and others of French decent. An archetypal French party starts after 8:00pm with snacks and drinks served once arrived. The music steadily gets louder as the people start to get louder and conversation that is more interesting and lively could be heard.

Until the sun went down, the kids were running around playing freely. The patio lanterns switched on when the sun tipped over the horizon. They served the meal.

Interesting point, the further south you go along the Mediterranean Sea, the later and later you have dinner. In Capestang, it is usually between 9:30-10:30 that people eat their supper and it takes an hour to an hour and a half to finish. With the siesta in the warmer areas being longer in the hotter weather and lunch being taken two hours later down towards Spain, typically between 14:00-16:00, it only makes sense that after the sun goes down and people cool off, would they be ready for an evening meal. I hear Spain dinner is around midnight.

When we first arrived in France we had our evening meals at the same time as in Canada at 17:30 when most people had barely finished up their lunch dishes or afternoon snack with their children. Slowly we noticed that us too changed our ways and served up dinner closer to 19:00 each night. Now that summer has arrived and the kids are out of school, we feed the kids closer to 20:00 and right after they go down for bed. When in Rome! On the other hand, when in Capestang!

All of us had prearranged seating and we took our places at the decorated tables. There were about 60 of us including the children. Honoured to be placed at Christophe and Beatrice’s head table, we enjoyed the conversation of the others close by.

The food was fancy cold salads and cured salamis and meats with unlimited wine and for dessert cheese plates with apple and lemon tart. French food is so simple and good, no wonder so many people travel here to sample the culinary palate of France. I have grown quite a taste for pates and couscous, paired with red wine. And although not a sweet tooth, the semi sweet desserts served after dinner is such a treat, even I could not resist.

After the meal was served, the kids made their way to the dance floor, showing their shy and silly moves. Shorty after the women started to dance with them in groups enjoying the great music played by the hired DJ.

Alfonz took for me for a spin around the dance floor at one point and even Daniel, Angelina and Adrian each made their way up on stage to cut the rug.

After that no idea.

The rest of our French birthday celebration is a blur…