French Newsletter December 2023

Our NZ Bird of the Century is done and dusted, but voting is open for the French « Arbre de l’année 2023 », the 2023 Tree of the Year ! Fourteen individual trees (not a particular species) have been nominated.

And, shades of John Oliver and the puteketeke, it would appear anyone in the world can vote ! Only one vote per person, but you must do so before 18th December 2023. DO it NOW.
Here’s the link:

I am in no way launching an ‘alarmingly aggressive’ campaign for a particular tree, I promise. However, do have a look  and do vote !

  • Our Tree in the Jardin des Tuileries, Paris

While on the topic of trees, our tree in the Jardin des Tuileries has been very encouraged by the numerous Antipodean visitors to Paris who have stopped to say « Bonjour ».We have seen the tree in all seasons.  When it gets a bit bigger, maybe we’ll be able to nominate it for « L’Arbre de l’année » ?

I have just seen that the lifestyle farm that is the home of Te Puke Truffles is for sale. The current owners are moving further south.

Find out more about Te Puke truffles:

Small group classes will be starting up again in January. You will be making baguettes, brioche & other breads. Separate class for sourdough baking. Weekday or Saturday groups, usually 9am – 1-1.30pm. Morning tea and lunch provided. The cost is $40 per person with all monies donated to Parkinson’s Research.
If you’re interested, contact me :  Phone: 578 9416

The programme is out for the 15th to 17th March 21st WOMAD Festival. Artists from around the globe will be converging on New Plymouth for a phenomenal weekend of cultural diversity. These include several with French and Francophone connections: – Baaba Maal (Senegal), Braxe + Falcon (France), Moonlight Benjamin (Haiti-France) and Tio (Vanuatu).

For festival details:

FFF – “Fly Funky Fly” -the fun card game for all the family

Looking for a great Christmas gift ? Fancy catching some flies ?
The « Fart Fly » loves your horse manure! -The « Fishing fly » eats the remains of your fish and chips! -The « Flat fly » is a LEGEND – the Serial Fly Catcher missed her.  Each card tells a quick, quirky story. Combine your strategy skills with a bit of luck and play this hilarious card game.
The game was invented by ‘les Dubois’, a French family with 2 young sons living in Whakamaramara.  Each member used their particular skills as they together developed the game, which was inspired by a nightmarish period in France when they were invaded by flies.
Le jeu s’inspire de notre histoire en France. Nous étions envahis de mouches : un cauchemar qui nous a apparemment marqué à vie !!  Mon fils (9 ans) a eu l’idée de créer un jeu de cartes et mon ainé (12 ans) à dessiner chaque carte. Mon mari est le joker du jeu “the serial fly catcher” et je suis le project manager! » says Audrey.

For more info and to grab a game, contact Audrey Dubois:
Phone :022 502 1671
Website :
Facebook : @fffcardgame –
Email :

Benny & Brew – le café-bistrot français d’Otumoetai

Last tapas Friday 22nd December before they close for the Christmas holidays! Call or message them on 0273506315 to book.
Still the place for great coffee, awesome brunch and tasty French food with good vibes… Great galettes, and crème brulée to die for.
Open Tues-Sun from 8am – 2.30pm.

Come get your fix before the Christmas break
The café will be closed from Sunday 24th December, re-opening Wednesday 3rd January.
Bon appétit !

Chez Moi Chocolaterie

Chez Moi – The Swiss Chocolate Shop is in Waihi Beach.

Pop into Chez Moi and meet Ines, la chocolatière Suisse, and her fabulous Christmas cards. Opening Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10am – 4pm (Sunday to 3pm) but do check.

Address: 29 Wilson Road, Waihi Beach
Phone: 027 372 4093

Dites-le avec le chocolat.  Say it with chocolate.

Painting Nights with Audrey

Coming up in 2024: monthly adult classes on Fridays 6pm-9pm
Le 19 janvier, “Beautiful  Eyes” Pop art
Le 16 fevrier, “Chilly Time” Painting night
Le 15 mars, Watercolour Painting night

Le 19 avril, Drawing pencil Painting night

Children’s classes during the holidays. Check out the website for details:

Contact Audrey: or ph 022 502 1671

Skydive Tauranga

Fall for Tauranga, the most beautiful tandem skydive in the North Island of NZ.
Tandem jump with Guillaume and you can do it all in French (or English).
New vocab (and sensations) guaranteed.
Give Guillaume a call on 07 574 8533 or book online at!

More « Bonnes Adresses »

If you are looking for an osteopath, a professional arborist, a mobile barber or want cornrows, braids or hair extensions, have a look on There are Bay of Plenty French residents who offer such services. You will also find a couple of businesses, Gourmet Trader and Vetro, that sell French products, food and cooking utensils that could be a solution for your end of year celebrations.

You will have noticed, no doubt, that the Rialto Tauranga and Tivoli Papamoa cinemas have changed ownership and been rebranded Luxe Cinemas. The aim of the new owners is to create a refreshed and luxurious movie going experience, while still holding on to everything you loved about the two theatres.
They have succeeded. Don’t wait for a rainy day. Their films are great and nothing beats a big screen.
There is one website where you can see what is showing or coming soon in both Tauranga and/or Papamoa.
Over the holiday period, they are closed on Christmas Day only.
French interest movies currently showing : Napoleon, and Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde, with Two Tickets to Greece programmed for 26th December.
Remember also, watch any movie at Luxe Cinemas during December, January and February and be in to win the Golden Ticket ! The Golden Ticket holder will be able to watch as many movies as they like free of charge for one whole year !

Napoleon is a spectacle-filled action epic that details the checkered rise and fall of the iconic French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Against a stunning backdrop of large-scale filmmaking orchestrated by legendary director Ridley Scott, the film captures Bonaparte’s relentless journey to power through the prism of his addictive, volatile relationship with his one true love, Josephine, showcasing his visionary military and political tactics against some of the most dynamic practical battle sequences ever filmed. (In English)
Trailer :

Jack Mimoun and the Secrets of Val Verde (Jack Mimoun & les secrets de Val Verde)
Indiana Jones meets Monty Python in this hilarious comedy adventure. Having found fame as a modern-day Robinson Crusoe by seemingly surviving alone on the desolate tropical island of Val Verde, French action adventurer Jack Mimoun, has made a name for himself as an adventure star. With a best-selling book, television show and stellar reputation – Jack appears to be the man of the moment. Unfortunately, his on-screen persona, the ‘Survivor of Hell’ is all a giant fabrication…

Les Cyclades (Two Tickets for Greece)
Recently divorced and watching helplessly as her only son leaves home, Blandine is struggling to find her footing again. So, when her former best friend Magalie, loud and fearless, suddenly resurfaces, she allows herself to be spontaneous for a change… the two will take the trip they always dreamed of as teenagers, to Amorgos. But as they head off towards their destination, it’s soon apparent that Magalie’s very different approach to holidaying – and to life – could lead Blandine to her breaking point… and beyond!

  • Au petit écran – on the Small Screen

NetflixThe Billionaire, the Butler and the Boyfriend is a docuseries about the conflict between the world’s wealthiest woman, L’Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, and her daughter which spiralled into a national scandal with implications for President Sarkozy. The comedy, Spoiled Brats, about 3 siblings who are forced to earn a living when their wealthy father pretends he’s lost everything to teach them a lesson has also been recommended.

Library Movie Streaming: Free access to films and documentaries via Beamafilm and your Tauranga Library card
For more info:

  • DVDs to Lend Out

    I have more than 120 French DVDs that anyone who is still able to view DVDs is most welcome to borrow. There are comedies and dramas, recent and older films, famous actors and less famous, and for children. All are subtitled in English. Let me know if you don’t have, but would like, the catalogue and then make your choice.  or ph 07 578 9416.  No charge.

  • Celebrate the end of year à la française

Le Réveillon is the name for both the main Christmas meal on Christmas Eve, and for the dinner on New Year’s Eve. It comes from the verb ‘veiller’ – ‘to stay awake’ or ‘to keep vigil’.

Le Réveillon de Noël : This is celebrated on Christmas Eve with a long, usually family meal concluding with the traditional dessert, and then the midnight mass.

La Bûche de Noël :  The traditional dessert is the Christmas Log. Slightly less conventional: Check out some non-traditional Christmas logs.

Les Treize Desserts : However, in Provence, there is also the tradition of the 13 desserts which represents Jesus and the 12 apostles. The desserts are nuts, dried figs, raisins, dates, quince paste (jelly), candied fruit, fougasse, traditional white nougat, black nougat (caramelised honey & grilled almonds), red nougat (rose flavoured with pistachios), Calissons from Aix-en-Provence (sweets made with candied melon & almond paste), oranges, clementines or mandarins, and watermelon.

Le Réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre : December 31st is the feast day of St Sylvestre, hence the name.
New Year’s Eve is celebrated with friends, good food, champagne, and firecrackers.  At midnight, people wish each other « Bonne année ! » in the street with lots of noise. One other tradition often reserved for this day is  « le baiser sous le gui » (kissing under the mistletoe). In Paris there is a sound and light show projected onto the Arc de Triomphe with a grand firework display at midnight.
Une chanson pour le Nouvel An : Bonne Année from Les Créoles

Les Étrennes – which roughly translates as a “surprise” or “mystery gift” – are envelopes of money given, at the end of the year, as a little thank you to people who make your life easier – postman, bin collector, cleaner, concierge etc.

La Fête des Rois The festive period ends with l’Épiphanie, the day when the traditional galette des Rois is shared. It is always celebrated on January 6th and commemorates the presentation of the infant Jesus to the Magi or the three wise men. La galette is a sweet almond-flavored custard-filled pastry that has been around for around 700 years. A small figurine, la fève, is hidden inside. The person who finds la fève becomes King or Queen for the day (or goes to the dentist if they’re unlucky!)…. However, there is no fève in the galette eaten at the Palais de l’Élysée, the official residence of the President of the Republic. It is considered contrary to the principles of a republic. During the French Revolution, there was an attempt to rename the galette the Galette de l’Égalité, but this name was short-lived.

         For a small selection of « world » days coming up over the next month :

  • French Classes start up again in February 2024

Details to come in the New Year.
Have a great Christmas and here’s a song to sing:
Jingle Bells en français

  • Joyeux Noël et Bonnes Fêtes de fin d’année