• Between February 2 and 16, the main places of celebrations and collective emulations will see their health restrictions withdrawn.

  • The opportunity to find the party, the real one, the one where you get lost in the crowd and where you share moments with strangers.

  • A hedonistic pleasure that the French love, who could put a little pep in their morale.

"Far from metaphysical or philosophical conceptions such as self-realization, which is a vision of happiness more typical of countries with a Protestant culture, France has a deeply hedonistic happiness, based on small pleasures", proclaims Gaël Brûlé, sociologist of happiness and author of

Little mythologies of French happiness

(Dunod, 2020). And that's good, the fiesta, the bamboche, the party - call it what you want - is about to make its big comeback in the country from February.

Following Jean Castex's announcements on Thursday on the easing of sanitary measures, between the 2nd and the 16th of next month, standing concerts will be reauthorized, the gauges in performance halls abolished, we will be able to dance again, drink standing up at the bar and empty that famous late-night shot meter directly on the counter, and the nightclubs will even reopen.

Enough to make the French happy again?

Happiness only has meaning if it is shared

There is already the symbolic aspect: if the closure of nightclubs showed an epidemic resurgence, their reopening is seen by the French as a health lull, "what to consider the future in a more optimistic way", defends Jérémie Peltier, director of studies of the Jean-Jaurès Foundation and author of

La fête est finie?

(Editions de l'Observatoire, 2021).

Above all, there will be the pleasure of finding these places full of life, joy and people.

Of course, in absolute terms, French men and women can already drink, sing and dance aplenty in their apartment or those of their friends.

But “we don't act the same way outside.

There is a different staging of a social self that occurs in a public place,” reports Gaël Brulé.

Carried away by the crowd

The party is the crowd, and the crowd is vital, pleads the sociologist: "We are always in the process of scripting our happiness, in relation to ourselves, to those we know, but also to those we 'we do not know.

The fact of being able to see other foreign people with whom one is not going to interact more than with a glance, remains very important – and underestimated.


And if a few pairs of outside eyes make us behave differently, at higher intensity, the crowd offers us a rare luxury: to fade away.

"The crowd allows you to disappear, to be part of a whole, with a feeling of belonging to a collective and of union", adds the expert.

That's why you loose more during a pogo with 1,000 people in a pit than in the 25 square meters of your friend Thomas' karaoke party.

Encounter of the Third Kind

This is what dancing bars, concerts and nightclubs bring, beyond the pain of paying for your 10 euro mojito: an unknown public in the battalion for everyone. And that is good. According to the sociologist of happiness, our people of happy Gauls tend to overinvest strong ties, in other words really close contacts such as family, friends or our most intimate work colleagues, and to underinvest weak ties: the next door neighbor, friends of friends, the colleague from accounting crossed at the coffee machine. “It is these weak ties that the crisis has caused us to lose,” laments the expert.

In our lives increasingly turned towards our close circle of contacts, “collective places offer one of the rare moments to meet different people, who will take you out of your social and family bubble”, abounds Jérémie Peltier.

Will the party really take place?

Beautiful promises of happiness to chew on until you break your molars for France.

But will these collective outpourings of joy really see the light of day?

After two years of restricting ourselves, depriving ourselves, limiting our contacts, will we really be comfortable climbing on a table with three and a half grams in our blood to launch a

Freed from desire

from behind the bundles?

(Any resemblance to a situation experienced by the author of the article would obviously be coincidental).

“There were too many showered hopes, fears Gaël Brulé. It is a mix today between optimism on the one hand, and mistrust and fatalism on the other. “Even more depressing, Jérôme Peltier recalls for his part that the party did not wait for the coronavirus to combine less and less in the plural, far from the jubilation of yesteryear: “New, more individualistic and less collective attitudes were already developed before the epidemic. The party at home has a bright future ahead of it compared to partying in nightclubs, for example, a place that will probably never find its audience of yesteryear due to a more sedentary population than before. »

It recalls the gradual disappearance of bistros, which went from 200,000 in the 1960s to 40,000 today, and nightclubs, from 4,000 in 1970 to 1,600 before the coronavirus.

The opportunity on February 16, when the bamboche will again be admitted to the country, to raise a last glass to the evenings of yesteryear, before they completely disappear into oblivion.


Covid-19: Vaccination pass, teleworking, nightclubs… What to remember from Jean Castex's press conference


Coronavirus: Why has the health crisis put the dance in step?

  • Covid-19

  • Coronavirus

  • Happiness

  • Party

  • Society

  • epidemic

  • Evening

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