For the past four years, my husband, son and I have celebrated New Year's Eve in Paris, sometimes with more friends, sometimes with less, and always with a Champagne toast overlooking the Seine. The first year we made the New Year's Eve shift from New York to Paris, our plan was simple. We would have dinner at our apartment and then, at about 11:40 pm, Champagne and glasses in hand, we would take the 10 minute walk to the Pont des Arts, the steel and wood foot bridge across the Seine. We would stand in the center of the bridge, the gold-domed Institute of France to our left, the majestic Louvre to our right, the river beneath us, and the top third of the glittering Eiffel Tower just ahead in the near distance. It was great, as plans go, and, as plans go, it didn't work exactly as we had envisioned. Everything was off just a little bit, starting with the friends who arrived fashionably and Frenchly late, then the unexpected guests who came for cocktails and had so many good stories to tell that we couldn't settle down to dinner until well after ten and then, sometime in the middle of tucking into the perfectly ripened Camembert, it was the witching hour - time to leave. Knowing midnight wouldn't wait, we grabbed our glasses and ran to the bridge, where a couple of hundred other like-thinking people were already gathered. We arrived in time for the fireworks, the toasts and the comradie, stayed 30 minutes, then strolled home to finish what remained of our dinner: Dessert. What was a mistake became a tradition. From then on, we've had dessert après the New Year's toast. This year, before we get to the Pont des Arts, we will have marinated raw scallops, sliced and interleaved with fresh mango; herb-butter basted French turkey (the kind that, like a top runway model, has impossibly long legs and no breasts); gratin Dauphinois; many cheeses; and after we welcome in 2002, dessert. To guarantee a sweet year, I'm thinking about making a Faubourg Pave, Pierre Herme's elegant chocolate and caramel cake, named for one of the ritziest areas in Paris, the Faubourg Saint-Honore; his warm raspberry and chocolate tart; a batch of brownies to honor America; and, for the romantics among us, madeleines. If all goes as planned, we should be having our sweets and sipping after-dinner Armagnac at about 2 am January 1, 2002. If all doesn't go as planned … well, perhaps we will have invented a new tradition.