What do I do if I receive a “faire-part de naissance” ?
A present !!
People send a “faire-part de naissance” when a baby is born.
Usually, it's written something like :
“Paul et Julie ont la joie de vous annoncer la naissance de leur fils Pierre
ce jeudi 18 février 2008”
“fils” means “son”,
“fille” means “daughter”
On the faire-part is written the parents' address.
You can call them to “les féliciter” (congratulate) but you can also send a card :
“toutes mes féliciations”, “je vous félicite”
Then, what you should do is ask them if they have a “liste de naissance” (you can even ask them before the birth). If so, go to the shop and choose your present. If there's no “liste de naissance”, then choose something by yourself.
In France, as a birth present, we often buy clothes for the baby, try to choose a big size (6 months or 1 year at least) because parents receive so many presents that sometimes they have many many clothes for a 2 months old baby growing so fast...
Once you have your present, if you leave far away, send your present with a card on which you write “félicitations”.
If you are close enough, call the parents and ask when you can come :
“quand est-ce que je peux venir ?”
“quand est-ce que je peux venir voir votre bébé ?”
It's a personal act. In France, we do not organize a party and there's no party before the birth. People visit the parents on their own. If these people are close friends, you can visit them soon; if not, leave them a few weeks because they'll have many people visiting them.
We usually visit parents during the day (one or two hours during an afternoon are ok, they really need their nights !).