Sunday, November 10, 2019

You're Invited: Thanksgiving in France 2019

Because I totally live to please you, once again I've rounded up a great selection of American Thanksgiving celebrations here in the South of France and in Paris. Who attends these gala soirées? Local expats of course, but also hungry French folks and other Europeans, travelers, house guests...whomever! With a couple exceptions, all nationalities are wanted and welcome! 

Over the years, many of my French friends have told me they love the idea of celebrating this American meet new people, to sample unusual foods, to learn the history and traditions. At a friend's Thanksgiving in Provence a few years back, one French guest told me he loved how the various dishes were served all at once, all on one plate, rather than in courses. Another said he was looking forward to his first taste of cranberry sauce, which he called red fruits jam

While the literal translation is Action de Grâce, most French people just call it Thanksgiving...except for my friend Philippe who refers to it as Merci Donnant, which he says "means absolutely nothing at all." 

I’ve only listed the Thanksgivings that still had space available, as of today. Book soon because most have limited capacity and fill up. For a Thanksgiving meal on Nov. 30 at the American Church in Paris--the first American church established outside the United States, with roots back to 1814--seats will be opened up to non parishioners after Nov. 17 but there's a special service on Thanksgiving Day, open to all. 

Also in Paris, there's a Thanksgiving cooking class, with lunch or dinner, that sounds like great fun.

For those of you hosting your own Thanksgiving or sharing in the food prep, I've provided three sources for traditional ingredients. When it comes to the big juicy bird, the Paris shop called The Real McCoy sells them both fresh and already roasted; more info about that is below.

If you're hosting or know of a Thanksgiving celebration in the South of France that's not listed here, email me the info ( and I'll happily add it. 

And finally, a very heartfelt thank you to all of you: for reading and supporting my blog...for sharing it with your friends....for commenting on the stories you particularly enjoy. I wish you all the most joyous and delicious Merci Donnant, wherever you plan to spend it!


The American Club of the Riviera's Thanksgiving is a gala, annual affair...large, elegant and extremely popular. This year it's in the Salon Belle Epoque at the Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo on Thursday Nov. 28, starting with a 12:30 Champagne reception, followed by a luncheon feast of butternut squash veloute, stuffed turkey, sweet potatoes, sweet corn, grilled veggies and apple and pumpkin pies.  All nationalities are welcome but book quickly as this event always sells out; 150 people are expected and it's first come, first served with priority going to members and their families. Last call for reservation payments is Nov 19. All the info is on the ACR website here. Questions?

MonacoUSA will host its annual Thanksgiving dinner at StarsNBars (Monaco) on Thursday Nov. 28  starting at 7 pm. Seating is family style at communal tables in the main restaurant. The menu: Stuffed turkey with cranberry sauce, peas, creamed onions, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob and cornbread. Desserts will be apple tart, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and brownies. Also included: a glass of wine, beer or soft drink, bottled water and espresso.  Cost: 40€ adults, 25€ kids.  Space is limited, you must reserve through MonacoUSA at  and payment in advance is required; no payment at the door and no walk-ins allowed, sorry! All details are on Facebook here.

The MonacoUSA party (just above) is open to everyone but for those who don’t want to join the group, the all-you can-eat Thanksgiving buffet will be available at StarsNBars starting at 7 pm. Cost is 38€ for adults and 20€ for kids, excluding drinks. The restaurant will also be serving its regular menu that evening. Turkey will be served as the plat du jour at lunch, starting at noon, for 21€ (with a drink and dessert) or 15€ (main course only). To book: + 377 9797 9595. Questions:

The Riviera Chapter of Democrats Abroad invites you to a festive Thanksgiving pot luck at Holy Trinity Church Hall, at 11 rue de la Buffa in Nice, on Nov. 28 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. It’s open to members, Americans in the region and accompanying guests. Seats are limited and they’re filling up quickly so RSVP soon!  DA will provide the turkey and asks all guests to bring a prepared salad, vegetable or dessert to be shared. (Sorry, no cooking facilities available on-site). The closest parking is Palais de la Méditerranée or Grimaldi and there are several bus stops in walking distance. For a map and details, click here. For more info, to RSVP or questions: *NOTE THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT, SORRY!


Once again, the Anglo-American Group of Provence welcomes the community to its annual family-oriented  Thanksgiving in Aix "with a spirit of appreciation for all that we share."  The dinner is Sunday, Nov. 24 at 4 pm (aperitif) and 5 pm (dinner) at Restaurant Le Verguetier, 7 chemin d'Eguilles in Celony (Aix), across from the Maison de Ste-Victoire. They'll have all the traditional foods: turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Cost: 20€ for members, 10€ for their children under 12; 36€ for guests and 18€ for their children under 12. This includes aperitif, the meal with dessert, wine and coffee. To reserve, send a check payable to AAGP to Michel Parisot, 5 rue Emmanuel Brunet, 13080 Luynes.  Please make sure to specify the number of adults and kids (with ages). Reservations will be made upon receipt of your check, which must be received by Nov. 18. Questions? or 06 37 83 80 45.

Once again the Avignon Chapter of Democrats Abroad will celebrate Thanksgiving with a family-style pot luck at the Cavaillon home of Joan and Charlie Jarowski. The party’s scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 24, from 1 pm to 5 pm. Expect turkey of course but also baked ham, leg of lamb, sausages and all the typical sides including an Impeachment Pie for dessert. Guests are asked to make a small financial contribution and also to bring a starter, side, dessert or drinks to share. *NOTE THIS EVENT IS NOW SOLD OUT WITH NO WAIT LIST.

At the restaurant L'Epicerie de Cecile in Beaucaire, chef/owner Cécile Guillo is all fired up to host her annual Thanksgiving fête, at lunch and dinner, on Saturday Nov. 30. Seating is communal at large tables for 12. Expect to pay 25 to 30€ per person (with a couple glasses of wine) and there will be live music in the evening. Cecile is also happy to offer her traditional Thanksgiving meal on the day itself (Thursday Nov. 28) but only for groups of 10 or more.  To reserve: 07 85 40 38 20. The restaurant has no website but they’re on Facebook here. Questions?

Near Forcalquier, the restaurant Le Bistrot de Pierrerue in Pierrerue celebrates its annual Thanksgiving on Friday Nov. 29 and Sat Nov. 30 at 8 pm. On the menu: an amuse bouche, brined and roasted turkey with dressing (made from bio sausage and chestnuts), homemade gravy and cranberry chutney, mashed potatoes, roasted local Brussels sprouts,  pumpkin pie and chocolate pumpkin-seed torte with vanilla ice cream. Price is 25€ per person, without drinks. To book: 04 92 75 33 00,

Once again my friend Jon Chiri, an American chef with 20+ years experience working in Provence, will offer a Thanksgiving lunch at Cuisine Centr'Halles, his cafe and cooking school at Les Halles, the wonderful indoor food market in Avignon. On Thursday Nov. 28, Jon invites you to join his family for a special holiday lunch from 11:30 am to 2:15 pm. (The market officially closes at 2:15 pm so be sure to seated by 1:30 pm latest.) The Thanksgiving Plat du Jour (turkey with Jon's version of accoutrements) will be 24€ ...or 30€ with pumpkin pie. Wine and soft drinks are extra. To reserve:, 06 46 89 85 33.

Biocoop - La Coumpagnie in Aix (840 ave. du Camp de Menthe ) will host two Thanksgivings on Thursday Nov. 28: a lunch at the store and a dinner at the restaurant BioChef, near the center of Aix. The lunch, owner Rick Harrison says, ''is mostly for our curious French clientele and always our biggest lunch turnout of the year!" It’s 18.50per person and reservations are not necessary.  Then comes the main event: a dinner starting at 7:30 pm. at BioChef (4 rue Pierre de Coubertin, 13100 Aix). "We have a wide diversity of Americans, French and English people excited to attend," Rick says. "The meal will be 100% organic, 0% GMOs and 100% homemade from American family recipes.” The evening starts with spiced wine and appetizers, followed by turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, green bean casserole (with cream of mushroom soup...yes!), pumpkin and pecan pies and a classic cheesecake. Prices are 29€ adults and 19€ kids under 12; wine and beer are available for purchase. Reservations are required for dinner; reserve soon as there’s less availability than last year, due to the change in venue. To reserve: 06 81 34 85 74, 

On Friday Nov. 29, Cyril Giordano, chef/owner of the restaurant BioChef in Aix (see listing just above) will present his own Thanksgiving dinner. Like the one the previous night, it will be 100% organic but this will be quite a bit more gastronomic. It’s 37€ per person (kids or adults); drinks are extra. Seating starts at 8 pm and reservations are required: 04 42 93 26 05. BioChef is at 4 rue Pierre de Coubertin, 13100 Aix.  


Celebrations Hosted by Clubs

The American University Clubs of France (which promotes networking, cultural and business-related events for all American University alumni in France), invites you to their traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Tuesday, Nov 26 at 7 pm at the Ecole Militaire. Founded in 1750 by Louis XVI for the training of military officers, the Ecole Militaire is an important heritage site that’s normally closed to the public so this is rare opportunity to enjoy exclusive access. A four-course meal will be served, starting with an aperitif and ending with pecan pie. Wine and soft drinks are included. Price: 59 for AUC member; 69 non members. Registration is limited so be sure to reserve soon, by clicking here before Nov. 12; registration closes after that date. For security purposes, you’ll be asked to provide official ID to enter the building. Questions?
The American Club of Paris will hold its annual Thanksgiving at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Paris 3ème) on Friday Nov. 29 at 7:30 pmThis private hunting and nature museum in the heart of the Marais has been described by Smithsonian Magazine as "one of the most rewarding and inventive in Paris." The evening includes pre-dinner Champagne (accompanied by Lionel Patrix at the piano), an elegant Thanksgiving dinner and after-dinner drinks in the bar. The dress code is evening attire/black tie optional and roughly 50 people are expected. Members 150€; non-members and guests 175€. All the info and registration is hereQuestions? contact@americanclubparis.org01 47 23 64 36.
There seem to be more and more Thanksgiving celebrations in Paris restaurants each year, ranging from the very-casual one at the Hard Rock Cafe  (Nov. 28 at lunch and dinner; reserve here or call 01 53 24 60 00) to the very-posh one at Ralph's in Ralph Lauren's elaborately appointed store on the Blvd. St.-Germain (dinner Nov 28, with a set menu at 135€). Reservation by email only please: Questions? 01 44 77  76 00.

On Thursday, Nov. 28, chef Fabienne Eymard of the Michelin-starred Parisian bistro Benoit invites you for free-range turkey stuffed with wild mushrooms, cranberry and gravy (46€). Details and reservations are here. restaurant.benoit@ducasse-paris.com01 42 72 25 76.

This year, the restaurant Sunday in Soho (at 7 rue Saint Marc, will offer Thanksgiving for three nights (Nov. 28, 29, 30), with two seatings per night. The 55€ adult price includes appetizers, the Thanksgiving feast, desserts and one glass of Champagne or the house cocktail. Kids prices upon request. Reservations are online only, here.

Not what you’re looking for? Thanksgiving is also being celebrated at Joe Allen, Verjus, Harry’s Bar, Breakfast in America, Ô Chateau and Treize au Jardin

A Paris Church

At the American Church in Paris (65 quai d’Orsay), Thanksgiving will be celebrated on Saturday Nov. 30 at 5:30 pm. A traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings is 20€ for adults, 15 € for kids. The event is currently open to parishioners only, but any remaining tickets will be available to the general public sometime after Sunday Nov. 17 on a first-come, first-served basis, at the church and possibly online. Also, a special Thanksgiving service will be held Nov. 28 at 12:15, with music, a speaker and a reception afterwards. For more info:, 01 40 62 05 00.

Cooking Class with Lunch or Dinner

La Cuisine Paris is once again offering their popular Thanksgiving Cooking Class; in fact this year they’re hosting two! On Thursday Nov. 28 you can choose between a lunchtime or evening class and enjoy the festivities! Find out more and snap up a space here. Info: contact@lacuisineparis.com01 40 51 78 18.

SUPPLIES sells lots of things you’ll likely need to prepare your holiday feast: cranberry sauce, canned pumpkin, cornbread mix, gravy, corn syrup and more. They also have ingredients and treats for other holidays, too, such as eggnog and candy canes. They are 100% online and will deliver pretty much anywhere in the world.  The company uses various couriers but plan to order by Nov. 14 to get your goodies sent to you anywhere in France  in time. Specific Thanksgiving foods are on a special page, 05 34 50 47 36.

The Franco-American owners of My Little America, Todd and Anthony, hail from Ohio and Brittany and launched their mail-order business to make it possible for Americans to find their favorite foods easily, wherever they might live....and to help French people discover these new products. Today they import a wide range of American foods and ship them throughout France and Europe. For Thanksgiving, they sell cranberry sauce (whole berry and jellied), stuffing mix, turkey gravy, corn muffin mix, corn syrup (light and dark), graham crackers, canned pumpkin, cut sweet potatoes and more. See their Thanksgiving selection here. Their special items for Christmas are already available online too. Plus they sell classics such as Kraft Mac & Cheese, Toll-House Chocolate Chips, A-1 Steak Sauce, Jif Peanut Butter, A&W Root Beer and more. Questions:

The Real McCoy is the Parisian go-to for American foods, particularly at holiday time.  In their shop (no mail order) they’re selling fresh farm-bred turkeys...or they’ll even roast and package it for you with stuffing and roasting juices. (Be sure to order at least a few days ahead.) Their roast turkeys average 4 to 7 kilos each; they request a 30€ deposit and then charge 11.50€ per kilo. The Real McCoy also sells pecan and pumpkin pies, cheesecakes and a wide selection of Thanksgiving products such as fresh cranberries and canned cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, stuffing mix, cornbread mix, pie crusts and fillings, yams, turkey bags, basters and more. They’re located at:  194 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, 01 45 56 00 00, No website but find them on Facebook here

Above: The much-loved, often-parodied painting is Norman Rockwell's "Freedom from Want" from 1942. Everyone in it was a Rockwell family member or friend; they were photographed individually and painted into the scene. Learn more about the painting and artist here