Wednesday, November 10, 2021

You're Invited: Thanksgiving in France 2021


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! 

Over the years, many of my French friends have told me they love the idea of celebrating this American holiday...to 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—family style--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 of Thanksgiving 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." Over the years, we’ve shared many wonderful Thanksgivings together at various friends’ houses. “It’s like having a second Xmas in the same year,” Philippe says. “But I miss that I never got to see the big family argument part you see in many movies!”

As in years past, I’ve only listed below the Thanksgivings that still had space available as of today. But book soon because most have limited capacity and fill up. For a Thanksgiving meal on Saturday Nov. 27 at 5:30 pm at the American Church in Paris--the first American church established outside the United States, with roots back to 1814—tickets are now available to the public online, with pick up at the church the day of.  And there's a special service at 12:15 on Thanksgiving Day, open to all, with a speaker and coffee reception afterwards.

And this year for the first time, I have a Thanksgiving to offer you in Nimes, at restaurant Gamel, and one in Mazan, at the Cafe du Siecle.

In Paris, in addition to lots of delicious sounding eat-in and takeaway options in clubs and restaurants, there's a Thanksgiving baking class that sounds like great fun.

This year what’s different of course is that you’ll need a Pass Sanitaire to attend most of these Thanksgivings. If you’re not sure of the rules, call ahead to check.

For those of you hosting your own Thanksgiving or sharing in the food prep, I've provided two sources for traditional ingredients in person and online; a third shop, called My Little America, seems to have disappeared since I last did this roundup in 2019.

When it comes to the juicy bird itself, order from your butcher or poultry farmer early and remember that turkeys here in France are smaller than those at home. The Real McCoy in Paris sells them both fresh and already roasted.

If you're hosting or know of a Thanksgiving celebration in the South of France or Paris that's not listed here, email me the info (provenceblog@aol.com) and I'll happily add it. Actually, I'm happy to add any Thanksgivings, anywhere in France, as long as they're open to the public and still have space. So fire away...I'd love to know about them.

And finally, a big American hug and thank you from me to all of you: for reading and supporting my blog...for sharing it with 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!  

Thanksgiving on the Côte d’Azur

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. 25, starting with a 12:30 Champagne reception, followed by a traditional American turkey feast with and all the trimmings. All nationalities are welcome but book quickly as this event always sells out; it's first come, first served with priority going to members and their families. Once again, there will be members of  the US Navy and the US Army as well as other distinguished guests attending. Pass Sanitaire required. All the info is on the ACR website here. Questions?  svanessche@gmail.com.

Once again, MonacoUSA will host its annual all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving dinner at StarsNBars (Monaco) on Thursday Nov. 25  starting at 7 pm. This year, seating won’t be at communal tables; you’ll sit with your family or group only. Non-members are also welcome.  The menu: Stuffed turkey with cranberry sauce, 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,  and espresso.  Cost: 45€ adults, 25€ kids under 12.  Seating is limited, you must reserve, last seating is at 8:30 pm and no walk-ins allowed. Health pass required. StarsNBars will also serve a Thanksgiving plat du jour with dessert at lunch, starting at noon, for 25€. To book: + 377 9797 9595. Pass Sanitaire required. Questions: info@starsnbars.com.

Thanksgiving in Provence

As in years past, the Avignon Chapter of Democrats Abroad will gather to celebrate Thanksgiving in a private home in Cavaillon, on Thursday Nov. 25 from 2 pm to 7 pm. Yes, there will be political talk (including prep for the US midterms in 2022) but the focus will definitely be food! A full prepared and potluck menu is planned; the potluck will focus on regional US holiday fare. The event is open to all DA members and their families...along with any new Americans in Provence who want to join DA (membership is free at DemocratsAbroad.org).  Note: seats are limited and it’s first come, first served. To book, email Joan Jarowski (joandarcnyc@gmail.com), tell her how many in your party and what you’d like to contribute. Suggestions: A pasta dish, cheeses, veggies or fish, potatoes, yams, turnips, side of vegetarian stuffing, your own favorite salad, whatever!  Expect leftovers and doggie bags!

The Anglo-American Group of Provence welcomes the community to its annual family-oriented Thanksgiving in Aix,  Sunday Nov. 28, starting at 1 pm.  They wrote me this: “Come join us in a festive dining room with garden views and Provençal ambiance and character! We invite all of our members, their children, friends and guests to celebrate Thanksgiving in the spirit of appreciation for all that we enjoy in this beautiful part of the world!”  AAGP membership is not required to attend but a Pass Sanitaire or recent negative test is. The venue: Le Mas d'Entremont, Celony - 315 Route d’Avignon, 13090 Aix.  Aperos at 1 pm, lunch at 2 pm.  Members: 24€ pp, 10€ for kids (ages 5 to 10) and 15€ kids ages 11 to 16. Non members: 58€ pp and 28€ for kids 16 and younger.  Space is limited so reserve asap by sending a check, payable to AAGP, to Michel Parisot, 5 rue Emmanuel Brunet, 13080 Luynes.  Specify the number of member and non-member adults and kids, with kids ages please. Reservations close on November 23 and beyond that date, no cancellations...sorry! Questions? bobkeltz@aol.com or +33 (0)6 37 83 80 45.

Based on the success of their Thanksgiving takeaway and delivery service in 2020, Biocoop - La Coumpagnie in Aix (840 ave. du Camp de Menthe), will offer it again this year...along with an eat-in option for lunch on Thursday Nov. 25. "Our French, English and American clientele really love it," owner Rick Harrison says. Anyone who wants a home-cooked holiday meal without the fuss!”  As in year’s past, the menu (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and classic cheesecake) will be “100% organic, 0% GMOs and 100% homemade from American family recipes.” To come for lunch, no reservations are needed...just show up. For takeaway or delivery, please order with Rick before Tuesday Nov. 22 at 5 pm: +33 (0)6 81 34 85 74, rick@biocoop-lacoumpagnie.fr. 

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. 25, Jon invites you to join his family for a special holiday lunch from 11:30 am to 2:15 pm (when Les Halles closes). 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: contact@jonathanchiri.com, +33 (0)6 46 89 85 33.

At the restaurant L’Epicerie in Beaucaire, the charming chef/owner Christine Nief is all fired up to host her annual Thanksgiving fête, at lunch and dinner, on Thurs Nov. 25. Seating is communal at large tables for 12. Expect to pay 25 to 30€ per person (with a couple glasses of wine) and there’s likely be live music in the evening. Christine will also offer Thanksgiving foods for takeaway but no details or prices are available yet. To book: +33 (0)7 85 40 38 20, niefchristine12@gmail.com. The restaurant has no website but they’re on Facebook here.

Just added! In Nimes, at Gamel restaurant in the charming Place d'Esclafidous, Christian and Morgane are offering a three-course Thanksgiving menu for €35 pp.  Christian used to cook Thanksgiving feasts when he worked in London and is very au fait with what's required!  It's available at lunch or dinner but you must mention Thanksgiving when you reserve. To do that, send a message via Facebook or call: +33 (0)4 66 36 25 80. 

Just added! In Mazan, the Cafe du Siecle will offer a Thanksgiving menu all day. Details weren't available yet when I checked in but it'll be be roughly 15 to 20 euros per person for three courses. Check their website for more info or reach out: +33 (0)4 90 66 9689, contact@cafedusiecle.fr.

PARIS

Thanksgivings in Paris 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 Thursday, Nov 18 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. (A vegetarian main course will unfortunately not be offered.) Wine and soft drinks are included. Registration is limited to alumni of American universities that are members of the AUC and their guests...150 people max. Price: 67€. Ticket sales close Nov. 11. For security purposes, you’ll be asked to provide an official ID to enter the building; mask and Pass Sanitaire are also required. Tickets will be sold until November 11 only; order them on Event Brite hereQuestions? contact@aucfrance.com

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. 26 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 , 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. Pass Sanitaire or equivalent health pass required. Members 160€; non-members and guests 190€. All the info and registration is here. Questions? contact@americanclubparis.org, +33 (0)1 47 23 64 36.

And in a Paris Church...

The American Church in Paris (65 quai d’Orsay) will host a Thanksgiving meal on Saturday Nov. 27 at 5:30 pm. A traditional turkey dinner with trimmings is 27€ for adults, 21€ for kids. Seats (limited due to pandemic restrictions) are available to the general public on the website acparis.org; purchase online and pick up on the day of the event. Also, Pastor Jodi Fondell tells me the annual ACP  Thanksgiving day service will be Nov. 25 at 12:15, with music, a speaker and coffee reception afterwards. The public is very welcome but a Pass Sanitaire will be required.

Thanksgiving in Paris Restaurants

Thanksgiving dinner at Ralph’s Restaurant, in Ralph Lauren’s elaborately appointed store on the Blvd. St.-Germain, is fully booked. But not to worry... each year, more and more Paris restaurants are offering their own. Here are a few of the most-popular ones.

The Hard Rock Cafe in Paris will celebrate Nov. 25 to 28. Details are here.

Thanksgiving at Ô Chateau has become a beloved Parisian tradition. It’s Thursday Nov 25 and all the info is here

The American/Canadian owned restaurant Sunday in Soho will offer both dine in and delivery/takeaway Thanksgiving meals for three days: Nov. 25, 26 and 27. Click for info here.  

On Thursday, Nov. 25, Michelin-starred chef Fabienne Eymard at the Parisian bistro Benoit invites you for farm turkey stuffed with wild mushrooms, with cranberries, gravy and sweet potato gratin (48€). For details and reservations, click here or reach out:  restaurant.benoit@ducasse-paris.com, +33 (0)1 42 72 25 76. 

Lindsey and Justin Kent will offer Thanksgiving for eat in or takeaway at Milagro (85 Avenue Bosquet) on Nov 25, 26 and 27. The menu: turkey, sweet potato gratin, mashed potatoes, gravy, cornbread stuffing, kale and Brussels-sprout salad, green beans and pumpkin pie tart with whipped cream. It’s 50€ pp, by reservation only.  Takeaway order deadline is Nov 18. Details and booking here.

Breakfast in America has two Paris locations but will offer Thanksgiving only at the one at 17, rue des Ecoles in the 5th. Seatings are at 6 pm and 8 pm on Thursday Nov 25.  It’s €39.95 and all the details are here.

Thanksgiving Baking Class

The cooking school La Cuisine Paris offers popular mixed-group Thanksgiving cooking and baking classes but they sell out super quickly and, alas, they’re already booked. But all is not lost...you can still take their Thanksgiving baking class on a private basis, throughout the holiday week. See the details here then reach out to them to check your preferred date.

Where to Get Supplies, in Paris and Online

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.) 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 at 194 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, +33 (0)1 45 56 00 00, us.food@wanadoo.fr. No website but find them on Facebook here

MyAmericanMarket.com 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 here. If you have questions, the contact form is here...or call +33 (0)5 34 50 47 36.

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

4 comments:

  1. What a great selection! Thanks, Julie.

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  2. I want to go to them all! Thanks for this comprehensive list!

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  3. Thanks, Julie! As always, I love reading through all of these wonderful events and fantasizing as to where I would go. One of these years ... Happy Thanksgiving to you, dear friend ~ in spite of the challenges of the pandemic there is still so much for which to be grateful!

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  4. Waouh! What a selection!
    When I think I hardly knew what Thankgiving was when I was a kid....
    Luckily for me I had a nice thanksgiving evening last night, eventhough I was serving the crowd.... But I did partake in the end. Yummy ! Thanks to the Chef
    And merci Julie for being my dearest friend....

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