I know this is out of order and way overdue, but I wanted to get to this before spring! 🙂
It was tough not being home for the holidays, but it was also fun to experience them in a different country. We returned to Paris just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving. An added bonus is that Paris lights up for the holidays at the end of November, so we spent a good amount of time visiting Christmas markets, department stores and streets decked out for the holidays.
Thanksgiving in Paris
I wasn’t sure we’d be able to pull this off, but with a little research, I was able to get everything I needed for an American Thanksgiving in Paris. I had to order a turkey from the butcher because turkeys are not yet in the stores for the holidays. I also found a shop, The Real McCoy, that carried some American items.
Our menu included all of the traditional American things, plus a few extra French things. We roasted our turkey on the rotisserie. I made a simple stuffing/dressing, sweet potato casserole, green beans, and cranberry sauce. We had baguette instead of dinner rolls and we included a cheese plate between the main course and dessert. For dessert, we had pumpkin and apple pie accompanied by macarons, chocolates, lemon cake and espresso. There was a splendid variety of wine. It was an incredible feast! We invited friends and co-workers; 5 Parisians, one Canadian and one other American to our Thanksgiving dinner. It was fun to share some traditional Thanksgiving food, mixed with some very French food with them.
Christmas in Paris
In my last post, I talked about Paris weather and how gray days give a monochrome look to the city. But only by day! More than any other time of year, Paris dazzlingly lives up to its nickname, La Ville-Lumière. At night, the Christmas Illuminations are bright, colorful and cheerful! They’re also quite popular with locals and tourists, making for some very crowded sidewalks and streets.
While there are lots of Christmas Illuminations around Paris, the department stores are where all the action is! The stores go all out with window decorations that include a theme, music, and animations. They also put out risers with steps right up against the windows so children can see each window without peering between the adults’ legs. It’s brilliant.
We treated ourselves to a traditional French Christmas dinner; an aperitif (champagne and small bites), an entree (smoked salmon mille feuille), main course of roast goose with chestnut stuffing, roasted potatoes, and sauteed green beans, a cheese course and a Yule log for dessert! I even got Papillotes, wrapped chocolates with messages inside.
It was pretty easy to get all the ingredients, but we were surprised that goose wasn’t available everywhere. I tried to order one from our butcher downstairs, but they said no along with a whole bunch of other stuff in French that I didn’t understand. We found one at a butcher while we were out walking one night, and we were a bit shocked to pay well over 100 euro for it! We crossed our fingers and hoped it would be good. We had never had goose before and it was really good!
And…who knew Ron’s cousins from the midwest would be here for the holidays too?! We were thrilled to have Peggy and Chloe join us for dinner. In the end, we did spend Christmas with family. There’s a serious lack of photos from our Christmas dinner – we were too busy chatting, eating and drinking!