Thanksgiving in France

Thanksgiving in France

Many of the of essential ingredients necessary to put together a proper Thanksgiving meal (i.e., cranberries, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie) are not abundantly available or easy to come by in France. No roasted turkey? No mashed potatoes slathered in gravy? No pumpkin pie? What’s an American to do?

Don’t worry. If you are an expat living in France, or simply visiting over the holiday, there are a few ways you can indulge in all of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions while abroad (like eating enough to feed a family and then passing out on the couch).

American themed restaurants or bars in France

Your best bet if you want to eat all of your favorite Thanksgiving foods, but don’t want to go to the trouble of hunting down elusive ingredients or attempting to cook your own meal (which is also impossible if you are staying in a hotel), is to find a local American bar or restaurant and find out if they are doing anything special for Thanksgiving. Especially in major cities like Paris, Nice and Lyon, you are likely to find a few establishments that are serving up turkey dinners with all the fixings. Keep in mind, however, that you are in FRANCE, so the gravy will probably be more of a sauce, the pie more like a tarte, and the stuffing not exactly like Grandma’s.

Grocery stores in France where you can find all the essential Turkey Day ingredients

In Paris, there are a few places where you can find all the Turkey Day fixings to make your own, special Thanksgiving celebration. It’s no surprise by the name, but the Thanksgiving American Market in Paris is THE place to find all of the holiday’s food and decorations (including cranberries, which the French don’t even know about). You can also get pre-roasted turkeys here, or even have the whole meal – with all the trimmings – catered. This is also the place to go any time of the year if you are dying for an Oreo, missing Bisquick biscuits or really wanting some Campbell’s soup.


Grocery store & catering: 14, rue Charles V.
Restaurant: 20 rue Saint Paul, 75004 Paris 01 42 77 68 29

Local American Clubs in France

Another safe bet is to seek out the American Club in the city closest to where you are staying and find out if they are hosting any sort of special Thanksgiving day meal or celebration (they most likely are). There are American Clubs in Paris, Lyon, the Riviera, Toulouse, Lille, Grenoble and Alsace (Strasbourg). The American Club of Lille, for example, has in previous years hosted a Thanksgiving celebration where Americans can indulge in all of the traditional fixings for just €15.

Keep in mind…

Remember that while you may find some semblance of a Thanksgiving celebration in France, you should not expect for it to be the same as when you are stateside. While the French know food, they don’t know American food; their non-traditional approach to very traditional dishes may not satisfy your craving for a tryptophan coma.

You are also guaranteed not to be able to watch (American) football, either, but c’est la vie. Just remember while your Thanksgiving in France may not live up to the holiday you know and love at home, there are plenty of things to enjoy in France that you simply cannot find in the U.S. Tarte tatin and Champagne, anyone?

>>Read more about holidays in France:

Christmas in France
New Year’s Eve in France
Valentine’s Day in Paris
Easter in France
Bastille Day (as close to the 4th of July as you’re gonna get)
Halloween in France

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4 thoughts on “Thanksgiving in France

  • kristi anderson

    I do two authentic Thanksgivings at my Bed & Breakfast near Orléans. The first is on Thanksgiving, this year 2009 the 26th of November. It is for the locals and is mostly curious French who want to discover what Thanksgiving really means. I have repeaters every year!

    The second is on the following Saturday (the 28th this year) and while I started marketing it to the American community in Paris I also have people who have attended American Univiersities, people who have lived in the States. The most fun are the Americans who have married non-Americans and are introducing them for the first time to Thanksgiving. Here is what the week end is about.

    Thanksgiving in the French Countryside November 27, 28, 29 2009
    The sixth annual Thanksgiving at our Bed and Breakfast in Sologne. Just 90 minutes south of Paris, 15 minutes from Chambord, golf course and wineries.
    Arrive Friday evening and enjoy a typical French game dinner. After breakfast Saturday feel free to explore our corner of the world or just curl up by the fire. But be back at 7pm for our traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
    Breakfast Sunday is at your leisure as is your day. If the weather permits take our bikes and discover the forest that is at our doorstep or look for that treasure in one of the numerous flea markets
    Kristi Anderson
    Saint Jacques – Le Coin Perdu
    15, place de l’église
    45240 Ligny le Ribault

  • Angie

    I don’t always get to all the articles in my reader but this one caught my attention because my daughter is a waitress for Thanksgiving Paris on the weekends for their Cajun Brunch. This is her third year living and studying in Paris and her second year working at Thanksgiving Paris.

    As a senior at Tulane, my daughter assisted Judith with research for her cookbook on Cajun food. We lived in SE Louisiana for 14 years so not only does my daughter share her Cajun experiences, she experiences a little touch of America every time she works. I thoroughly enjoyed the food and hospitality at Thanksgiving Paris when I visited last March!

  • Anne-Claire

    Looking for your favorite American Thanksgiving & Holiday foods and not living in Paris? We can help! Our online store home-deliver turkey stuffing, pumpkin filling cans, cornbread mix, egg nog, cranberry sauce, candy canes, corn syrup, Betty Crocker’s mixes and frostings, Hershey’s kisses and many more! Check it for yourself!
    > My American Market:

  • Kristin

    If you’re looking for Thanksgiving fixin’s or just American comfort food in general, this is a great website : My American Market is an online grocery store with over 300 imported American food products. Get your favorites delivered right to your home anywhere in France/Europe. A big plus…the service is great!…100% American!