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: