Paris Thanksgiving: Le Jour de Merci Donnant

   1408  
Paris Thanksgiving: Le Jour de Merci Donnant

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Holiday decorations dance in store windows and are strung and hung along the Paris streets.

But wait a minute. We haven’t even had Thanksgiving yet. Let’s slow down the Black Friday race and take a moment to celebrate our favorite American F-focused holiday (food, family, friends, and football).

Wait just a minute. What about Thanksgiving? Public Domain/Pixabay

Many Americans in Paris get nostalgic for Thanksgiving. So the options for celebrating grow with each passing year.

The chefs-at-heart will make dinner (perhaps with a little help from a caterer or local butcher).

Others may find a community that embraces the Thanksgiving spirit (such as The American Church or Democrats Abroad). And some will seek out a Thanksgiving-friendly restaurant.

A time to be thankful for family and friends (and food!). Photo by Julie Rothe/Pixabay

When I first came to Paris, the options were slim. The choice was pretty much make your own dinner. For a noncook, that was terrifying. Fortunately, at the time, there was a store in the Marais called Thanksgiving that had everything you could possibly need. Reminiscent of a 1950s general store in the heartland of America, it was crowded with products that the owner thought Americans might miss most, from Fruit Loops to a shelf full of every Jello flavor imaginable.

The store, true to its name, could bring memories of past American Thanksgiving dinners to life, including marshmallows for the sweet potatoes, French’s fried onions and Campbell’s mushroom soup for the green bean casserole, Pepperidge Farm stuffing, and Ocean Spray cranberries.

For my first Thanksgiving, I bought it all. About 500 euros later, I left the store, wondering what had just happened.

Why did the turkey cross the road? Photo by Robbi Drake/Pixabay

These days, you can find the elusive ingredients at a variety of stores, in person or online. And many more restaurants offer traditional Thanksgiving meals — on Thursday itself (the fourth Thursday in November) and, often, into the Thanksgiving weekend.

Gobble Gobble (at Breakfast in America). Photo by René Martinez Montefusco.

The Dandy Dinde

You can order your turkey (dinde) at your local butcher or volailler. If you prefer the American style turkey (lots of white meat), you can specify that, or you can order the gamier French turkey (dinde fermière), with feathers and all. (Some say that once you’ve tried the French turkey, you can never go back.) You should order in advance, since turkeys are really more of a Christmas tradition in France.

Wilfried Gardil (and turkey) at La Boucherie Gardil on the Île St-Louis. Photo © Meredith Mullins

If your oven isn’t large enough to roast your turkey (a common occurrence in Paris), you can, in advance, see if your butcher will spit-roast it for you.

You can also order raw turkeys from Thanksgiving-friendly stores like The Real McCoy in the 7th arrondissement or Costco in Villebon-sur-Yvette. The Real McCoy also has cooked turkeys, ordered in advance.

Miam Miam. Public Domain/Pixabay.

The Accoutrements

You can shop for American side dishes such as StoveTop stuffing, Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce (or fresh cranberries), Graham pie crust, or canned pumpkin at The Real McCoy or online from In Good We Trust. If you’re a regular Paris shopper, outdoor markets and gourmet stores abound.

The Real McCoy. Photo courtesy of The Real McCoy.

Catering Help

To supplement your cooking or to take the cooking out of your hands completely, help is on the way from several local caterers such as Joyous Cooking or Louise et Clara Traiteur.

Restaurants

If you choose to leave your kitchen behind and dine out, the restaurant list this year is extensive. We’ll start with the legacy Thanksgivings, such as Breakfast in America and Joe Allen. These restaurants have been offering this holiday tradition for years.

Thanksgiving at Breakfast in America (2021). Photo © Meredith Mullins

Breakfast in America

This year, the traditional dinner expands to both BIA restaurants (rue des Écoles and rue Mahler) with two seatings (6:00 pm and 8:30 pm). Two enthusiastic Frenchmen have recently taken the restaurant reins. They understand the nostalgia that Americans (and French anglophiles) feel for this holiday and are guided by the expertise of the original owner/founder, American Craig Carlson, who made this such a fun tradition. The price is 46 euros.

Joe Allen

Joe Allen’s is a well-known friend to American culture and will host Thanksgiving dinner on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday November 23–25 from noon to 11:30 pm. Price is 59 euros (25 euros for children). Email for reservations: [email protected]

The menu has some detours from tradition, with starters of pumpkin squash chowder, crab cakes, wild mushrooms, caesar salad, or buffalo chicken wings. The main dish includes options of turkey, ham, or grilled tuna steak. Lots of dessert choices, including a fruit and cheese plate (very healthy!)

Treize au Jardin

Back again this year for Thanksgiving, giving us the southern touch, is Laurel Sanderson’s Treize au Jardin, near the Luxembourg Gardens. Treize is offering a Thanksgiving menu on Thursday and Friday, November 24–25, based on their usual homemade organic products. The menu includes roasted quail or turkey, a range of vegetable side dishes, and, of course, the famous Treize southern biscuit. Price from 55 euros.

Email for more information: [email protected]

Sunday in Soho

Famous for its weekend brunch, Sunday in Soho offers an innovative Thanksgiving menu on Thursday, November 24 and Friday, November 25 at 6:30 pm and 9 pm, with a late afternoon special seating at 4:30 on Thursday. Cost is from 70 euros.

Ô Château

This well-known wine tasting venue in the 1st arrondissement is offering a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, with two seatings, on November 24 (7:30 pm and 9:30 pm). Price is 80 euros, including champagne and three paired wines.

Milagro

Milagro (Spanish for “miracle”) on Avenue Bosquet is offering American chef Justin Kent’s Thanksgiving menu on November 24, 25, and 26, as well as an option to pre-order takeaway dinners. Price is 50 euros.

Hard Rock Café

For those who want to rock out for Thanksgiving, head over to the Hard Rock Café for a Thanksgiving lunch or dinner Thursday, November 24 from 11:30 am to 11 pm. Price is 29,40 euros (10,95 for children).

ChoCho

American chef Thomas Chisholm is presenting an exclusive Thanksgiving menu on Thursday, November 24, with mini corn crab cakes, truffled macaroni and cheese, and other Thanksgiving surprises. Price is 90 euros.

Cali Sisters

The sisters who love California, Capucine and Juliette, invite you to their restaurant in the 10th arrondissement for a healthy Thanksgiving lunch or dinner on Thursday and Friday and dinner on Saturday (November 24–26). The chef adds some interesting touches to the menu, with spicy labneh and roasted squash and pozole verde, (pulled turkey and tortillas), as well as the traditional Thanksgiving cast of characters. Price is 55 euros.

Le Coq & Fils (formerly Le Coq Rico)

If you’re looking for an exceptional turkey, you are likely to find it at Antoine Westermann’s poultry-specialized restaurant in Montmartre. Their Thanksgiving dinner features the Perle Noire Bressane AOP turkey (free-range for 220 days), a bird with star quality. The taste is enhanced with the chef’s unique approach—slow poaching in broth followed by roasting on a spit.

The Thanksgiving dinner is exclusively on Thursday, November 24. Price begins at 44 euros (you can then add side dishes).

Mama’s Diner

If the idea of a Thanksgiving feast is appealing, then the all-you-can-eat buffet at Mama’s Diner at La Defense is a slice of heaven. Add music and board games and you’ll have the ultimate Thanksgiving. Friday, November 25 at 8 pm. Price is 39 euros (price for children under 12 is 16 euros).

You get a pie. You get a pie. Everybody gets a pumpkin pie. A Thanksgiving tradition. Photo by Steve Coppola/Pixabay.

Sofitel Le Scribe Paris Opéra

Thanksgiving at the Sofitel Le Scribe Paris Opéra will include a special menu by chef Denis Rippa and an evening of American songs on Thursday, November 24 at the Rivages restaurant. Price is 65 euros.

Friendsgiving

Community gatherings are a special way to spend Thanksgiving with friends and family and to meet like-minded Thanksgiving enthusiasts. Here are a few options.

The American Church in Paris

Saturday, 26 November, 18h30

40 euros for adults; 25 euros for children (16 and under)

Democrats Abroad, Saturday, November 26 at Joe Allen Restaurant. The price is 55 USD for adults and 30 USD for children under 12.

The American University Clubs of France

Annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the historic École Militaire on Tuesday, November 22 at 7 pm. Price is 70 euros for members of AUC and their guests.

Happy Thanksgiving

Bonjour Paris hopes that you are on your way to a special day of American tradition. If you haven’t yet made plans, there are still reservations possible at many of these venues.

The simple truth: Thanksgiving should be a verb, a word of action. We should never grow tired of giving thanks for all the good things in life — food, friends, family, and freedom.

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. Thanksgiving Trivia: The average person consumes 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. Go for it!

Photo by Jill Wellington/Pixabay.

Lead photo credit : Photo by Arbaz Khan/Pixabay

More in American food in Paris, Americans in paris, Holidays, Paris restaurants, Paris thanksgiving, Thanksgiving, Thanksgiving Paris, turkey

Previous Article Le Procope: A Slice of History at the Oldest Café in Paris
Next Article Celebrate the Holiday Season with the Illuminations on the Champs-Elysées 2022


Meredith Mullins is an internationally exhibited fine art photographer and instructor based in Paris. Her work is held in private and museum collections in Europe and the U.S. and can be seen at www.meredithmullins.artspan.com or in her award-winning book "In A Paris Moment." She is a writer for OIC Moments and other travel and education publications.