“Do you like Thanksgiving?” a co-worker asked recently, after admitting that she wasn’t too fond of the holiday.
I was taken aback at first. I didn’t think that Thanksgiving needed to be defended. What’s not to like about an excuse to gather together and eat wonderful seasonal one-offs like sweet potato casserole and pecan pie, and, being a conversation set in America - get one (and often two) whole days off??
But as I headed home, I reflected and realized that while I’ve always enjoyed Thanksgiving as an opportunity to spend time with my family, I never loved it until I moved to France. Read More
I’ve been making a list and checking it twice...and am ready to reveal which European Christmas markets made the naughty or nice list. This by no means is a conclusive list of markets throughout Europe, but it’s my thoughts on 20 markets spanning 8 European countries. So without further ado, here’s the breakdown by country: Read More
I have always loved celebrating the Christmas season, and moving to Europe has introduced me to an absolutely wonderful tradition: the Christmas market. For the past two seasons my husband and I have traveled to many European cities during December to experience the burst of holiday cheer and have been anything but disappointed in our findings.
If you’re off to a European Christmas market, here are 13 tips we've learned firsthand! Read More
I have a confession to make.
Every year I hold out, hard as it may be, to refrain from listening to Christmas music non-stop until after Thanksgiving. I don’t like to rush through Thanksgiving, and I try my best to savor each holiday as they come. (I once snapped at Michael and proclaimed he was “ruining Christmas” by playing holiday tunes in July. It’s serious.)
So while I can still say in good conscience that I haven’t blasted my Mariah Carey Merry Christmas album just yet, I do have to come clean. I saw the Christmas displays the week they went up (first week of November) at Galeries Lafayette and Printemps. It felt a little wrong and it wasn’t even very cold out, but I couldn’t contain my excitement. It all worked out though in the end - despite this little excursion, I didn’t ruin Thanksgiving :-)
I patiently refrained from sharing these pictures with you until after Thanksgiving was celebrated in the States, lest any of you felt adamant about focusing on the holiday at hand. So without further ado, let’s walk along Boulevard Haussmann together. Read More
Signing your first apartment lease. Starting your first job. Moving out. Paying bills. There are many moments both big and small that seal a badge of becoming a “real adult.”
Moving to Paris has given me the opportunity to reach another “adulthood” milestone: hosting a holiday. Now for the third year, I can say that Thanksgiving is my holiday. Each year I get the honor of gathering my Parisian family in my home to celebrate this wonderful American holiday. Want to know how I do it?
Here’s how to plan an expat Thanksgiving: Read More
As you might have already guessed, Halloween isn’t really a big thing over here in France. You can find a few pumpkin decorations in stores (mainly in chocolate shops) and a few costume parties but it’s nothing to the extent in the US.
I've been told that Halloween did have a few years of popularity in France, but it was followed by a backlash that squelched the holiday. Some say it’s because it was deemed to be “too American.” And I’ve heard others say it’s because it interfered with the French holiday that occurs the very next day on November 1st: La Toussaint (All Saints’ Day).
The truth is probably a mix of both, but I can attest that it is possible to attend an epic Halloween party one night and still crawl out of bed to make it to the cemetery the next day. (And whoever says that French people don’t get into dressing up for Halloween have not seen the level of detail and intricacy of the costumes I saw - they all upstaged me! But that’s for another time…) Why the cemetery? Because La Toussaint is a day to visit the graves of relatives and pay respects. Read More
July 14th marks la fête nationale for France and as you might imagine, the celebrations in Paris are elaborate. And although I didn't make it out to a Firemen's ball (more on what that is in my previous post) and only saw the military parade via the TV, there is one event I wouldn't miss for anything. That, of course, would be the fireworks show.
The last two years have taught me that a spectacle of this nature isn't one to just show up to at the last minute, and certainly not an event to make haphazard plans to meet up with friends. No, this year we sent out a Google map to friends with a small shaded area indicating where one might find our picnic blanket, and arrived just before 6pm to stake out a spot. (Note: The fireworks don't start until 11pm, when it finally gets dark.) Read More
July 14th is La Fête Nationale for France, an important national holiday. In English we refer to it as Bastille Day because it commemorates the storming of the Bastille (and thus the beginning of the French Revolution). If you're lucky enough to be in Paris for this holiday, you have many great options to celebrate some liberté, égalité, and fraternité!
Here's how to join in the celebrations and make the most of being in Paris on Bastille Day: Read More
June 21st is one of my favorite days in Paris. Not only is it the first day of summer and the longest day of the year, but it is celebrated well in Paris. That's because June 21st each year is the Fête de la Musique. This music festival is a national celebration in France (and has spread to numerous other countries) where all musicians, professionals and amateurs alike, are encouraged to perform. Read More