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Talking A French Holiday Turkey

This year I’m heading “home” to New Orleans to be with the family, but most of my Thanksgivings have been spent here in Paris with close friends around my table carving a French roasted turkey with all the “fixin’s.” (No offense to Butterballs, but French turkeys are by far superior — tenderer, juicier, sweeter — and cook in half the time, I think because the meat isn’t as dense, but I wouldn’t know for sure why!).

I am almost always here for Christmas and New Year’s Eve, too — mostly because so many friends love to descend on Paris at this time of year. Obviously, it’s a time when people have vacation, but it’s also such a romantic idea to celebrate the holidays by strolling along the elegantly lit Champs-Elysées or sipping on a spicy “vin chaud” in a corner café.

Every year, readers ask me how the holidays should be spent in Paris — and inevitable I scratch my head for wont to make their stay in the City of Light fulfill their every wish. This year is no different, so I offer you these suggestions, as I would take them for myself.

For a great Thanksgiving meal out, check the FUSAC (France USA Contacts) magazine available free on stands at all English-language locations for restaurants offering a special menu. You may also find several local American organizations offering a Thanksgiving dinner with which you can participate.

Sam Pepper” Restaurant-Bar not only serves it up, but also will bring you a full traditional Thanksgiving dinner to your door ( If you’re cooking it up at your Paris apartment (didn’t you rent one this time around?), shops like “The Real McCoy” ( open 7 days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., 194 Rue de Grenelle, 7th, Tel: and “Thanksgiving” (now taking orders for farm-bred Thanksgiving Turkeys ready to stuff and cook yourself or they can do it for you, 14 Rue Charles V, 4th) will have everything you need, except for maybe the friends to invite — that you’ll have to do on your own.

The Christmas spirit has already hit town and the evidence is everywhere. The department stores are already glowing with their holiday lights (do not miss Galeries Lafayette’s Middle Eastern motif — it’s the third or more year in a row they’ve covered the facade of the building in this outstanding design lighting up all of boulevard Haussmann, the Opéra Garnier and beyond), the grocery stores have boxes of assorted chocolates piled up in every corner for gift-giving and restaurants are starting to advertise their special holiday dinners.

So, if you’re planning to be in Paris for any of the upcoming holidays, put a few of these things on your list of to-do’s:

Take evening strolls along the Champs-Elysées, boulevard Haussmann, the quays along the Seine and market streets all over the city to see the Christmas lights.

Shop at the Christmas markets for hand-crafted gifts while sipping on “vin chaud” and listening to Christmas music.

Visit the elaborate Nativity Scenes, at churches and public displays — don’t miss the La Creche de Noel à Notre-Dame De Paris at the Parvis-Notre-Dame.

Take a ride on a merry-go-round — they spring up all over Paris for the festive season with traditional carved horses and other animals, whirling around on the squares of the central arrondissements of the French capital, including Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, Place Saint-Sulpice and the Square du Temple.

Go skating on one of the many ice rinks around the city — we love the

one at Place de l’Hôtel de Ville for atmosphere best!

Pop the cork on a bottle of champagne or order up a “coup de champagne” at a sumptuous meal at any of Paris’ most illustrious restaurants.

Rent a luxury Paris apartment for a cozy stay at home on Christmas Eve — scroll down to the Classified Ads for special holiday bargain rates with! (Be sure to tell Pascal you read about it in Parler Paris.)

And for a detailed listing with lots more in store, be sure to read Wednesday’s Parler Paris Previews Community Calendar, online all week long at /parlerparis/calendar.html.html

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. For those of you thinking of combining your holiday pleasures by ‘investing’ just one day of your vacation in learning how to profit on owning French property…sign up before it’s too late to the “Invest in France” Seminar on December 29th! Visit /frenchproperty/conference/IIF_Paris/IIF_home.html for more information.


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