27 November 2009

Giving Thanks to French Holidays and Our Home

I officially started celebrating Thanksgiving in 2007 with the husband, our first year together in Paris. Of course to get us excited, we researched on its meaning, history and the proper meal preparation(hence started my husband's love for brining).

his 1st brining experience which resulted in everything to be brined!!

our first stuffed bird!

For obvious reasons the French don't celebrate the event, but my husband prefers this 'American' occasion over the super hyped, commercialized ones like Valentine's or Halloween--both neither practiced here as well--which he claims brainwash you to purchase the props which necessarily come with it. Hmmmm.

preparing our stuffing and sidings

 Exscuse me, husband, how do you think I got the ingredients for this meal? I honestly think he just enjoys what Thanksgiving brings forth: a yummy stuffed bird, sidings, dessert and wine! Burp!

                                                2007 Thankgiving meal

Although speaking of feasts and celebrations, don't get me wrong, the French have their share of holidays: national/civic and religious/Christian ones, too. Total of 15 days of break! Even when the holidays fall on a Tuesday or Thursday, the normal custom although not official, appropriately called le pont (bridge), is to include the Monday or Friday as days off!

On top of it, the Frenchies are entitled to 5 weeks of vacation mostly during the months of July and August. In some companies including reputable international organizations, there even exists a summer schedule, which I remember back then I found so bizarre with having to go through shortened office hours and a natural (and somehwhat accepted) laid-back sense of work mode. Shall I also mention the random strikes which are conducted by service unions of transport,railroad etc.. paralyzing the city with limited train rides, nil buses or cargo truck-blocked highways, and naturally minimizing work hours? Aah, la vie en France.
A little insert, during my short stint at the Embassy, not only did I observe French non-working holidays but my national ones, too. Yeehahaha.

Below is a list of French holidays for those thinking of planning trips here.  Please keep in mind the heavy circulation of highways, full trains and planes (including some closed restaurants and shops) during the following dates.

Public Holidays

1 January :   New Year's Day (Jour de l'an)
1 May :         Labor Day (Fête du premier mai)
8 May:         WWII Victory Day (Fête de la Victoire 1945)
14 July:        Bastille Day (Fête nationale)
15 August :   Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Assomption)
1 November:    All Saints Day (La Toussaint)
11 November :   Armistice Day (Jour d'armistice)
25 December:    Christmas Day (Noël)
26 December**:    2nd Day of Christmas

*Movable  Feasts             2009     2010    2011     2012      2013

Good Friday**                 10 April  2 April   22 April  6 April  29 March 
Easter (Pâques)              12 April  4 April   24 April  8  April   31 March  
Easter Monday               13 April   5 April  25 April  9  April    1 April       
Ascension (l'Ascencion) 21 May   13 May  2 June    17 May    9 May       
Pentecost(la Pentecôte)31 May  23 May 12 June   27 May    19 May       
Whit Monday                  1 June    24 May  13 June  28 May    20 May      
*Movable because these feasts are dependent on Easter dates which are determined by complex calculations. Check this link for more info.
**Celebrated in Alsace and Lorraine

           Thanksgiving 2009  best leading actor wins! our bio chicken produce(minimum of 81 days free range) was awarded a silver medal by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture & Fishing. This is dedicated to our recent viewing of Food Inc.

Now to revert to last night's Thanksgiving meal, I managed to prepare it all by myself like a good housewife (phew!) inlcuding hours worth of packing and moving of boxes out of our apartment.

my successful chorizo vegetable harvest stuffing. here's the recipe which I tweaked.

stuffed lemon, garlic chicken roast. merci  food network.

In the spirit of giving thanks, we toasted to a blessed 'harvest', the best of health to family and friends, bountiful love and a happy home.

 2009 Thanksgiving meal. pas mal (not bad!)

      I got lucky choosing a 2006 Cotes de Provence for only 6,60 

And special thanks to you, Villa Jean Godart, our  home of memorable firsts, enjoyable feasts and comforting escape from the cold city, you will be missed!

cheers to our humble abode 2007-2009

to our squeezed up meals in the kitchen: maximum of 4 adults

to visiting friends for apero-diner

to baked lemon pies and our seasonal flower kids


Anonymous said...


Thank you for shariing with us your yummy photos and recipes on Thanksgiving.
Halloween is actually celebrated in France and in European countries it just does not get big as in Dysneyland's country!!!

I would like people to consider the chart below summarizing the public and private vacation days in Europe in order to cut with the cliché of France being "lazy".
And anyway studies are confirming an increase of productivity during the working days of happier people having a decent numbers of vacations days ... Another talk could lead us to mention the spread use of naps in offices in Japan!
And unfortunately France is questioning vacations days particularly those corresponding to Christians celebration on the basis of those last years tremendous debates on France non religious state the "laïcité" ... another debate again.

Country vacation yearly/ public


Finland: 25;14;total 39
Austria: 25;13;total 38
Greace: 25;12;total 37
France: 25;11;total 36
Portugal: 22;14;total 36
Spain: 22;14;total 36
Sweden: 25;11;total 36
Danemark: 25;10;total 35
Luxembourg 25;10;total 35
Germany: 20;13;total 33
Belgium: 20;10;total 30
Italy: 20;10;total 30
Ireland: 20;9;total 29
Netherlands:20;8;total 28
UK : 20;8;total 28

Yours, the french lover!!

The Happy Spectator said...

Please don't be offended French lover. I agree that there are some French 'workers'who put out quality work despite (and also due to) the 5-week vacation. I'm merely highlighting your benefits which people would die to have!

mai mai said...

anne, your thanksgiving dinner looks soooo yummy!!! thanks for sharing....can't wait to see you this december!!! when are you arriving??? :)

TMD said...

i think i know who french lover is...nap lover!!!! mz.spectating, i enjoyed this post very much and want to read more! perhaps you will consider a part deux to this blog entry? will you post more memories?this is reminding me of my first home as a newlywed in long island city new york, a ground floor apartment under the subway tracks! we knew the train was coming when our place would start to shake! we'd grab our coat, run 30 steps and viola, we were on the N!!! of course i look back now and think how the hell did i last in that shithole.

Katrina said...

Wow! and I thought the Pinoys were the worst when it came to calling all sorts of days "holidays!" Next thanksgiving, i challenge your hubby to make turducken (it's a chicken inside a duck that's inside a turkey).....and then invite us! =)

RLM said...

amazing cooking, as usual! makes the turkey and stuffing we made for Thanksgiving look so basic and unsophisticated...oh, well...we will be inspired by both you and your french lover's cooking for next year :) I'm glad we were able to see the first home of the love birds...and look forward to many more visits in your new home!

Anonymous said...


I want more!
Are you too busy in the cold buzzying city of lights to delight your readers ..?

Funny my "word verification" is ingsnow!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...


I hope you are doing fine because it's been a while... Last year you left us in thanksgiving and no snow beautifying Paris mentionned?
Where ARE you THS? WE MISS YOUR Stories and YOUR Photos, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE BRING us BAck OUR Favorite BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!