Celebrating Thanksgiving in France

Moving far away from home is a very big step. People move all around the world, sometimes to very new places which might differ from their own home. The most exhilarating factor about being in a new country is that you get to experience a whole new culture with different values and beliefs. Another aspect is also celebrating your own culture while being somewhere new.

If one of your favorite holidays happens to be Thanksgiving, here we'll provide you with a few tips and examples as to how you can make it feel like you're at home.
France is one of the largest countries in Europe and the top touristic country in the world, bar none! The main reason is its central location but another one is the extremely diversified geographies one can find in France: you could describe it as a concentrate of every piece of Europe. Another important fact is the rich combination of history, culture and nature you can find in France. Finally, it's been said that the food isn't that bad and the wine drinkable.
Even when you are far from your hometown, continue your tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving when in France!

Does France celebrate thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is not a holiday that French people are familiar with. Yes, they know that it is celebrated in the United States and Canada, however, they don't practice that tradition in France. Even though that's the case, it doesn't mean that celebrating Thanksgiving is something you should give up when you move. The opposite actually!

Embrace your culture and share it with your new friends in France. Most people would love to experience a new holiday and learn about your traditions. You might be starting over in another country, but you could also keep the good old traditions that you love.

Thanksgiving originated in 1621 when the American settlers had no option but to increase their food supplies. Their first harvest became the holiday we today call Thanksgiving. As it was primarily of importance here in the West, it wasn't very well known in Europe, hence its lack of popularity in France.

Thanksgiving 101

How and when do we celebrate Thanksgiving? In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the month of October while the Americans gather for Thanksgiving in November. Why you may wonder? People say that it is because harvest season begins at an earlier time in Canada as opposed to the United States.

Another popular aspect of Thanksgiving, and how many unfamiliar with it recognize it, is the turkey. Celebrating Thanksgiving involves a turkey dinner as back in the day it was popular to hunt turkeys and the bird is also characteristic for North America. Alongside eating turkey, other popular and traditional dishes for Thanksgiving include:

  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Carrots
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Ham Stuffing
  • Cornbread Stuffing
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Pumpkin Cheesecake
  • Apple Pie
  • Pecan Pie

Thanksgiving Celebrations in France

Now that you are ready to awaken Thanksgiving traditions in France, it's time to create the best dinner yet. If this is your first Thanksgiving away from home, there are plenty of recipes available online to follow. The trickier part might be finding the ingredients you require for all of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes.

Our first suggestion is to either get familiar with the neighborhood you live in to know the best places for food or ask others for advice! Most locals will know 'the' places to go to so that you can get the best potatoes, apples, and most importantly fresh turkey! Furthermore, if you are unable to get all the ingredients, it's okay to improvise!

Make your own version of a Thanksgiving dinner and enjoy it! All in all, Thanksgiving is not about having the perfect dinner at the table, but about being thankful for the things that you do have. Therefore, be creative and have fun with it.


Now that you are in France, invite your French friends over! Have them be part of your Thanksgiving celebration and dinner where you as a group can discuss all the different customs and holidays between the two cultures. It could be a night filled with delicious food but also a night to learn about new things and appreciate all our differences.

It is also fun and competitive if you organize games to play. For example, games such as pumpkin toss, mad libs, or football outside would be great time passers and bonding moments between your family, friends and you. In all essence, the important thing here is to make this day memorable for yourself and the people around you.

What Thanksgiving is All About...

No matter where you move to, where you move from, or whether your favorite holiday is Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter, do it your way and surround yourself with people you love. Although we have discussed what to do in France during Thanksgiving throughout this article, the key to remember from this context is that life is all about spending time and making memories with our friends, family and new people we meet along the way.

Furthermore, people adapt, they absorb, and they share. Therefore, don't be skeptical about celebrating something in a place where people might be unfamiliar with it. For all you know, you could continue your own tradition and create some new ones down the road.

Thanksgiving in Canada and America is pretty much a day spent with family, a day where everyone is thankful for the surroundings, the food and the people around them. Although we spend basically every day with the people we love, we don't always stop to realize how important every moment truly is. We often get carried away with our busy schedules and worrying about the next day.

Meanwhile, we don't often realize just how fortunate we might be and how we should cherish what we have. Time goes by, and these are the things we can't get back.

Be You - Celebrating Thanksgiving

Celebrating Thanksgiving for you might be different from someone else's idea of the holiday. As we have emphasized the importance of being authentic, our final note is to just be you wherever you are. Carry your traditions and be proud of them even in new and unfamiliar places. Embrace it all while staying true to your own self, and everything else will fall into place.

Therefore, go grocery shopping, set the table for this festive day and make sure your turkey or other dishes don't burn. Eat and be merry!
Kalyan Panja