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Posts tagged ‘le jour de l’action de grâce’

No. 62: American Christmas or French Thanksgiving

The French have reluctantly taken on a few of our American holidays and traditions…Halloween, bachelorette or hen parties, and lavish weddings, for example. Luckily, Thanksgiving is still a mystery to them. As it should be, given that the history of the holiday is exclusively tied to America.

They don’t have a good handle on what it is all about (and I might add, neither do our dear British allies…).

As I set out on my annual scavenger hunt to find all the necessary ingredients for our feast, I watched several shop keepers have their “AHA moments”, when I told them I needed so-and-so for le jour de grâces.

I even tried: le jour de l’action de grâce.

After repeating it several times, a smile would spread across their faces, and they would say, “Madame, vouliez-vous dire Noël américain?”

“No, kind sir, I don’t mean American Christmas! I mean Thanksgiving.”

Humph. Noël américain.”

So this year, I decided to celebrate American Christmas in a very French Thanksgiving-ish way. I chose to host a wine tasting Thanksgiving chez nous. Complete with foie gras and strange French farce (stuffing).


My precious friend and wine expert Hélène chose a yummy menu of four wines (two white and two reds) and a bubbly magnum of champagne to sample over the course of the evening. Who knew wine could taste of grass and honey, dirt and mold, black berries and grapefruit. It was a hoot and a delicious way to remember to be grateful for the wonderful group of international friends we have in Paris…

…and to enlighten a few of our French friends on the finer points of American Christmas Thanksgiving.



le jour de grâces / le jour de l’action de grâce: Thanksgiving

“Madame, vouliez-vous  dire Noël américain?”: “Madam, do you mean American Christmas?”

Noël américain: American Christmas.


Autre Vocabulaire (curtesy of Laura K. Lawless,

autumn, fall   l’automne

colony   une colonie

family   la famille

feast   un festin, un banquet

football   le football américain

grateful (adj)   reconnaissant 

harvest   la récolte

horn of plenty   la corne d’abondance

native (adj)   indigène

(Native American) Indians    les Indiens (d’Amérique)

November   novembre

parade   une parade

Pilgrims   les pèlerins

settler   un colonisateur

to share   partager

thanks   les remerciements

Thursday   jeudi

tradition   une tradition

traditional (adj)   traditionnel

treaty   un pacte

tribe   une tribu

Some traditional dishes served on Thanksgiving:

food   la nourriture

bread   le pain

corn   le maïs 

cranberry   la canneberge

gravy   la sauce au jus de viande

mashed potatoes   la purée

pumpkin pie   la tarte à la citrouille

stuffing   la farce

sweet potato   la patate douce

turkey   la dinde 

yam   un igname