The Big Sandy Mountaineer -

Breaking traditon, spend Thanksgiving in Paris


November 27, 2019

Last year my husband and I were in the early stages of planning a family vacation for the following summer when we came across shockingly low-priced flights from Great Falls to Paris. The only catch was that the departure was on Thanksgiving Day. Being that the trip was within two months, we jumped at the opportunity and booked right away.

Although we were personally battling colds, Chris and I could not help but notice how effortlessly we could get around with both our girls, then ages 3 and 1, at the airports in Denver, Toronto, and Paris. Unlike the awful congestion of traveling the day after Thanksgiving, the airports were surprisingly bare.

Once we got to Paris, the magic immediately set in. Much like any place in the world, some people will either love it or hate it. As the saying goes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we arrived at an Airbnb accommodation that was the quintessential Parisian flat. The building was tall and slender of a light gray hue and had a black sloped roof. It also featured three small, narrow balconies overlooking a large street lined with theaters, museums, and restaurants, with amazing peripheral views of the extended city, including the world-famous Eiffel Tower. Walking the streets, your nose would instantly come alive with the smell of fresh-baked bread at nearly every corner! Not to mention, the intertwining smell of crepes and French roast chicken. My husband and I could not help but turn into giddy children walking fast to wander from shop to shop, sampling all the bread, pastries, and chocolate! It was especially fun to see my oldest daughter Lucy take a liking to Parisian breakfasts.

See Page 3: Paris

It consisted of 1 personal sized French baguette straight out of the oven slathered with butter and jam, with a side of the thickest hot chocolate you had ever seen! However, we all took an extreme liking to both savory and sweet crepes, as well as macaroons!

If you had asked me if I liked macaroons before the trip, I would have immediately said, "No!". I had never tasted a real macaroon; it is like two delectably edible pillows with a delicious crème filling. We tried many combinations, even ones that seemed odd, such as lemon and chocolate or raspberry and basil. We loved them all!

One of the main highlights was that we got to visit the Cathedral of Notre Dame before the devastating fire that occurred at the beginning of this year. I had previously visited the holy shrine once in my early 20's and was excited to share the experience with my husband and daughters. To my surprise, the Crown of Thorns that Jesus wore during the Passion was on display for the public. I was already moved by the enormity and beauty of the building itself. And I was moved to tears to witness such an essential part of both History and my faith.

Other highlights for our family included climbing up to the top of the Eiffel Tower, visiting the Louvre, and other historical Churches. Let me tell you, it was not very easy getting around with two toddlers, but my husband and I could not help but be moved by the ambiance of the city of love and just happily pushed those strollers along without a care in the world! We also took a scenic boat ride on the river Seine taking in city views from the water.

Just when our trip appeared to be as far from traditional Thanksgiving as possible, we began to notice all of the intricate Christmas ornaments all over the city! Suddenly although we were thousands of miles from home, the feeling of the Holidays was present. My family and I enjoyed playful moving window displays, some of the most exquisite giant Christmas trees we've ever seen. Best of all, a real European Christmas market filled with spiced wine, Parisian holiday treats, and other homemade gifts.

This year we will celebrate Thanksgiving with our family here in Big Sandy with the traditional trimmings, but our trip to Paris will always hold a special place in our hearts.


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