Monday, February 13, 2017

celebrating thanksgiving paris-style

Before it's lost forever, finally I bring you the story of Thanksgiving 2016 à Paris!

Months earlier my American friend Mary had alerted me that she and her husband and son would be in Paris the week of Thanksgiving. Would I like to/could I join them? At the time, I chuckled a little over how impossible it is for me to plan things more than about a week in advance, let alone scheduling things that are months away. But I made note of it, and we hoped for the best.

And it worked! Mid-evening on the day before Thanksgiving, my train from Pau pulled into Paris's Montparnasse station. I made my way to Mary and Ryan's Airbnb apartment, we all exchanged hugs, and then Mary and I headed out for late dinner while Ryan had put-the-toddler-to-bed duty.

On our dinner hunt, we passed La Taverne de Montmartre, and tempted by the lovely aromas escaping from it, we stopped in. Though people were still eating, we learned that the kitchen wasn't taking new orders. The man we talked with seemed friendly enough, so I tried to joke about whether we could beg the chef to stay a little longer, but then I couldn't come up with the French word for beg. So that joke fell completely flat.

Fortunately, the next evening as dinnertime approached, Mary remembered that we should try this place again.

Et voilà, success! This time we were on the very front end of dinner hours, and the long family-style tables with benches weren't even set with tableware yet. But they welcomed us in and remembered us from the night before.

The fun began in earnest when Mary asked if they happened to have some paper that could occupy two-year-old Liam. The friendly proprietor happily produced paper and markers. And his five-year-old son was quickly enamored with Liam and joined in the drawing, producing his own pictures for us to ooh and aah over. The two boys quickly became pals, the five-year-old (who has no younger siblings but would like to - hint, hint, to his parents! :-) ) happily assuming the role of big brother half-watching over Liam while helping entertain him. When his parents called him to the back of the restaurant for his own dinner, he insisted that Liam join him so he could share his dinner with him.

When it was time for our new little friend to head home to go to bed--because he had school the next day--he was really sad to leave us behind.

For all the bad reputation Paris has for less than personable or kind service in its cafés and restaurants, we had an absolute warm-fuzzy of an evening, which turned out to be a lovely--and somehow very appropriate--way to celebrate Thanksgiving.

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