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Spending Thanksgiving in Paris, France

December 02, 2013
At home, Thanksgiving is celebrated with Mom’s stuffing and reuniting with old friends and distant family members. It may sound hard to be so far way from home. I was lucky enough to have the perfect Thanksgiving plan, making this year’s holiday one I won’t forget!
The short week means you get an extra, extra extended weekend. If you plan to travel, as most students do, you can leave on Wednesday night and stay until Sunday! I planned a trip with my two best friends from high school to spend my favorite holiday in one of my all time favorite cities – Paris! I left Wednesday night, a quick two-hour flight from Rome, and before I knew it I could see the Eiffel Tower sparkling from my taxi.

My friend Jacqueline’s parents had moved to Paris last year, so they had an apartment down the street from the Arc di Triumphe. My other friend Tess, who is studying in Amsterdam, and I spent the weekend there with her family.   The three of us spent Thanksgiving morning at the Notre Dame Cathedral,and the afternoon at the Louvre. We came home to Jacqueline’s mom’s homemade traditional Thanksgiving dinner! She made an amazing pumpkin soup as a first course, and had incredible apple pie for dessert. Her family had friends over for dinner, including two other students who had been studying in Paris fall semester too. It was great to meet some other girls abroad. They were so excited to be attending a Thanksgiving dinner with us.
On Friday my friends and I went to the Sacre-Coeur, a beautiful basilica set back on a hill in the North end of Paris. After climbing up the steps, there’s a beautiful view of the city! Behind the basilica is a neighborhood called Montmartre, and artist district with the Salvatore Dali museum. We spent our afternoon looking at prints and paintings of Paris we would have loved to decorate our rooms with, and enjoyed some crepes on the hill overlooking Paris.   
That night we went out to dinner to a delicious French restaurant, and walked back to the apartment past Place du Trocadero, one of the best views of the Eiffel Tower you can find. We hung out on the steps, got another crepe, and waited for the Eiffel to sparkle, which it does for a few minutes every hour. Unfortunately I had booked a flight to come home on Saturday, so this was my last night in Paris, at least for a little while.

Being able to see friends from home and eat a Thanksgiving meal was a great plan. Many of my friends went to some of their other favorite cities with friends. On Tuesday before Thanksgiving, a girl in my program cooked a Thanksgiving meal all by herself for twenty-five people! Although I’m in Europe, it still felt like I could find a Thanksgiving meal, and enjoy the spirit with my friends anywhere I went.

Haley Bryan is the CEA MOJO in Rome, Italy. She is currently a junior at Providence College.
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