How to spend Thanksgiving in Paris
Pont Alexandre Bridge
One of the perks of living on the East Coast was its proximity to Europe. Back when I lived in California flying to Europe meant a $1,300 ticket and a 12 hour plane ride, which wasn’t doable very often. But flying to Europe from Boston meant cheaper tickets and significantly less flying time. So when my birthday was approaching and I got two days off of work for Thanksgiving, I decided to fly to Paris instead of Los Angeles for the holidays.
I always tell people to travel outside of the US during Thanksgiving because there are so many advantages. Everyone gets Thanksgiving Day off and some folks even get the day after off. If you are lucky enough to get 2 days off then you only need to use 3 vacation days to get NINE days off!
November is not going to be warm but it’s not going to be freezing either. If you can handle some chilly weather, it’s a great time go. Since most Americans stay in the States to spend Thanksgiving with their family, you can expect fewer crowds, shorter lines, and a more enjoyable, relaxing vacation. You won’t have to fight to get a peek of the Mona Lisa or wait 3 hours in line to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Mona Lisa, duh.
Flights are also less expensive. Honest to goodness, my flight on Iceland Air from Boston to Paris with a layover in Iceland was $614.96 roundtrip. That included a personal entertainment screen and free drinks, which is more then I can say for more American airlines.
I know you have already read Are Vacation Rentals Right For You? so you know how in love I am with vacation rentals. It was for all those reasons that I rented a flat for our 9 day stay in Paris. And the best part was that the owner was willing to negotiate with me since it was the slow season.
My fabulous vacation rental flat in Paris!
1 bedroom flat with kitchen, w/d, living room, dining room, and balcony
I can really only think of one down side. Since the weather wasn’t great, all my photos came out gray and dreary looking. We really didn’t get much sun at all, which can be a bit of a downer. It’s for this reason that I probably wouldn’t recommend visiting certain other cities during the winter months. In Paris, you spend a significant amount of time inside museums and buildings so it’s not too bad when the weather turns. But you sure as heck wouldn’t want to visit Tuscany, the Amalfi Coast, or Nice in that type of weather. But even so it’s really, really difficult to complain when you are Paris!
In addition to all that, my birthday was coming up so I got to spend it in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, which was a pretty amazing thing.
So what were the highlights of my trip? Obviously my actual birthday was pretty awesome. I went out to breakfast and enjoyed some champagne. Then I perused a local flea market where I purchased a drawing. After getting dressed for the evening I strolled towards our destination and stopped for cocktails. Finally I finished off the night with a spectacular dinner at Maison Blanche while enjoying champagne and views of the Eiffel Tower and Seine. It really doesn’t get much better than that!
Flea market in Le Marais
Birthday dinner at Maison Blanche
Another memorable day was spent stuffing my face with macarons, sipping wine (in public! Gasp!), and simply people watching at Jardin du Luxembourg. It was just so calming and pretty. There were dogs running around and everyone seemed to genuinely be enjoying themselves and their surroundings.
And of course no trip to Paris is complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower.
There are a lot of differing opinions out there when it comes to the Eiffel and whether or not it’s worth a trip. I know one travel blogger who has never even been inside despite having visited Paris on several occasions. I guess it’s up to you to decide if it’s worth the effort but to make an educated decision you’ll need to go up at least once. I personally think it is magical up there. It’s not just the views either; everyone up there is so happy and you know they are making memories they’ll keep forever.
So the moral of the story is travel during Thanksgiving and go big on your birthday =)
My Thanksgiving dinner was trout =) and it was delicious!