Saturday, June 30, 2007

Le 4 juillet kick-off

Being in Paris around the Fourth of July means no hometown parades with clanging fire trucks, no fireworks, and no Boston Pops playing the Star-Spangled Banner. But Americans in Paris have learned that being an expatriate doesn't mean being an ex-patriot.

A number of American groups organize special Independence Day festivities. Most are for members and their guests. A source of inspiration for the guesstimated 100,000 - 200,000 Americans living in the Ile-de-France.

Today the American Club hosted a Fete Champetre at a member's house near Giverny, a 40-minute ride from Paris. So worth the trip! Mother Nature was kind,and the group of 60 or so French and Americans had some good old US-of-A fun and food and even a spot or two of sunshine.

It's so uplifting to blend the Gallic and the Yankee traditions: for example, we never served excellent Bordeaux at any childhood July 4th barbecues that I can remember. It definitely should become a new tradition, y'all. The All-American recipes were prepared by a French chef from the nearby village, and let me tell you, he makes one mean potato salad. Delish! Hamburgers, barbecued chicken, brownies -- the whole enchilada (well, no enchiladas, actually).

It was particularly amusant to explain the notion of a silent auction to the French attendees. And the Presidential Quiz! I won't mention names, but one enterprising lady spent 14 minutes on her cell phone with her daughter, who googled all the answers. That's what I call ingenuity.

All ages, lots of activities, GREAT music. And a tombola (raffle). Lucky me -- I got Carlton Moody's fabulous CD, "Meet me in Paris Tennessee," a perfect reward for a splendid Franco-American Fourth.

More celebrations and outings tomorrow!

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