I always give a small dinner party in Paris on July 4th, for close friends. It just seems fun to celebrate it, so the day doesn’t go unnoticed while I’m in France. Usually, I do it at home and serve hamburgers. This time, I did it at one of my favorite restaurants, where the food is very French. But I had red, white and blue flowers on the table, with little American flags in them. And being a child at heart, I LOVE party favors, and use any excuse to have them: Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day. I love silly light up things, things that sparkle, little teddy bears, wind up chicks on the table at Easter. For July 4th, I had silly headbands, with little pinwheels on them for the ladies, light up stars on the table in red, white and blue, stars and stripes sunglasses, and at each place an inexpensive watch to wear at the beach in red, white, or blue. Party favors put everyone in a good mood, and guests love going home with little presents. I had eight friends there, and we managed to celebrate the birthday of one of them. And the place cards had crossed American and French flags on them. The menu was definitely not American, but the food was delicious. We had artichoke cannelloni to start with, which was really yummy, and after that everyone chose what they wanted to eat, ‘sea spiders’ for some people, mushroom tarts (I had that), and a variety of other things. For my main course, I had sweetbreads (also very French), while others had lamb, beef, or assorted fish dishes. Some people had cheese after the main course. And we had two desserts, chocolate birthday cake, and soufflés (I had chocolate soufflé with whipped cream on top!!). It was definitely not a dietetic dinner, and I’ll have to behave for a few days to make up for it!!! Especially with bathing suits in my immediate future!!!
Most of all, we had a lot of fun together, talked until late at night, in a small private room. We laughed a lot, and enjoyed each other’s company, and it’s probably the last we’ll see of each other until September, since in France everyone goes away for either July or August. The whole country goes on vacation then, and legally people get 5 weeks vacation, no matter what their jobs, and they don’t take their big vacation at other times during the year, although they also get religious and national holidays, and there are a lot of both in France. A lot of people in France go to the South of France in the summer, or Normandy which is about an hour and a half outside Paris, and a lot of people go to Corsica, all popular vacation spots for the French, with good beaches and warm weather. I’d say most people stay in France, rather than go elsewhere, although so many other countries are very nearby. It’s an easy hop into Italy, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, or over the channel to England. Usually, we go to Italy in the summer, but this summer we are staying in France, and going to the south. Vacation spots are very crowded in the summer, especially where there are beaches. And traffic can be pretty bad. But it’s all very relaxed and fun. Most of my children are due to arrive right after the 4th of July, and then we’re heading for the South together. So my 4th of July dinner party was a great send off for my closest friends, before we all start our summer vacations. Typically French, two of them are going to Normandy, two to the South of France, and one is going to Japan!!! I hope your summer is off to a great start too, with family and friends, and some time to relax and have fun!!!
Much love, Danielle