Back to its roots in Leiden
The history of Thanksgiving started, not in the United States, but right in the heart of Europe. In 1608, the first dissident pilgrims sought refuge in the Netherlands, having fled their native England. They went to Leiden, a small city between Amsterdam and The Hague, where they hoped to set sail for the New World. These religious separatists, later known as the Pilgrim Fathers, were forced to wait in the Dutch city for several years. Finally, in 1621, they boarded the Mayflower which took them over the ocean to North America.
Nowadays, Leiden pays tribute to these men and women every year by celebrating Thanksgiving Day as well. Visit the Gothic church of Saint Peter which houses the grave of John Robinson, one of the Pilgrim Fathers. You will be amazed by the architecture above your head in this 14th-century place of worship, which also shelters the remains of painter Rembrandt's parents.
To find out more, visit the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum. Housed in a 14th-century building, this small museum is devoted to the American pioneers. There, you can relive their intrepid adventure through ancient maps, books and illuminated manuscripts – taking you right back to the days of the Mayflower.
You certainly work up an appetite with these visits. Forty-five minutes by car will take you to Amsterdam where several restaurants celebrate with the United States on 22 November. Fond of good food, you decide on Belushi's Amsterdam which cooks up a glorious turkey accompanied with cranberry sauce, and trims the place up in red, white and blue and star-spangled banners. Tuck into the feast and enjoy the party atmosphere – Americans living in the city just love it there!
Leiden American Pilgrim Museum
2312 JT Leiden
+31 71 512 2413
Thanksgiving at Belushi's Amsterdam
22 November 2018 from 6:30 p.m.
1012 JA Amsterdam
+31 20 623 1380
Paris on Thanksgiving Day
The City of Lights also celebrates Thanksgiving for the Americans living in the capital and all those who love a party to forget the grey days of autumn. It all takes place on Thursday 22 November from 7 o'clock in the evening in the 19th arrondissement. The restaurant À la Folie, located in the heart of the Parc de la Villette, is organising a special night to mark the occasion. Enjoy traditional Thanksgiving fare in a playful American ambiance with country and western music. From roast turkey to pecan pie, from corn muffins to apple pie and not forgetting sweet potato mash... welcome to Uncle Sam's! The atmosphere of the evening promises to be friendly and festive, just like it is on the other side of the Pond.
If you have time, make the most of being in this neighbourhood and take a walk along the Canal de l'Ourcq, using the two footbridges to cross over from one bank to the other. In autumn, the orange leaves fall from the trees onto the peaceful waters of the canal.
Happy Thanksgiving at À la Folie
22 November 2018 at 7:00 p.m.
Parc de La Villette, Folie L2
26 avenue Corentin Cariou
+33 (0)7 76 79 70 66
The feel of the US in Barcelona
If you happen to be in Barcelona, why not celebrate Thanksgiving Catalan-style? Spend the morning strolling along the world-famous Ramblas which stretches from Plaça de Catalunya to Port Vell. The gentle feel of autumn on Barcelona's most popular pedestrian street is immensely pleasurable.
Next up, head to Flaherty's Irish Bar. This homely pub has an extraordinary programme lined up for this very special day. Starting at one o'clock, you can join the traditional Thanksgiving feast with its must-have pumpkin pie. The city's US community will bring a cheerful mood. Then it is on to sport and pride of place for the heroes of the day. You will get to watch live NFL American football matches, with the Eagles against the Lions and then the Panthers against the Cowboys. When it comes to US culture, you will be as American as apple pie!
Thanksgiving at Flaherty's Irish Bar
22 November 2018 at 1:00 p.m.
Plaça Joaquim Xirau, s/n
+34 934 12 62 63