My typical 4th of July schedule looks like this: wake up, go to a bbq, eat hot dogs, eat corn on the cob, eat potato salad, drink a beer, watch some fireworks, feel patriotic and get embarrassingly teary eyed, go home and eat some more potato salad. But today is not a typical 4th of July for me. In fact, it's the most atypical Independence Day I've ever experienced. For the first time in my life, I will fête my country's birthday while not actually in my country. And while it's fitting that I will spend this great summer holiday in a country that had a lot to do with helping us win our independence, I will definitely miss the fun red, white and blue celebrations back home. But all hope is not lost! Boasting a significant American ex-pat community, and historic ties with the U.S., Paris offers plenty of ways to celebrate the 4th. You just have to know where to look.
You could start by visiting the many statues, plaques and other random locations dedicated to the United States and its famous citizens. Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin would be good choices, as would Place des Etats-Unis where you could even set up a portable grill and have an impromptu picnic. If you're of the religious persuasion, go to the American Church of Paris. If you like art, treasure hunt in the Louvre or the Musee d'Orsay for American artists. If you like to read, browse the English-language books at Brentano's or Shakespeare and Co. If you get hungry again, visit Thanksgiving, an American grocery store named after another great holiday from back home. When you get thirsty, pull up a chair at Harry's New York Bar or Bar Hemingway at the Ritz; try to remember all the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner on your walk home.
As for myself, I'll be celebrating the 4th by participating in one of the most classic American pastimes: a road trip. Today marks the start of a one-week trip that includes visits to Deauville in the north, the Mediterranean in the south, and lots of unplanned pit stops along the way. There's just something about hitting the open road that no American can resist: places to go, things to see, and all the time and freedom in the world to do both. So here's to you, Land of the Free and Home of the Brave. Happy 232nd!