RVA 35: The one about Noel

By Didier Allouch, host of Rendez-vous d'Amérique

My dear francophiles, francovorous and francophageous friends, yes, it’s this time of the year. Some say it’s the most wonderful one. They probably own Amazon stock…

Chargement du lecteur...


OK no more cynicism, it’s Christmas and we love Christmas. Some of you, the expats, will probably go home for the Holidays, get stuffed like your second turkey of the year (the benefits of being an expat in the US: 2 turkeys in a little more than a month, one at Thanksgiving, one at Christmas, French tradition… Not sure that’s reasonable, but, hey, no cynicism, I said…), spend tons of money on plane tickets and gifts no one really wants, etc.

Yes, I’m really bummed about not being able to go back home this Christmas.

But that’s OK, because sometimes home comes to you. Let me explain…

In the next episode of Rendez-Vous d’Amérique, we have a story about a small version of the Strasbourg Christmas market set up in a New York park, on Broadway, just across Wall Street…

There you could find all the ginger bread you need, all the tarte flambée you ever wanted, all the Christmas decorations you’ve ever dreamed about, and even roasted chestnuts like in Strasbourg. All made in Alsace, of course. So, if you’re from Northeastern France and live in New York, you’ll find a piece of home at the Strasbourg Christmas market near Battery Park…

On the day we shot our story, there were a lot of French people there. That reminds me of one question I asked myself often: why do we have this tendency to look for pieces of home wherever we go?

I’m not different from you, guys. I do a lot more French stuff in the US than I did when I lived in France. For example, I watch the France 2 Journal everyday on TV5MONDE when I get home from work. Never, ever, did I watch the news in France!

The radio station on my Alexa is always France Info or RTL. Heck, I even listen to Les Grosses Têtes… Never ever would I listen to these stations in France!

I jump in the air when I see that they sell Président Camembert at the Ralph’s next to my place. Never ever would I buy Président in France (Rustique, maybe, if it’s a bit smelly…)!

When did I become such a caricature of the expat? Why are we so attracted by the things we left home?

After all, we left. We made the decision to leave (if we were lucky). We chose another way of life. So why do we need these relics of our past life in our new one?

Oh, you’re expecting an answer now? I don’t have one, sorry.

I just know I love my $15 Camembert, my $7 baguettes, French news on TV5MONDE, and my French song playlists on my iPhone… And yes, I am a little bummed to not be able to go back home for Christmas because I have to work here.

So yes, I will cook my chestnut stuffed turkey, Alexa will play Petit Papa Noël and there will be “Santons” at the feet of my tree.

And, even far from home, it will be something I wish to you all; it will be a Joyeux Noël!!!

To learn more about the Strasbourg Christmas market and French culture in America, tune-in to Rendez-vous d’Amérique on TV5MONDE USA. Click here for more information.

Exploring cultural diversity entwined with Manhattan’s insatiable energy, Hollywood’s bright lights, Louisiana’s inspirational beauty, and beyond - Rendez-vous d'Amérique invites you on a journey to discover Francophone culture in America. Your host on this cultural experience is Didier Allouch - reporter, cinephile, and a familiar face at movie premieres. Click here to learn how you can get TV5MONDE USA and never miss an episode!