Turning Twenty-Three: A Home-Cooked Birthday Dinner in Paris

So as y’all may have read I’m now 23! But I did want to tell you about the wonderful birthday party I had last week in Paris.

After a year of living with a host-family in France, I was seriously missing being able to host dinner parties. (I love dinner parties.) So when my good friends generously lent me their house for the weekend and okayed a dinner party at their place, I invited over my scant remaining friends in Paris and started cooking.

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My French friends’ gorgeously designed abode

After an early-morning trip to the farmer’s market in town (how French!), I spent the rest of the day preparing my birthday menu and trying not to sweat to death. This year my birthday, July 21, fell smack-dab in the middle of a ninety-degree heat wave in a country that rarely has air-conditioning. Yay.

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Once the guests arrived we raised a few obligatory toasts, after which I requested that we pray. Though I’m not a religious person, during my nine months in Europe I had never once held hands at the table and prayed. And I have to say, it felt good to send some thanks up to the heavens- I really do have so much to be thankful for!

For the main course I prepared Ina Garten’s lemon chicken with croutons, and as usual Ina didn’t let me down at all… it was tasty! With the chicken I served a butter lettuce salad with shallot vinaigrette, the same one I make everyday in France.

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My lovely friends who made it to the party.

As the soundtrack of Manu Chao, Gotan Project and Jacques Brel played on, I served up the cheese course: salers, bleu d’auvergne and chèvre.

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We finished off the meal with a super-simple financier, or almond cake which I paired with a home-made apricot sauce. While I love cooking, I hate baking so I make this easy cake every time I have a dinner party.

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While my other friends left to catch the last metro, Edna stayed over for a mojito nightcap and some late-night girl talk.

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And when the couple who let me borrow the house came back from vacation, we had a lovely laughter-filled dinner out on the terrace. Then my favorite French couple gifted me a beautiful shamrock necklace, which they said was “to bring you luck on your travels.” So sweet.

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And while a small dinner party was quite a departure from last year’s birthday celebrations, it was exactly what I wanted.

 What do you like to do for your birthday?

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Ashley Fleckenstein

Ashley is an American travel blogger and freelance writer who moved to Paris at 21 and has been traveling the world ever since. She's usually in pursuit of yoga, languages and perfectly ripe cheese and her writing has been featured in National Geographic, Viator and Jetstar Australia.
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8 Comments

  1. That sounds like a wonderful birthday party! I’m glad you got to host a dinner party. My apartment currently is not outfitted for those sorts of occasions, so I can understand missing them dearly! You’ve got a lovely bunch of friends/family in Paris, and I love the necklace for good luck!
    Amanda @ Adventure Year recently posted..Book Shelf: The Lost GirlsMy Profile

    Reply
    • It’s so hard to find a big enough space for a dinner party so I totally know what you mean… lord knows my next apartment will be too small for them! Thanks for your sweet comment, Amanda :)

    • Thanks! We had a lot of fun making it :). And I was sad you couldn’t make it but I’m sure we’ll meet up at some point in the future x

    • It’s my favorite way as well! Good food, wines and friends are really all you need.

    • Thanks, Diane! I think living in France and cooking at work has helped me improve a bit :)

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