Red, White, and Bleu

4th of July BBQ in Lardy, France by Expat Edna-5

There’s something about living abroad that makes for the best 4th of July celebrations.

Even though I’m not the most patriotic American, and have no plans on returning to the States, there’s one day a year I still celebrate the country of my birth, and all the opportunities I’ve been afforded because of it.

After all, I wouldn’t be where I am now without having the luck of having been born in Ohio. Especially when it comes to travel: I’ve seen the visa headaches my family and friends with Chinese passports have had to go through. That little blue eagle on mine is priceless.

4th of July BBQ in Lardy, France by Expat Edna

And while I can only speak for myself, I have an inkling at least some of my fellow expatriates feel the same way. So across the world, on July 4, we gather to celebrate our Americanness, meet fellow Americans we’ve missed in the city, and indulge in a lot of barbeque.

Plus, another benefit of celebrating abroad? You get to incorporate the best of your home and adopted cultures. 

Apero on the RER by Expat EdnaApero on the RER by Expat Edna-3Apero on the RER by Expat Edna-2

Case in point: this year, our 4th of July celebrations began with an ápero on the RER.

Basically a half-hour train ride full of wine, picnic snacks, and more wine. (Masterminded, of course, by Forest, the writer behind 52 Martinis and fun-planner extraordinaire.)

Our crew heading out to the suburbs took up a whole carriage, there were that many of us. Those poor French souls in our section of the train had no clue what was going on.

Lardy RER station by Expat Edna Lardy, France by Expat Edna-2 Lardy, France by Expat Edna

This year — my seventh one celebrating the 4th of July abroad — I spent the holiday in Lardy, a town just outside Paris. (Random fun fact: people from Lardy are called Larziacois. Didn’t expect that one.)

Even though we weren’t that far, stepping off the RER I felt like we were in a different part of France altogether. The quaint, quiet, “this is just outside Paris??” part.

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Our friend and host Phillip is known for his epic 4th of July bashes. Word spreads more amongst the expats every year. This year, the 5th edition of it, I was finally in town to attend.

Because so talked about is this BBQ, Joe and I actually booked our flights back to Paris around it.

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There was a fabulous live band and food and cocktails. There were French games and beer and macarons.

On the American side, there was barbeque sauce in squirt guns and an ADULT-SIZED SLIP N SLIDE. It was glorious, especially in the midst of a heat wave.

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I’ve spent the 4th all over, from Shanghai to Singapore to Paris, and — except for that one year I was covering a sports event in Switzerland — they’ve all had one thing in common:

There is always smoked barbeque, and there is always a LOT of bacon.

Which is why Phillip is the holiday angel: in a city where people barely have space in their apartment to get dressed, he has a barbeque and a smoker — and boy, does he know how to use them.

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We were spoiled with pork shoulder, Wagyu beef brisket, bacon-wrapped meatballs…and again, did I mention the barbeque sauce came out of a squirt gun. 

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But the day wasn’t over. We caught one of the last trains back to Paris, because there was one other event I had been waiting years to finally be in town for: Red House’s Annual 4th of July Crawfish Boil.

To call these suckers crawfish is a terrible lie, though. They were freaking mini lobsters.

And after we closed down the place, we ended the night gathered with our favorite bartenders around the bar, elbow deep in the best crawfish and crawfish-infused corn I’ve ever had.

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Edna’s Belated: Bulleit rye, triple sec, gum syrup, walnut angostura…

Plus: I finally got on the menu!

And really, knowing that on the 4th of July, drinks named after me were on the cocktail menus of two of the best bars in Paris and Shanghai — the two other places I consider home — really just tied it all together.

Home is the States but home is out here, too.

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Fellow expats, how do you celebrate abroad? Would you rather be overseas or at home for the holiday?

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Comments

  1. Wow, that is an epic Fourth of July! I’ve been missing Paris tons this summer, though my brother planned out a pretty wonderful 4th for us in NYC – breakfast at Dominique Ansel’s bakery (where we ended up meeting Ansel), mini-golf, beer on a boat, BBQ, and watching the Macy’s fireworks on a rooftop in Brooklyn. I missed Bastille Day this year, but it was tons of fun to be in the US on the 4th :-)

    • Hahaha I remember that photo you sent us at Red House of you guys with Dominique Ansel! And oh how that escalated :) That sounds like a pretty good American 4th!

  2. Love your photos! I just celebrated my 4th July 4th abroad (make sense?) and there is something that is always wonderful about the holiday. It really does make me proud to hold that American passport :)

  3. This made me so hungry. I want pulled pork for breakfast now.

    I am terribly unpatriotic and haven’t really celebrated the 4th of July in two years. I’m usually in La Campagne with no compatriots around. Next year I will find Americans who barbecue, dammit.

    • BBQ FTW! But seriously, you should. And you should also get some pulled pork! Breakfast sammich?

  4. I love celebrating all holidays at a pool party. This year for the 4th I was at Atacames, Ecuador and I was at the beach. Not many Americans in this part of Ecuador ever but it was wonderful to spend time with my family. I lived in Texas for 10 years and I very much would like some BBQ!

  5. Wow! Dare I say, I think you guys did it better than we could and we’re Stateside! lol… Sounds like an epic 4th!

  6. That looks like so much fun! I’ve never celebrated 4th of July with my American friends but now I feel like I’m missing out haha. (Although, do the Brits have the right to celebrate it? haha)

    • Haha totally! Although expect a few light-hearted jokes about your nationality and history here and there ;)