Perusing the winding avenues of Paris, relishing the perfumed lavender fields of Provence and strolling the sandy beaches of Brittany may not be a possibility right now, but you can still bring a little of la vie française into your home. Curl up with our suggestions for how to experience France from home and inspire a good dose of wanderlust for when the time is right.
Recreate a French Breakfast
Venturing a few steps down to your local boulangerie (“bakery”) to pick up a just-baked baguette might be off the cards, but you can certainly still put together a grand breakfast spread the French way. For petit déjeuner (“breakfast”), try a decadent spread of buttery pain au chocolat and croissants; some tartines de pain with jam, butter and Nutella; a cup of natural yogurt and an abundance of fresh fruit. Add in freshly squeezed orange juice and piping hot coffee, and you’ll be on your way to starting the day à la française!
Watch a French Concert
For an excellent cultural pick-me-up, pour yourself a glass of vin rouge and feel the thrill of live music again with an online French concert. For something classical, tune into live weekly Instagram concerts from @philarmoniedeparis (and follow the hashtag #philarmonielive). If you are looking for something a little more contemporary, La Blogotheque (@blogoheque) is currently offering calming, weekly acoustic sessions for followers to sit back and enjoy.
Make a Parisian Hot Chocolate
A sumptuously rich chocolat chaud is an exquisitely indulgent treat that can be easily whipped up in your own kitchen to transport you to a chic Parisian café in an instant. Try this decadent recipe for French hot chocolate by the excellent French Cooking Academy.
Create an Apéritif
The art of l’apéro can be authentically recreated wherever you may be. Take out your finest charcuterie, a plethora of cheeses, generous handfuls of olives and nuts and a sliced baguette to enjoy this French-beloved ritual at home. For a light tipple to accompany your snacks, get inspired by the world-renowned David Lebovitz’s beautifully photographed book, Drinking French: The Iconic Cocktails, Apéritifs, and Café Traditions of France, with 160 Recipes.
Frenchify your Décor
Let your love of France adorn the walls with a suitably inspired wall hanging or print. It will give any room a tasteful update and inspire dreams of your next French travels!
Light a Candle
What better way to inspire reveries for your next vacation than with the aromatic delight of a candle from the iconic French perfume house, Diptyque Paris?
Bake a French Dessert
Cozy up on a cold winter’s afternoon with a spot of French-inspired baking, and whet your appetite for the perfect pâtisserie once you can travel again. Why not try making a classic tarte tatin, or this recipe for clafoutis: a flavorsome baked dessert, traditionally filled with ripe cherries (but it also works satisfyingly well with other stone fruits!).
Listen to a French Podcast
Whether on a long winter’s stroll, unwinding in the living room or cooking up delights in the kitchen, podcasts give you the ability to immerse yourself in a little French culture. Some of our favorite French-inspired podcasts (in English) include “Dinner for One,” a witty and down-to-earth podcast about the healing power of food; “Paris Paysanne,” a weekly deep dive into the city’s markets and French terroir; and “French Your Way” — great for learning French without the stress.