How to Experience France at Home

by Mairead Finlay
Breakfast in France by Claude Smeckens ©

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.

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Recreate a French Breakfast

Continental breakfast outside in France.

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!

Browse the MFCH Boutique for handpicked dining essentials

Watch a French Concert

symphony preformance

@philarmoniedeparis

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

Parisian hot chocolate at Angelina café.

© Parisian Moments

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

Apertifs by David Lebovitz.

© David Lebovitz

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.

Get 4 exclusive cocktail recipes from David in our July/Aug 20 issue!

Frenchify your Décor

circle table with two black chairs and  a hanging print of Paris

@everdayparisian

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

Collection of Diptyque candles on table with floral centerpiece.

@diptyque

www.diptyqueparis.com

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

French tartin on a plate

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!).

Check out our authentic Burgundian recipes for cozy cooking in our Nov/Dec 20 issue!

Listen to a French Podcast

three women and podcast logos

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.

Read next: Best French Podcasts

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