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Whether at home in Bend, Oregon, or having the good fortune to be in France, the French-culture is present in my everyday life, as it is for many TSLL readers from around the globe as well.
I have been savoring my favorite tea each morning and evening which I began drinking in 2013 after a trip to the teahouse in Paris and continue to have loose tea from Palais des Thes in my house so long as I don’t go through it too quickly. As I shared this past weekend, I have shifted my largest meal of the day to lunch rather than dinner, and so many other seemingly simple habits and routines that upon reflection were inspired by my love for the French culture are part of my everyday life.
Now as we find ourselves in our homes for far more than we may want, I wanted to share with you a few ideas to elevate your spirits and tickle your love for the French culture. Below are 10 simple ways to satiated your Francophile self in the coming days and weeks. (Anglophiles, I have not forgotten about you! Check out this post in one hour or now if after the day of initial posting.)
Let’s get the frustrating, but sincerely desired-to-accomplish one out of the way . . .
1.Improve your French language skills
Receive one month free of online language learning lessons via Paris Update from Frantastique.
I also have enjoyed the free app Duolingo for simple, on-the-go conversational practice. And to learn even more ways of learning French, check out my three-part series written three years ago, What I Have Learned in French Class So Far . . .
More French language learning tools:
- Coffee Break French (a free learning app – one I enjoyed four years ago in preparation for taking in-person classes)
- Comme une Française
- A Cup of French
2. Enjoy a documentary on French artists
Below are a list of films to watch either on YouTube, Netflix or AmazonPrime.
- I, Claude Monet
- The Impressionists (4-part series)
- Manet (I absolutely loved this film, and it is free to Amazon Prime members)
- Cézanne in Provence
3. And then tour the museums in Paris that house many of their artwork
- Musée d’Orsay (enjoy a virtual tour without the crowds), enjoy my personal tour through the museum this summer.
- Musée de Louvre
- Rick Steves takes viewers into L’Orangerie (see below)
- L’Art of Crime (I highly recommend for art lovers as well as mystery fans)
- A French Village
- Murder In . . . (each episode is set in a different town/village in France)
5. Learn how to make croissants!
Yes you can! Let me show you how in the detailed step-by-step tutorial (see the video in this post. It moves around, so currently, I think it is near #2). I myself just made a new batch of croissants which I freeze (above image is my most recent batch), and then enjoy one or two each weekend. Making 20 croissants and pain au chocolats, I am set for about three months worth of home-made buttery, flaky croissants. View the full recipe and see more images here.
6. Watch The French Chef on PBS Living
7. Enjoy Apéro Time at your home prior to dinner
In episode #216 of the podcast, the Petit Plaisir was to share and enjoy Apéro time with others. Especially during our current times, apéro time can be enjoyed those you live with or virtually with friends and family from afar. Here are a few ideas to consider organizing your own while you are at home wherever in the world you may be:
- Apéritif definition – a drink enjoyed before a meal to stimulate the appetite; choose wine or something just as yummy and palette awakening.
- Keep it simple: Do not make complicated appetizers, but instead serve fougasse or slim breadsticks, hummus, olives, nuts, and/or slices of meat.
- Fougasse bread – typically associated with Provence, but found in many other places. It is a type of flatbread made with flour, yeast, salt and water.
- infused with herbs and in Provence olive fougasse is quite popular.
- Check out Paul Hollywood’s recipe of his version of fougasse
- No cheese (save the cheese course until after the entrée)
8. Pick up a baguette and make (and enjoy) a classic jambon-beurre sandwich
Currently, our bakeries are delivery to the local groceries, so we can pick up our baguette each morning if need be, at the grocery store. All you need are three ingredients: a fresh baguette, a high-quality European butter, salted to or you can salt it to your likely if unsalted and high quality ham sliced thinly. Cut open the break, spread the butter and layer the ham. Eat and enjoy!
9. Light the candles around the home in the evening
Provençal mystery writer M.L. Longworth shared in our most recent interview last fall that her Petit Plaisir was to signal to her mind and the household that the day as coming to an end by lighting candles around her Provence home. Such a lovely, simple routine that elevates the end of each day.
~Discover my favorite French candles here.
10. Escape to France through a book
To slip away to France, whether the countryside or the cities we dream about for their food, culture, jardins and people, is to lose track of time. So while we may all be waiting for this time in history to pass so whether we live in France or not, we can actually physically go and experience it, picking up and reading a good book set or about France is a close second-best thing to do.
Below are three posts that share a specific group of books I recommend, but you can also visit TSLL’s Shop – French Finds – to view all of the titles I recommend, which includes cookbooks and other French items.
11. Watch a French film (or set in French film)
In episode #248, I share 12 of my favorite Feel-Good Films (having premiered in the past 10 years), and I could easily, and have, watched each of these more than once. They are each that good. Click here to see the entire list and what each film is about.
So while we may not be able to indulge our flaneur predilections at the moment and make our way around the Jardin de Luxembourg (top pic), we will soon. And when we are able, we will appreciate it all the more. Bon courage mon amies!