Maybe your recent trip to France was cancelled and you’ve got serious FOMO. Maybe you’re learning French and are absolutely fascinated by this new culture! Or maybe you’re just bored to be honest and you want to find a way to mix up your routine at home. As former French major, an expat living in France for the past 3 years, and a self-proclaimed francophile (that means a lover of all things French!), I have some tips for how you can experience the oh la la lifestyle without leaving your home and without spending a lot of money!
1. Le p’tit déj
The first way to start your French day is with a French breakfast of course! And I don’t mean French toast. In France breakfast usually consists of some kind of toast or pastry. One of the great parts about living in France are the boulangeries, or bakeries where you can pick up freshly made baguettes, croissants, and other specialties. If you have a local bakery, I would highly recommend supporting them and purchasing your baked goods there. However, if there isn’t a bakery near you, the grocery store is perfectly fine especially because many supermarkets have their own in-house bakeries. In France toast is typically topped with butter and jam or nutella and is called tartine. You won’t find them eating peanut butter and jelly toast here even though you can buy Skippy at the store. To make your tartine more French, try using local or homemade jam. Or you can try to find the French brand Bon Maman of jam, which I have seen in stores in the US!
To drink the French love their café and they usually drink it as espresso or brewed in a French press. In restaurants and cafés, the coffee is usually a small portion, but at home the French sometimes drink from a bowl. This way it is easier for them to dunk (yes dunk) their toast or pastry into the coffee! This may sound weird, but don’t knock it ‘till you try it! You can also opt for hot cocoa if coffee isn’t your thing. I personally prefer dunking a croissant into a hot cup of chocolatey cocoa. Freshly squeezed OJ is also a staple.
2. Se Promener
Next, if you are able to go outside and walk, that is a very French activity. Whether it’s to run errands or enjoy the day, a nice walk is always a good idea! When I first moved to France I was so surprised at how much they drive, but it is true that they walk more than in the US. I like to go in the morning when other people are having their grasse-matinée aka sleeping in. To get in the mood for walking I created this playlist of classic and contemporary French songs. If you can’t go outside right now, try listening to the French playlist while moving around your home while cooking or cleaning.
3. Une visite au musée
When I lived in Paris last year, one of my frequent weekend activities was going to see art expos because most museums are free for students. Obviously we can’t go to the museum’s while they are closed, but many are actually offering free virtual tours! I would recommend the Musée D’Orsay, my favorite museum which is in an old train station and houses lots of impressionist art! The Louvre also has a free virtual tour!
For lunch, why not try making a classic French dish? One of my favorite things to make are quiches because they are simple, comforting, super yummy, and customizable. I like to use the website Marmiton for authentic French recipes. It’s also a great way to practice your French! I found a recipe for a Quiche Provençale, but I made a few adjustments to make it vegetarian and made my own crust. Be sure to not rush to eat when it’s done, no matter how tasty it looks. The French like to take their time eating to converse with others and enjoy their food so have a conversation with your family or roommates while you eat or listen to a podcast in French if you are alone. For dessert have a piece of fruit some yogurt, a piece of cheese and or a coffee!
5. Le cinéma
After lunch, watch a French film! Going to the cinéma is a big part of French culture, after all the septième art was invented in France! You can find lots of films on Netflix in French. For a rom-com I would recommend Blind Date and for a drama, check out Street Flow. You can also find French films on Amazon Prime. A classic Family movie would be an Asterix and Obelix movie (even though it’s technically Belgian) If you’re in the mood for something more romantic try Marius and Fanny, based off the Marseillaise trilogy by French author Marcel Pagnol.
Or the Opéra
If you feel like something a little more special – head to the opera! The Paris Opera is also offering free streamings of some of their ballets and operas which change each week. There is also a virtual tour of the Palais Garnier, which I would highly recommend. It’s one of the prettiest buildings in Paris in my opinion even if the style can be a little gaudy for some.
Finally, to finish your French day have an apéro! An Apéro is the French version of happy hour! Share drinks and snacks with friends or family – you can also do this via zoom to social distance of course. Personally I love to have slices of baguette and cheese and maybe some fruit as well as a glass of rosé. You can have whatever snacks you like during your apéro however. And if you don’t drink try a limonade a French version of lemon-lime soda or some sparkling water.
Merci beaucoup for reading and I hope you find these tips helpful. Let me know if you try any of these out! Also let me know if there is something missing that you would add to the list!
Come walk and bake a quiche with me in the video version of this article:
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