I had truly hoped to once again spend my birthday in Paris this summer (my birthday is mid-June) but that dream has sadly vanished. Since I loved the response from my Francophile’s Guide to Staying Inside that I wrote in March, I thought I’d do a more focused version entirely dedicated to feeling like you’re in Paris – mentally.
Start to finish, I’ve created a guide to visiting Paris in your mind and in your dreams and I hope you’ll join me on this virtual visit. May those of us longing to return to Paris be able to do so again soon.
Have a Le Petit Dejeuner. One of my favorite Parisian pasttimes is the Petit Dejeuner. Prepare your own at home by having a croissant (I love the frozen Trader Joe’s ones) or picking up a baguette you can spread with French butter (I only buy President brand – it is the best) and jam (Bonne Maman jams are amongst my favorites and are readily available at grocery stores). You could also try your hand at making fresh preserves which sounds like a fun summer project to take on! Prepare a coffee and pour yourself a glass of orange juice. Voila, a classic petite dejeuner.
Read a book set in Paris. These days I love getting back in bed after breakfast and doing some reading. I’ve just ordered the classic A Year in Provence and the memoir Paris in Love to read and other personal favorite books of mine set in Paris you may enjoy include The Perfume Collector, Julia Child’s My Life in France and Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast.
Practice your French with Duolingo. One of the best things I’ve done in the past month is to start practicing French again. I’m two weeks in to challenging myself with daily lessons and having so much fun doing so!
Visit a Paris museum virtually. I just discovered Monet’s famous life-size water lilies at L’Orangerie can be visited virtually and so can the views from the platforms of the Eiffel Tower – this one was so fun! Other good virtual visits I tried included the Opéra National de Paris and Sainte Chapelle (which if you’ve never seen it IRL may take your breath away).
Have a leisurely lunch. Might I suggest a classic Quiche Lorraine? Serve it with a classic petite salade or with French Potato Salad. Listen to a podcast about Paris (try The Thing About France, The Earful Tower, The New Paris and French is Beautiful) or continue reading your book.
Give yourself a French inspired spa treatment. Try giving yourself a classic French facial at home. First don a face masking headband to keep all your hair back and out of the way. Then double cleanse with a balm cleanser like Darphin’s Aromatic Cleansing Balm and then followed by a nourishing, gentle cleanser like Caudalie’s Cleansing Milk. Next do an exfoliating treatment like the Caudalie Glycolic Peel followed by a purifying mask like the Caudalie detox mask. Follow your masking with a toner – a personal favorite is Caudalie’s pore minimizing toner and then apply a serum such as Caudalie’s SOS Deep Hydration Serum and my personal favorite Caudalie SOS Intense Hydration Moisturizer. Finish with a few spritzes of Caudalie’s Beauty Elixir and a nourishing lip balm.
Bake a French inspired treat. I’ve personally been craving French Madeleines so I am *this close* to buying a Madeleine pan and trying my hand at this recipe. Or how about some mousse au chocolat? Such a divine, indulgent dessert. I’m also keen to try Ina Garten’s Crème Brûlée recipe, Profiteroles (my dad’s favorite) and this divine sounding Strawberry Rhubarb Galette.
Take a virtual walk through Paris with this video. I put together this video last month when I was sorely missing Paris. Now I replay it often to bring me mentally to my favorite city.
Have an apéro. The French love an Apéritif. It’s cocktail hour with some light snacks. Make a cocktail and prepare some charcuterie and cheese along with nuts, crackers and other light items. Need cocktail inspiration? Check out my Let’s Make a Drink series on Instagram. A French 75 in particular is perfect for this time of year.
Cook a French inspired dinner listening to my Paris playlist. Might I suggest Ina Garten’s Perfect Roast Chicken with Gratin Dauphinoise (on my personal list to try and make!) Or Coq au vin? I personally just ordered Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris so that I can improve my French cooking skills.
Watch a movie set in Paris. After your dinner, settle in for a French cinematic experience. Personal favorite movies set in Paris include Funny Face, Sabrina (with Audrey Hepburn), Midnight in Paris and Ratatouille. Or I just started watching Chef’s Table – France on Netflix and it instantly transported me to Paris’ special food scene. Any of these are sure to help you enjoy seeing Paris as it once was. (I also love the final scene of Something’s Gotta Give for this reason).
Have a digestif. While you watch your movie, pour yourself a classic French apéritif like cognac or calvados. Your local liquor store should have both or you can do a contactless delivery via MiniBar or Drizzly.
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Hopefully this day tees you up to have your dreams set in Paris!