When you can’t go to France this summer…bring France to you! This year my friend Rebecca of Everyday Parisian has been running a “How to Frenchify…” series that I’ve loved reading so I was honored when she asked if I’d like to team up to share ideas on how to Frenchify Your Summer this season.
How to Frenchify Your Summer
My posts this year on How To Virtually Escape to Paris and A Francophile’s Guide to Staying Indoors have been so popular so I’m thrilled to share this post in partnership with Rebecca. We had so much fun brainstorming these ideas together and you’ll note a few things we both are passionate about regarding Frenchify-ing our summers! (Apéros truly are a must!)
Rebecca’s Picks to Frenchify Your Summer:
- Picnic. This is one of my favorite activities to do in Paris with friends or solo on the Seine. You can always instantly transport yourself to Paris with a Parisian picnic in your back or front yard. Grab a Turkish towel, picnic basket with your favorite foods and a bottle or two of wine. In addition, you can’t go wrong with a baguette and cheese. So for more details on how to Frenchify Your Picnic you can see this post.
- Drink French Rosé . Educate yourself with an online wine class about French wines with friends. Rosé favorites include Whispering Angel, Miraval, Minuty, and Aix. The list could go on forever. So try to discover something new and different this Summer.
- Dress Up. Pull out that favorite dress you bought on your last trip to Paris and wear it this Summer. There are a lot of French brands you can now buy in the US. For instance, I personally love Sézane and I will be wearing some of their dresses all Summer long. For more French brands you can buy in the US you can see this post.
- Friday apéro to kick off the weekends. It is so easy for all the days to run together but making a fun and festive Friday night tradition with friends (in person socially distanced or on Zoom) is a great way to transition into the weekends in the Summer.
- Wear stripes. I am a big fan of stripes and the trend covers everything in my closet from dresses, shirts, and even bathing suits. In fact, my family is fully on board with the stripe trend and it isn’t unusual for us to match from time to time. (we all have these matching pajamas) J.Crew has a holiday for national Stripe day and they have an adorable Stripe Shop if you are in the mood to update your stripe wardrobe. So if you are looking for French stripes, Saint James is the place for authentic Brenton Stripes and knitwear and they ship to the US. I got this one when I was in Paris a few years ago.
- Play pétanque. You can set this up at a local park or your backyard if you have the space. You will find people of all ages playing this French classic all Summer long in France.
- Make a Fruit Galette. Use your favorite Summer fruits to create this French pastry at home. Blueberry, peach, mixed berry, the possibilities are endless.
- Wear Espadrilles. The French Girl’s Favorite Summer shoe. In fact, you can wear them in flat or wedges. I have both options. These new ones from Everlane are super cute.
- Master a Cheese Plate. I love a good comté, brie, and truffle cheese but I am always up for trying something new. (except for blue) So ask your local cheese shop. I have a cheese section in my grocery and they always have recommendations for new cheeses to try.
- Go for a Bike Ride. I got a bike for my birthday this year and it was the best gift. In fact, I love going for bike rides around the city on the weekends. If you don’t have a bike, you can try out a bike-sharing system similar to vélib in your local city.
- Upgrade your Champagne bucket/ French drinking glasses. If you are spending your Summer at home, you might have a little extra money to update on your drinking glasses to elevate your cocktail hour. For instance, these adorable pink glasses were influenced by Meghan from her Let’s Make a Drink series.
- Evening cocktails/French 75 Up your cocktail game this Summer. So stock your bar and get creative. If you are looking for inspiration David Lebovitz has a great new book called “Drinking French” and he does a recipe each day on Facebook Live.
- Farmers Markets Visit your local farmers market and shop seasonally. I love Green City in Chicago. P.S. Don’t forget your market basket.
- Plant Fresh Herbs in Your Garden. I am currently using this ladder garden and love it! Basil, mint, and lavender are all so fragrant and fun for Summer.
- Watch “A Good Year” This is one of my favorite movies and it will transport you to Summer in Provence. So pull out your favorite rosé and make a night of it.
Meghan’s Picks to Frenchify Your Summer:
- Make homemade confiture. Beautiful jars of jam are staples at markets in the summer throughout France and making a jar of homemade jam is a great weekend activity. Head to your local farmer’s market to buy what is in season and then get to work over the stove. I am personally partial to Strawberry Rhubarb Confiture in the summer but also love apricot when paired with goat cheese atop fresh bread. I highly recommend adding a dollop of your fresh jam to a bowl of vanilla ice cream as well and it’ll also be delicious when stirred into plain yogurt (the latter being a trick my French host-mom taught me during my study abroad semester in Paris!)
- Host a rosé tasting with friends on Zoom. Select three bottles for everyone to procure before the call and then share tasting notes and thoughts on each. Consider a bubbling rosé and varietals that differ in color or region.
- Throw an at-home apero. The French version of a happy hour is a favorite pastime of mine. Prepare a French-inspired cocktail and build an epic French cheese and charcuterie plate with cured meats and sausages, marinated olives, a variety of cheeses and of course some crusty baguette.
- Take a French cooking class. Rebecca’s and my favorite cooking school in Paris, La Cuisine Paris, recently started offering some of their classes virtually! You can learn how to make croissants, macarons and French sauces all from the comfort of your own home at very reasonable prices.
- Make a pitcher of infused Citron Pressé (French lemonade). Here is a recipe for Ginger Citron Pressé but you could also substitute the ginger for basil, thyme or lavender.
- Read A Year in Provence. It’ll instantly transport you to Southern France and have the wheels turning for planning a visit of your own as soon as it is safe to do so. The chapters covering the summer months were my favorite part of the book and brought up so many fond memories of my trip to the region last summer.
- Add a French facial mist to your routine. The Caudalie Beauty Elixir is a favorite of mine all year but particularly in the summer. It hydrates skin, is so cooling on an extra hot day and has antibacterial properties to help fight any summer breakouts you may be experiencing from the heat.
- Celebrate Bastille Day. Celebrate France’s Independence Day on July 14th with a Bastille Day picnic. Might I suggest baking a summery take on the classic Madeline for your picnic? These Orange Blossom Honey Madelines sound divine.
- Try Pastis. This Provence staple is such a delight watered down when served over ice. You can read about its storied past here.
- Learn how to make a classic French cocktail. Speaking of classic French drinks, join me and learn how to make a French 75 or Kir Royale both of which are a delight in the summer. If curious to learn more about the drinking habits of the French this summer, I highly recommend the new book Drinking French.
- Listen to a Parisian inspired playlist. Transport yourself to Paris with my Spotify playlist Paris is Always a Good Idea. I particularly love listening to it while baking or cooking.
- Virtually visit the lavender fields of Provence. Thanks to Google we can all virtually transport ourselves to the famed Valensole Plateau lavender fields which are just about to reach their peak.
- Add to your summer wardrobe with something from Sezane. The French brand Sezane will steal your heart if you’ve not yet already discovered them. Their latest summer arrivals will be sure to Frenchify your summer wardrobe with beautiful selections like this classic basket bag perfect for the beach and farmer’s market runs, these neutral sandals to wear with everything, this feminine top (and this one, too!), this darling dress, this classic striped tee and this cute and versatile top. And don’t miss their new beauty products and home collection, too. How perfect is this initial mug!?
- Take a trip to the French Riviera with a tour of the gardens at Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild. This striking mansion in France’s Cap Ferrat is stunning to visit (I went last summer) and you can virtually take a tour of the gardens that boast nine different themes: French, Spanish, Japanese, Florentine, Provençal, exotic, a stone garden, a rose garden, and the Sèvres garden.
Rebecca and I hope this inspires your inner Francophile to have the best summer yet despite no vacation plans to travel to France! And if you’re looking for a blog to follow that loves Paris, I highly recommend subscribing to Rebecca’s Everyday Parisian for delightful doses of France.
[Image by Rebecca Plotnick]