Hoping you found your way over to our little Virtual Trip to Paris after joining us for all the fun in Italy. One thing that has been on our minds during the Pandemic, is when can we go back to France. We were there in 2019 and it is starting to feel like that was ages ago. The idea of jumping on a plane and heading overseas pops up in conversation, but when we bring it up to friends overseas they wonder why we would want to do that especially now. Covid is still very much alive for everyone in the EU and it tends to be more shut down than it is in the states. Instead, we keep playing pretend travel by changing up things at home to make us feel like we are in a different space. The past three months we have been cooking mostly French food, and drinking a lot of amazing French wine, as well as enjoying some fun virtual travel tips in France.
Last summer we spent most of our evenings and weekends enjoying the warmth of our patio. While it is still adorned with fairy lights, candles and a lovely herb garden, the weather has not been the warmest this year. We have been trying to create special spots inside to mimic being in Paris. Everything from candles in French yogurt jars, to butcher block paper spread across the table to create a bistro look and feel.
More ways we are creating that French feeling at home:
- Atmosphere – to create a bit of France at home during the morning we listen to French news which happens to be more informative than American news. France 24 or Frozen Cat as we call it is our go-to news source. Once you listen to it, you will know why we call it Frozen Cat! HA! As well we have been during these dreamy candles all summer long, Tuileries Escapist Candle, and Love Potion; both are such pretty scents! We have always played French music for as long as I can remember. Serge Gainsbourg is one of our favorites, and if you do not want people camping next to your camp spot, throw on one of his playlists, crank it up a bit and soon enough you will have the area all to yourself! There are some great French stations on Spotify, and to be honest we do not have a favorite. We usually type in French Jazz or French Pop, it all depends on our moods. Maybe we should create a Chez Us play station.
- Sight Seeing – once we decided to take our virtual trips beyond only cooking from French cookbooks, we found a slew of online sites that could be visited virtually. Google has a list of museums that is pretty resourceful, and some of them are even virtual at this time. Paris Info website is a go-to resource for us when we are actually in Paris, and the last few months we have used it even more as we fulfill those travel cravings. They have an entire section on for virtual travel, a few favorites are:
- Musee d’Orsay – hands down one of our top spots to spend a couple of hours.
- Sainte Chapelle – this chapel filled with stained glass windows that glisten in the sunlight. Such a peaceful spot to wander through.
- Monnaie de Paris – we have not been to this spot in person but after watching the virtual tour, we definitely have added it to our must list!
- Photography Exhibit – a lovely online photo exhibit by Mat Hennek with the Guardian showing empty cities before the Pandemic and Paris is on the list. We found the piece eerie as in time has now stopped, beautiful as the colors and composition are soothing, and sad to know of how the world has changed forever the past few months.
- Things to Do Virtually
- Virtual Walking Tours – while Denise does walking tours and posts them on her stories when we travel, she has not made any “videos” that live on. Usually she deletes them after a day. Lucky for us, and you, she has not deleted any of her walking around Paris stories from Instagram, and they are still in her highlights. YouVisit also has some fun virtual walking tours to lose yourself in.
- Online Cooking Classes – cooking classes using Zoom have become a regular past-time during the Pandemic and are a lovely way to spend a couple of hours, learn some new recipes and meet new possible friends.
- David Lebovitz had been doing online happy hours debuting his new cocktail book, Drinking French, the sessions seem to have ended but the sessions are saved on his Instagram account.
- Kate Hill has been doing online cooking classes for a few months now, and they are so much fun! All accomplished via Zoom, and they range from 30 minutes (Le Lunch sessions) to 2 hours (when we made cassoulet). If you have not met Kate, you have to as she is very knowledgeable as well as charming and witty! Once we can all cook in person, her courses in Gascony are a must!
- La Cuisine Paris – we have always wanted to take an in-person cooking class at this spot when visiting but have never been able to get a spot. Now they are offering online sessions. They have Zoom sessions as well as on-demand video classes. Maybe we will see you in class?
- Cinema – recreate a French cinema at home. Forego the popcorn, and make a cheese plate and pour a glass of wine, or grab a cream puff, and enjoy some French entertainment. While Amelie is always a feel good classic to watch, recently we got hooked on Lupin, Call My Agent, and Family Business.
- Read a Book – books are a wonderful way to escape for a couple of hours, and travel or cooking ones are even better! French cookbooks seem to be a weakness for us, and every time there is a new one of interest that releases, it tends to find its way onto our bookshelves. We compiled a list of the ones we have been using the past three months on a regular bases, they are all great!
- Listen – while we mentioned French music as being a way to recreate a memory or feeling at home, these soundbites of Paris are also a great way to lose yourself for a bit. Often we play them in the morning as we answer emails. They have found a way to soothe us, or at least trick us a bit too think we are somewhere else.
- Past Trips – looking through old photos from past trips is always a great way to relive special moments. I am currently re-editing photos to create picture books so we can enjoy all the time. Here are a few offer favorites from our past trips to Paris.
Favorite French recipes that we make at home include:
- Wine – one cannot go wrong with wine when pretending they are in France. If you live in Oakland be sure to check out our go-to wine shop Bay Grape, as they usually have a lovely selection of French wines. We have been pairing wine from their shop to compliment all of the recipes we have been cooking the past few months. It has been delicious. Their staff is super helpful in guiding you in pairings according to your budget and the style of wine you enjoy.
- Classic Champagne Cocktail
- Eau de Vie Poire Cocktail
- French Old Fashioned
- French Burger
- Classic Moules Frites
- Chicken Normandy
- Creamy Dijon Chicken
- French Pork Parcels
- Steak with Roquefort Sauce
- Apricot Tart
- Chocolate Mousse
- Baked Apples with Creme Anglaise
- Chocolate Souffle
- French Yogurt Cake
- Floating Islands
We will continue updating this Virtual Travel to Paris post as we create more delicious French inspired recipes, and as we continue to find fun as well as inspirational online travel experiences, at least until we can actually jump onto a plane and head to Paris!