When you can’t travel, you need to get creative. How about A virtual evening living in French culture? Below are steps to transform your evening into virtually visiting France!
Start by pressing play on the audio player below:
In this post I will virtually take you through four of the most beautiful cities in France. Along the way I will encourage you to set the tone by indulging in some of the suggested iconic French traditions.
Virtually Visit France | Scents
Find a lavender candle or essential oil and fill your room with this lovely scent.
When I smell lavender, it instantly reminds me of the south of France.
Lavender is grown extensively in the Provence region of France. There are fields upon fields of this fragrant flower.
Most famously there are the roads of lavender located to the north, of the Luberon and Verdon plateau regions. And to the north of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. Additionally to the east of Avignon.
Mid June to July is the ideal time to visit these fields in full bloom.
(Disclaimer: Some links in this post may be affiliate links, meaning if you click on the link and make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This is at no extra cost to you and you may even receive a small discount. See disclosure for more information.)
Experience France By Taste
Now it is time to cook some famous French dishes to enhance your virtual evening in France.
MUSHROOM BOURGUIGNON (VEGAN)
yield: 4 SERVINGS prep time: 30 MINUTES cook time: 1 HOUR
FOR THE MUSHROOM BOURGUIGNON
- 16 ounces sliced mushrooms (such as cremini)
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/2 red bell pepper, cored and diced
- 1 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, minced (3 if you aren’t a garlic lover)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 each teaspoon salt & pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup full bodied dry red wine (cheap wine works great)
- 2 tablespoons flour
4 large russet potatoes (1 sweet potato to mix it up) 1/2 cup plain unsweetened coconut milk 2 tablespoons vegan butter 1 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper
To make the mashed potatoes:
Peel all the potatoes and put them in the pot. Fill the pot with water and bring to a boil. Usually, they will take about 20 minutes to cook. We want them soft enough to mash. Check by using a fork and piercing the potato.
Once the potatoes are cooked, you can drain and set aside for cooling. After a few minutes, pour in the coconut milk and butter. You can manually mash them the whole time, or if you have the equipment using electric beaters. Stir in the garlic salt and pepper.
Making the bourguignon sauce:
Immerse the dried mushrooms in one cup of water and set aside. Next, find a large pot and start to warm a tablespoon of olive oil. Keep the heat to low to medium heat.
Start cooking your sliced raw mushrooms and cook for about 3 minutes. Once fully cooked through, and slightly brown (NOT BURNED) transfer to a plate and set aside (don’t drain juice).
Use the same pot still over medium heat, add one tablespoon of olive oil and your onion, carrot, bell pepper, garlic, thyme, oregano, salt & pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
Take the dried mushrooms that you set aside out of the water and preserve their liquid. Finely chop all the pieces, and discard any hard bits. Mix them into the pot along with the cooked mushrooms and 2 tablespoons of tomato paste. Stir everything together and cook for another approximately 5 minutes.
Add in the red wine as well as all the liquid from the mushroom and simmer! Once the liquid has reduced to half, about 10 minutes, reduce the heat to low.
Finally, combine the vegan margarine and the flour in a bowl and mash together. Add it to the pot and stir together for sauce thickness.
Once your sauce is complete serve with the warm mashed potatoes!
A Virtual Evening Living in French Culture | Wine
What goes better with your bourguignon than red wine! Some of the famous french red wine varietals you may have heard of are:
- Cabernet Sauvignon,
- Pinot Noir
The name of the grape varieties is associated with the region they are grown in. For example, in Bordeaux, the most famous grape is Cabernet Sauvignon. Another example is Chardonnay, a grape that grows in Bourgogne.
Once you have picked out a delicious glass of wine, let’s continue our virtual evening living in French culture.
Quick Look At Bordeaux, France
I have been lucky enough to visit Paris, Toulouse, Nice, Eze, Cannes, and Bordeaux. Of all these fantastic cities, Bordeaux was my absolute favorite.
Of all these cities, I would return to Bordeaux the soonest. Something about Bordeaux stood out as special to me. The people were especially friendly, and this is not always the case in France. Some cities are naturally more welcoming than others.
Bordeaux has fairytale-like architecture, something out of Sleeping Beauty. I spent hours walking the streets, taking photos, and soaking in the culture.
Food in Bordeaux was especially tasty! I don’t eat meat, and in France, finding vegetarians options can pose a little challenge. In Bordeaux, there are several veggie-friendly restaurants, one in particular I adored. Restaurant Noma, which you can read about here in my full guide to Bordeaux.
A Virtual Evening Living in French Culture | Toulouse
I spent an amazing 48 hours visiting Toulouse, France! Not too far from Bordeaux, Toulouse offers an entirely different vibe!
A virtual evening living in French culture Toulouse style is a little different than Bordeaux for a couple of reasons. For starters, the food is a fusion of Spanish and French. Think tapas with a French twist.
Another reason Toulouse will stand out is the lifestyle. Also, influenced by the Spanish culture, the siesta is famous here. Except that during the hours of 2 pm and 8 pm, restaurants close.
Here are a few of my most favorite photos from my trip to Toulouse! I hope these enhance your experience of a virtual evening living in French culture.
A Virtual Evening Living in French Culture | Nice
Visiting Nice was a totally different experience than the other cities I have been to in France. It’s a French palm tree paradise kind of place. There are sort of these Miami Beach vibes, but in a French chateau like setting.
I’ve always dreamed about visiting the French Rivera, and I have to say, I was not disappointed! The vibe in Nice was very chill, it was a slower pace, and I quite enjoyed it!
Strolling along the promenade with my camera was my most favorite activity. Admittingly I wish I spent more time at the beach. But I only had 3 short nights in this magical place.
Eze | Cliffside Paradise
The French Rivera has a lot to offer! From Nice, you can reach Eze, in under an hour! Eze is a tiny village that is perched upon a hill that overlooks the Mediterranean sea. I can’t think of a better day trip from Nice, than to Eze!
When exploring Eze I found a wonderful little bistro that the most picturesque terrace overlooking the ocean. I encourage you to add this hidden gem to your bucket list!
Famous Movies Set in Eze
Virtually Visiting Cannes | France
Less than 2 hours from Nice, is the city of Cannes! Cannes is pronounced like “can”, as in “I’ll have a can of beer!” Cannes is famous for hosting the international film festival where they draw in Hollywood’s finest!
If you are looking to be inspired by Cannes and have a virtual evening living in French culture, why not watch a film?
The most famous movies filmed in Cannes are:
- French Kiss (1995) Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline
- To Catch A Thief (1955) Cary Grant and Grace Kelly
- Rust and Bone (2012) Marion Cotillard
- Ronin (1998) Robert De Niro and Jean Reno
- Femme Fatale (2002) Antonio Banderas and Rebecca Romijn
Make A Virtual Evening in French Culture A Reality
We are in some strange times. Never did I think I would be writing posts for a time in lockdown. But, we will get through it and soon be able to travel.
If you are thinking about making a multi-city trip in Europe, you will want to do some research. I have had a lot of practice traveling from city to city in Europe.
My experience led me to create a post and PDF planning guide to help point out everything you want to consider. Learn from my mistakes, and plan the perfect trip!
READ MORE: How to Plan A Multi-City Trip in Europe
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