Living The French Way Without Actually Visiting France


There is something about the French culture which intrigues people from all over the world.

To many, France represents a heady mix of romance, culture, style, intellectualism and liberty. People are attracted to France for a myriad of reasons such as language, philosophy, literature and art. It is no surprise that Paris ranks as one of the world’s most popular travel destinations.

What can you do if you have not yet had the opportunity to visit the City of Lights and yet wish to experience the French lifestyle? Fret not, as there are ways of adding a dash of French culture into your life without actually heading to France. Here are some tips from on living the French way.

1. Reach for the cheese and bread
It is well known that the French have a love affair with cheese and bread. France has over 350 cheeses along with what some say is the best bread in the world. These two food items form a large part of the French citizen’s day. Look for a local bakery such as Maison Kaiser serving French style breads or gourmet cheese shop like Jones The Grocer or visit upscale supermarkets such Jason The Marketplace.
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2. Go French over music
Listen to some French music to get in the mood. With such a wide variety, you are sure to find something that appeals to you. Experiment with styles like accordion music and chansons. If you like the classics, try music by Jacques Brel, Edith Piaf and Charles Trenet. Fans of modern-day music might enjoy tunes by Daniel Balavoine, Carla Bruni, Jeanne Cherhal or Camille. For the undecided, compilation CDs bring together a little of everything. has some good recommendations. Alternatively, there’s always iTunes where you can create a French play list that can be enjoyed anywhere.

3. Read, Read, Read
Read anything about France you can get your hands on. Memoirs, travel guides, cookbooks, history books, magazines – even blogs. You’ll learn a lot about the culture as well. Try for good reads.

4. Make every meal an event
In France, dining is a social event and something the French take pride in. Do as the French do and style your meal impeccably, making it one to remember. Begin by setting the table properly, with good china and silverware, candles and fresh flowers. Make the table inviting. Whether you are eating for two, with your family or having a grand dinner party- make your meal a 2-3 hour enjoyable event, without distraction and with intelligent conversation. Last but not least, the menu should be French. Fine-dining expert Fred Sirieix shares some tips on throwing a French style dinner party here.
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5. Learn some French
One of the best ways to get acquainted with a culture is to learn the French language, which will also come in handy, especially if you plan to travel to France. You might even find a French pen-pal or email buddy, where you can practice what you have learned. Discover the French language with Teach Yourself here.

6. Watch some French themed movies
Bring those language skills to the next level by watching French films with the English subtitles on. Or pop in an American movie set in France and you’ll be able to tour the country and swoon over scenes in Paris, Provence, the French Riviera and more! ParisPerfect has a great list of movies featuring Paris. Check out their recommendations here.

There are certainly more ways to infuse French culture into your life but we hope that that these tips provide a good starting point.


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Author: Catrine Carpenter

Get Started reading, writing, speaking and listening in French. If you are an absolute beginner or simply looking for a solid foundation to your language studies for school, work or tr... Discover More