With Valentine’s Day approaching, it’s no surprise that your mind might turn to France or, at least, a French restaurant. But whether you’re interested in a romantic dinner, an academic discussion, or an exciting dance party, there are plenty of options for French things to do in the U.S. this month.
French Cocktails & Markets in Sunny CA
Craft cocktail aficionados will be jazzed to hear that the famous Paris speakeasy Little Red Door, which has been on the World’s 50 Best Bars list a whopping nine times, is doing a pop up in San Francisco. On Tuesday, February 7, the pop up will take over the cocktail bar True Laurel to showcase its unique farm to table approach to mixology.
Inspired by the French markets and brocantes of Marché du Biron, Marche Vernaison, and Porte de Clignancourt, The French Market Marin brings together francophiles for vintage shopping and crepes on the second Sunday of each month. Check out their wares on Sunday, February 12, if you’re still hunting for a Valentine’s Day present by then.
French Film & Pétanque in TX
Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX is hosting its 8th WLL Annual International Film Festival, “Women in Film: Behind and In Front of the Camera.” Three of the female-fronted international films on the bill are French: Happening (Monday, February 13), Club de Femmes (Tuesday, February 21), and 8 Women (Tuesday, February 28). All films are free and open to the public.
Every month, members and guests of Alliance Française Austin gather on the grounds of the historic French Legation to play Pétanque, a favorite lawn game from the South of France. Food and snacks are potluck, equipment is provided, and no experience is necessary. This month, you can join in the afternoon of Thursday, February 23.
French Pop Music in D.C.
Yelle, one of the most popular crossover French artists in the world, will be performing at 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, February 25. Enjoy an evening of infectious, experimental pop music that wanders between high-energy electronic music and dark ambient tunes.
French Wine, Fine Art, and Music in MA
On Thursday, February 16, the Boston Wine & Food Festival will host an event in celebration of the Trimbach family, one of the great Alsatian wine producers. Attendees will get to learn about the history and profile of these wines while enjoying a decadent four-course dinner.
On Friday, February 24, as part of the Soirées Musicales program in Lexington, MA, pianists Leona Cheung and Tanya Blaich will be presenting a set of French four-hand piano pieces by Claude Debussy and Cécile Chaminade, while art expert Nancy Scott offers commentary on 19th Century French art contemporaneous to these duets.
French Symphony in Chicago
On Sunday, February 12, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will present an evening of Parisian Perspectives. Included are Ravel’s “Le tombeau de Couperin” and Boulanger’s “Sad Evening,” as well as Franck’s “Symphony in D Minor,” which fuses French and German grandeur.
French Illustrations & Oysters in NYC
One of New York’s more unique date night ideas is an evening at Regarding Oysters, an oyster shucking class with craft cocktails in a Murray Hill brownstone. On Tuesday, February 14, they will be doing a Valentine’s Day salon inspired by l’esprit français, with oysters from Oléron, Tarsac, and Occitan, a French-themed cocktail menu, and an evening of fireside French jazz.
And…one of France’s most celebrated illustrators, Jean-Jacques Sempé, is best known for his childrens’ book series, Le Petit Nicolas. But he also designed more than one hundred covers for The New Yorker in his lifetime, many of which are currently on display at FIAF in New York. A new exhibit, which runs through April 9, focuses on Sempé’s first visit to the Big Apple, which proved to be enormously inspirational, and left us with many iconic images of New York. (This event coincides with FIAF’s New York premier of a new family-friendly and wonderfully creative animated film, Little Nicholas: Happy as Can Be, about the illustrator.
Catherine Rickman is a writer and professional francophile who has lived in Paris, New York, and Berlin. She is currently somewhere in Brooklyn with a fork in one hand and a pen in the other, and you can follow her adventures on Instagram @catrickman.