In the infamous words of Audrey Hepburn, “Paris is always a good idea.”
That may be true for revamping our closets, lifting our spirits, and filling our stomachs with cheese and baguettes, but Paris is not always a good idea for our time or wallets. New York City, however, is just across our doorsteps and fully Francophile. You can’t be in France tomorrow, but you definitely can Frenchify the rest of your August in NYC with these France-related activities.
Bordeaux: Left Bank vs. Right Bank (August 15th at 6:30pm)
As long as Bordeaux stays Americans’ go-to red wine, we might as well be educated about it. Astor Wines and Spirits is offering an intermediate wine class with eight tasting pours of different Bordeaux, accompanied by bread and cheese. After taking this class, you will be the Frenchiest American at any dinner party.
Astor Center – 399 Lafayette St, Manhattan 10003 (212-674-7501)
Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology (through September 5th)
The Met’s Manus x Machina exhibit on haute couture’s descent into the public through technology has been such an explosive hit that it was extended until September 5th. Quench your thirst for Parisian fashion by ogling the works of French designers Coco Chanel, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, and many more.
Metropolitan Museum of Art – 1000 5th Ave. Manhattan, 10028 (212-535-7710)
Maison 140 (all year)
The easiest (and sometimes the most fun) way to bring France into your life is through shopping. In historic Chelsea, Maison 140 is a home and beauty store carrying European and European-inspired brands. Buy Savon de Marseille soap and Lussan Guinea fowl (made in Provence) for a quick home Frenchification. Their stock of goods changes regularly, so check their Facebook page to see what they currently have in store.
140 9th Ave., Manhattan 10011 (212-255-0022)
International Cannes Pyrotechnic Festival (August 7th, 15th, and 24th)
Not only is Cannes famous for the Cannes Film Festival, they’re also famous for the International Cannes Fireworks Festival. The two upcoming shows will present the work of Australia and the Czech Republic. France’s magic-themed show happened on August 7th, featuring music from Harry Potter, Disney, and Tim Burton’s Alice and Wonderland. (Here’s a clip to part of it.) To live-stream the 25-minute shows, go to this website at 10:00pm France time, 4:00pm NYC time.
ICE’s French Cooking Classes (all year at various dates and times)
The Institute of Culinary Education offers classes that will help you bring France into your life year-round through cooking. In the August 13th “Brioche Brunch” class, you’ll learn to magic the classic French brioche and six different brioche fillings. Or if you like your French food with more of a Mediterranean flair, take the August 21st “Essentials of Provence Cooking” class, where you’ll master dishes like tapenade (olive spread), carré d’agneau rôti aux herbes de Provence (roast lamb with herbes de Provence), to name a few.
Institute of Culinary Education – Brookfield Place at 225 Liberty Street, New York, N.Y. 10281
Gaumont: Cinéma for Everyone (through September 7th)
The French film production company Gaumont has been at the forefront of cinematic technology and movements for over 120 years, including having the first female film director. MoMA will be showing multiple Gaumont film every day (with English subtitles) from every genre and era of cinema. On August 14th, check out Jenny, the 1936 film that includes everything Americans think an old French movie should have.
Museum of Modern Art – 11 W. 53rd St. Manhattan, 10019 (212-708-9400)
Crepe Sucre (all year)
In the minds of Americans, few things are more French than crêpes. For your much-needed summer crêpe, head to the meatpacking district for Crêpe Sucre where you can order a traditional “Crêpe Sucre” or the more ambitious “La Tarte Tatin de Marose” with apples and marmalade. Either way, you’ll be mesmerized by the batter swirling over the steaming skillet, and beyond satisfied when you take your last bite.
Gans Market – 353 West 14th St. Manhattan, 10014 (646-634-9467)
The Cloisters (all year)
We’ve all got to go outside sometimes, and the Cloisters are worthy of braving the heat. The four cloisters come from French monasteries and abbeys, so walking through them is almost the same as being in France (almost). Definitely look at the French illuminated manuscripts, and don’t forget to sing something from “The Sound of Music” while you walk through the colonnades.
99 Margaret Corbin Dr., Fort Tyron Park, Manhattan, 10040 (212-923-3700)
The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol (Original Livre de Poche, 2007; Translated by Penguin, 2013)
Lastly, if you refuse to leave the comfort of your air conditioner but still want some France in your life, order The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles and have it delivered to your door. This fast, fun, French bestseller depicts a full picture of modern Parisian life, complete with love affairs, walks through the city, medieval romance, and plenty of secrets. Order an English translation here or a French copy here.