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We have had such a great time on our travel to France from home! We have visited France in real life too, but thought we would enjoy a little refresher.
France is one of those countries that has captured the imagination of every American I know. Everyone wants to visit, we love their food, we love their culture, and we love their accents!
Most people already know a few facts about France which make this weeks country even more exciting!
If you are joining this blog series for the first time, please go to this post to understand how it works and get the supplies you will need!
A little bit about France
- France is the largest country in Europe!
- People from France speak French.
- Paris is the capital of France
- They have a diverse landscape with beaches in the South and the Alps in the North.
- France is the home of the Eiffel Tower one of the most famous landmarks in the world.
- France has its own Disneyland.
- French food is considered some of the best in the world.
What to make for your French food from home
When I think about French food I think about cream, wine, Herbs de Provence, and other yummy things. I also think about a labor intensive dish. Here is one of our family’s favorite dishes that tastes like it takes a long time, but it doesn’t.
It seems like the place I found this recipe is an odd one, but it was one of those Pinterest links that had me end up on Reddit. Despite trying dozens of Chicken Riesling variations, this is the one I always come back to. It is easy, quick and so delicious! (Think coq au vin but ready in 30 minutes instead of 30 hours!)
*A note about cooking wine- the old adage says not to cook with anything you wouldn’t want to drink. Well, I don’t drink so it doesn’t help me too much. If you are in the same boat go to a local liquor store and ask the clerk. They will be happy to help you find something that is appropriate to cook with and isn’t too cheap or too pricey.
Riesling is a white wine from the Alsace region of France, and I do try to use Riesling when I make the recipe because it tastes good with Riesling. But in a pinch you can use a different white wine. (just please don’t use crappy cooking wine from the grocery store! You might as well use vinegar!)
This is how many mushrooms I use! It’s two containers at the grocery store chopped up fairly fine.
This is a double recipe because I know my boys will eat all of it in one sitting! (And they did) The sauce will thicken up as it cools, so don’t be alarmed if it seems a little runny at first.
Here is the final dish! I like to pull the bacon out after I have used it to cook the chicken and mushrooms in the bacon fat. I like the crisp element in with all the other silky textures.
This honestly cooks quickly and tastes like you have spent hours working on it. You can serve it over pasta, or with a crunch French bread to soak up the sauce. Either way it is an easy weeknight meal that your whole family will love!
What to watch for your movie about France
There is no end of movies to watch about France! Seriously you have your pick! I made my kids watch some old school DVD’s of some of my favorites and we had a really great week exploring cinematic versions of France.
This is such a charming movie about a woman who follows her cheating fiancee to France to try to win him back. She gets mixed up in a jewelry theft and has to team up with a Frenchman of dubious character.
This is Meg Ryan during her heyday and my kids laughed through most of the movie, so I consider it a win! It has gorgeous depictions of the French countryside and Paris as well.
You will not find it streaming anywhere! It is so frustrating, so buy the DVD (you can get it used for a couple of bucks) and get ready to settle into some good old 90’s fun.
Some sexual content, some language.
“Midnight in Paris”
I will start by saying, I generally don’t like Woody Allen films. But Midnight in Paris is the exception! We decided to watch the movie because it features so many great artists, poets, musicians, and writers and we knew we were doing a Matisse project.
Midnight in Paris is the story of an American who is transported to 1920’s Paris each night to hobnob with the artists of the time. He is then magically transported to modern day every morning. It is a wonderful movie full of some of the best characters to ever live and create art. It is delightful to see some our modern day actors create them so realistically.
If you are an art lover, or want to expose your kids to famous artists, this is a great movie!
For the younger crowd, Ratatouille is pretty much the perfect movie to watch to learn about French cuisine and sensibilities. It is the rare cartoon that is as enjoyable for adults as it is for kids, but this is one of them.
Ratatouille is the story of Remy the rat who dreams of being a truly great chef. Being a rat is his biggest obstacle until he meets his new friend Linguini. Together they work toward greatness in a fancy French kitchen with the hopes of being allowed to truly cook!
Funny, charming, and nearly perfect.
Rent it on Amazon Prime or watch it for free on Disney +.
Here are the other movies I highly recommend if you want to take a deep dive into movies about France:
Chocolat – a mysterious stranger opens a chocolate shop in town and the town is changed forever for the better.
Suite Francaise- A movie about France during WW2 and a love affair between a German being housed with a French woman. (free on Netflix)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame- Disney’s retelling of Victor Hugo’s classic book. (watch on Disney +)
The Man in the Iron Mask– my boys loved this movie when they were younger. The 3 musketeers are off on a new adventure.
Amelie– a movie about Paris seen through the lens of Amelie (a girl with a really big imagination)
What to read about France
I love this country’s book selection because it is a pop-up book. When my kids were really little they called them Pop-pop books (which is what they call my dad) and he has quite the collection that he love to read the grandkids.
This is a charming book that shows all the historic sites of Paris.
Ok, there is another one for this week as well! They are both so beautiful I couldn’t choose
This is the kind of book I love, beautiful illustrations and yet interesting for parents and kids. I hope you love it too!
How else can you travel to France from home?
This weeks supplemental French video is from Peppa Pig! If your kids don’t know and love Peppa already they will after this video.
National Geographic has a fabulous series called “Are we there yet?” is so amazing for kids. There are multiple videos for France. This one has the kids visiting the Eiffel Tower and learning all about why it is so famous!
What to craft from France
Matisse inspired collages
We have been having zoom art history lessons from my sister since we started quarantine. She majored in Art History and the nieces and nephews have really enjoyed learning about different artists. When we learned about Matisse we decided that we needed to incorporate his style into our French craft.
Henri Matisse was a a French painter who was active in the early 1900’s and was responsible for the Fauvism movement in painting. His use of bright colors and unusual shapes made him a respected artist in his time. As he grew older he lost the dexterity of his hands and he turned to making beautiful decoupage.
He would cut out sheets of colorful paper in all kinds of shapes and paste them together on canvas. Some of these pieces of art would be the size of a wall, some were quite small.
We decided to emulate Matisse and make our own art decoupage. To make your own you need:
- Colorful paper (We used what we had left over from our Germany craft.)
- Glue sticks
- Mod podge
- tissue paper in the color of your choice
We started with our background piece of paper and then took other colors of paper and had the kids cut them however they chose.
We then cut out tissue paper in whatever shape the kids wanted. and started playing with the layout until they were happy with it.
We then used the glue stick to glue down the cardstock to the background piece of paper.
We let it dry for an hour and came back to it, we then laid down the tissue paper where the kids wanted it and used a foam brush to apply mod podge to the top of the tissue paper. (This is the finicky part and you will want to help you little ones with it. It works best if you press the brush in the middle of the shape and work out gently.)
We waited 30 minutes and then applied mod podge all over the artwork and let it dry.
I think they turned out great! The kids enjoyed having a craft where there weren’t as many rules and I enjoyed that it wasn’t too big of a mess!!
Music from France
We try to listen to music from each country while we do our craft projects. I loved pretending I was in a French cafe (a small restaurant) while we cut and pasted and chatted. It’s amazing how music can transport you. If you haven’t listened to the music from a country while you are eating or while you are crafting try it out this week!
Want More French Travel?
Check out this post on Christmas in France- Travel from Home!
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