I often spend large chunks of the summer in France, but I always vowed that if the exchange rate went below five francs to the dollar, I’d have to stay home.
Of course, France is on the Euro now, but because I still think in Francs, I did some math (yes—that high-school algebra does come in handy!), and figured that with the dollar now at around 1.45 Euros, that would be equivalent to about 4.45 francs.
Somehow, those quaint two-star mom-and-pop Logis de France inns that I used to adore at $55 a night feel different when they’re pushing $90 a night. At $55 a night, the hotelier comes off as delightfully eccentric, and the room feels snug, simple, and charming. At $90, the room feels cramped, threadbare, and overpriced, and the hotelier is downright batty.
And those 55-franc lunches, which used to be around $13 to $15, are now pushing $20 and upwards. They’re still worth it, but you don’t quite get the lift that a good meal gives you when you’ve had it for song.
So, I stayed state-side this year. I’ll just pretend I’m living in France. And I’ve decided that many of this summer’s postings will be all about living (and eating) like the French….no matter where you live.
To start, here are the top five ways to incorporate France into your summer:
1. Start every evening with an aperitif. Not a big, buzz-inducing drink, but a light, mood-elevating sip to ready your spirit for the joys to come.
2. Eat in courses. This doesn’t mean eating more food, but enjoying it spread out over a longer period of time. You taste every morsel, and you spend more time around the table with those you enjoy.
4. Put a tablecloth in the trunk of your car. Seriously—the French are ready for a picnic at the drop of a chapeau. American towns have wonderful parks all over the place. Why not take advantage?
5. Invite friends over without making a fuss about it. It’s easy to assume that the French entertain quite lavishly, but in my experience, the opposite is true. Most French women entertain as insouciantly (yet dashingly) as they toss a scarf around their necks.
Each of these is, of course, a blog posting in itself. Stay tuned. I’ll be covering these topics, and more, in upcoming postings. And meanwhile, if you have any ways that you live like the French—at home—tell me about it!