October 14, 2018
Fall is one of my favorite seasons. The heat and humidity are gone, the air becomes just a bit crisper, and the joyful flavors of autumn make a delightful return. There's nothing quite like spending a Sunday at home with a cup of hot chocolate watching a good movie under a fuzzy blanket.
While Fall traditions are similar on both sides of the pond, the French do add their own flair to this glorious season. Here are the most most enchanting activities that French people enjoy in the Fall, which you can easily replicate in the US to spend a perfectly French day.
French people are known for enjoying long walks, whether in their neighborhoods or in nearby parks and forests. During the Fall, I used to take walks in the Jardin des Tuileries or the Jardin des Plantes in the center of Paris. Even if you can't hop on a plane to Paris, it is easy to recreate a lovely moment in a nearby park. The most important is to take some time to stroll, and not think about going from point A to point B.
If you have the chance to live near a national or state park, I can't recommend enough going for a walk during Fall. There's nothing better than watching the changing colors of the leaves, the beautiful landscapes, and crisp air to clear one's mind and get ready for the week.
French people absolutely adore going to the movies. In Europe, it is the 1st largest market in terms of box office admissions and revenues. Going to the movies is a spontaneous activity, which doesn't require much planning. I particularly enjoyable watching a movie on a cooler Fall day when options for outdoor activities become limited.
For an experience with a greater Parisian flair, you can lookout for independent movies in limited release. French people love to go to cinéma d'auteurs - independent theaters usually showing foreign movies.
Going to the Farmers Market during the weekend is somewhat of a ritual in France. While it is not always practical, many French people would rather buy seasonal produce (even if bought at a supermarket) to experience fresher and bolder flavors.
My favorite soup to make in the Fall is incredibly easy to make, and is a true heartwarming dish. All you need is some carrots, potatoes and leeks. I cook all the vegetables in boiling water, and then use a food processor to purée them together. If the soup is too thick, you can add some of the cooking water to it. Add salt and pepper, and voilà, the perfect French soup is served.
French people would not dare spend one Fall or Winter season without enjoying Raclette at least once. This cheesy dish consists of melting Raclette cheese, and then spreading it over potatoes. This rich fare is usually served with charcuterie, and enjoyed over 1 or 2 hours!
Like you must have guessed, Raclette is about more than just the food. It is about the experience of sharing an incredibly comforting dish with your loved ones. You can enjoy Raclette at home with friends and family, or a few restaurants in the US now serve it during the winter. You can easily find Raclette in the cheese section of most Whole Foods during Fall and Winter, or at your local fromagerie (cheese store).
Chestnuts are a definite French Fall tradition. From enjoying freshly roasted chestnuts in the streets to candied chestnuts and chestnut cream, it would be hard to find one French person who didn't enjoy chestnuts one way or another in the Fall. In fact, there are so many ways to enjoy it that we wrote a whole blog post about it. You can find it here.
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