The cancellation of events over the coming months doesn’t mean that you can’t get some French culture in isolation. We’ve compiled a list of 20 ways you can get some French culture while you isolate.
1. French cooking
Pull out your dusty cookbooks or go online and find some recipes and fill your home and your belly with the smells and tastes of French cuisine.
Let’s Eat France!: 1,250 Specialty Foods, 375 Iconic Recipes, 350 Topics, 260 Personalities, Plus Hundreds of Maps, Charts, Tricks, Tips, and You Want to Know about the Food of France
As the title suggests this book is more than just recipes, it’s an almost encyclopaedic work dedicated to French food.
Or Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1 from the iconic Julia Childs. There’s also Volume 2.
The New Larousse Gastronomique is the American edition of the world-famous culinary dictionary and cookbook. Within you’ll find international recipes, information on cooking terms, foods, notable individuals, and the varieties of French wines and cheeses.
Famous French chef Alain Ducasse has his own cookbook: Cooking School: Mastering Classic and Modern French Cuisine
The delightful Rachel Khoo decided to move to France and learn the art of French cuisine. Following the success of her TV show, she published a cookbook entitled The Little Paris Kitchen.
The French Cooking Academy is offering online courses and French cooking tips direct to your inbox. Sign up here.
The French Food Coach is another website worth subscribing to.
Food is such an important part of French culture and cooking is an easy way to bring in or keep a bit of French culture in isolation.
2. French cheese making – cheese kits
With supermarkets struggling to keep up with buyers stripping the shelves, now is a great time to order supplies in and learn a new skill: cheese making!
Here are a variety of cheese making kits that we have found:
3. Wine/French booze/French pique nique in your garden
Who says you can’t have your Saturday night drinks at home instead? Grab some champagne, French bubbles or wine and have a video call with friends doing the same. If you’ve got a garden, courtyard or a balcony, why not get some Vitamin D and set up a little French picnic.
Want some inspiration? We recommend this fun book which takes you to 1920s Paris and the cocktails imbibed by Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, Picasso, Coco Chanel, and Cole Porter among others.
Paris museums have out 100,000 of their works online for viewing and downloading for free!
Or you could go on a virtual tour and enjoy some art for your dose of French culture in isolation. Galleries around the world have their collections available for virtual tours.
Melbourne’s NGV also has a virtual tour of its Keith Haring| Jean-Michel Basquiat: Crossing Lines exhibition
You could also listen to podcasts about the works at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Whether for the children in your life or for your inner child, there are also colouring in books from a range of libraries around the world:
Bibliothèque Archives nationales Québec (BAnQ)
Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de Santé, Paris Coloring Book
Colouring books from the oldest and largest French medical library
Bibliothèque Municipale d’Angers
Bibliothèque nationale de France
Bibliothèque publique et scolaire Yverdon les Bains
Europeana Colour Book
Europeana works with thousands of European archives, libraries and museums to share cultural heritage for enjoyment, education and research.
Europeana Art Nouveau Colour Book
Les Champs Libres
“Les Champs Libres” is a cultural centre including a library, a museum, and a science centre, situated in Rennes (France). The library and the museum preserve rich heritage collections mainly about Brittany : books and manuscripts, photographs, costumes, objects from daily life, archaeological finds, etc.
Médiathèque Jacques-Chirac, Troyes Champagne métropole
Sadly the Alliance Française French Film Festival 2020 has had to be postponed until a date to be advised. However, French cinema is another way to enjoy French culture in isolation. Luckily, there are plenty of options to view French film both for free or via subscription streaming services:
SBS on Demand
There are also a few French language films among the 1150 films available at sont disponibles sur https://lnkd.in/gspcqCm
You can also watch a range of French programs on SBS and you can see what French language programs are on and when via this link (just make sure you choose your State/city): https://www.sbs.com.au/guide/language/french/location/
La Cinémathèque Française (The French Film Archives) has made 800 masterclasses, essays and video conferences and 500 articles about its collections and its programming available for free via its website:
Le Forum des Images invites you view its meetings.
We can’t go to the opera at the moment but you can still frock up at home while you self-isolate and enjoy a night (in) at the opera.
Paris National Opera is sharing a number of operas from its archives:
The complete program:
April 6 – 12: The Barber of Seville (2014)
April 13 – 19: Tribute to Jerome Robbins (2018)
April 20 – 26: The Tales of Hoffmann (2016)
April 27 – May 3: Carmen (2017)
March 17 – May 3: Cycle of Tchaikovsky’s six symphonies played by the Orchestra of the Paris National Opera, conducted by Philippe Jordan
La Monnaie de Bruxelles
Opéra Royal de Wallonie has also set up an opera at home program. A new performance will be uploaded each Saturday until the end of April.
The Met Opera has a few French operas in its online streaming service (free 7 day trial available):
Dialogues des Carmélites – Poulenc
Les Pêcheurs de Perles – Bizet
Watch two classic dance masterpieces via the l’Opéra de Paris.
The Nutcracker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHZokYsB1pI
Philharmonie de Paris has decided to share more than 100 concerts in their totality going back to 1995.
“Le Boeuf sur le toit”
French Radio Philharmonic Orchestra presents a concert dedicated to ‘les six’: the group of French composers whose extraordinary creativity in the interwar period resulted in marvellous works such as Arthur Honegger’s daring Pacific 231 and Darius Milhaud’s much loved Le Boeuf sur le Toit, taking inspiration from tango with surrealist overtones.
Or pretend you’re en boite with a 7 hour mix from Laurent Garnier.
Or listen to French music from a variety of genres on Spotify.
9. Theatre and other shows
While not quite the same as experiencing a show live in the theatre in which it takes place, we can still appreciate the talent, spectacle and artistry of the shows via our screens.
Cirque Le Roux has shared its show La Nuit du Cerf.
Cirque du Soleil presents a 60 minute presentation of some of the best parts of its shows.
Opéra Comique (on replay)
The Opera Comique is bringing the opera chez vous with replays which change each week. You can even try your hand at operaoke.
The Théâtre des Champs-Elysees has put its 2013 performance of Poulenc’s Le Dialogue des carmélites, directed by Olivier Py and conducted by the young Jérémie Rhorer. A number of stars in the singing roles: Patricia Petibon, Sophie Koch, Sabine Devieilhe, Véronique Gens, Anne-Sofie von Otter, Stanislas de Barbeyrac. https://www.theatrechampselysees.fr/en/videos-1
French TV channel Arte https://www.arte.tv/fr/arte-concert/ is showing concerts via its web and Facebok pages.
French stand-up comedian Fary has a show available on Netflix called Hexagone, France’s affectionate nickname.
The Odeon European Theatre has put Molière’s “L’École des femmes » as directed by Stéphane Braunschweig online. https://vimeo.com/327310297
L’institut national de l’audiovisuel (l’INA) (The National Institute of the Audiovisual) is offering free access via Madelen for three months. It’s the chance to see L’Hôtel du libre échange de Feydeau directed by Isabelle Nanty for The Comédie-Française in 2019 with Florence Viala, Michel Vuillermoz, Christian Hecq. You can also find theatrical performances via the youtube channel
La Colline théâtre national invites you to participate in recorded events on Monday and Thursdays at 6pm French time (2:00am AEST). Relive literary evenings with #Danslesyeuxde, Winter concerts or listen to interviews with invited artists. Rendez-vous on Facebook
The Théâtre National de Nice is also providing some alternate theatre experiences for you. Daily meeting at 5pm French time (1am AEST) for work on texts and diction exercises with director Muriel Mayette-Holtz. Find this via Facebook and Instagram.
And thanks to a collaboration between Murielle Szac and Bayard Jeunesse publications, a daily video for Le Feuilleton de Thésée, in order to better know the important characters of Greek mythology https://www.tnn.fr/fr/#
10. Learn the accordion
Buy yourself an accordion and teach yourself how to play it.
11. Audio Books
Listen to audio books in French or in English but about France. Free trials available at Audible.
12. Pétanque in your garden
Pretend you’re in any French village and play pétanque in your own garden or courtyard. If you need to order boules, there are a number of websites selling French boules:
13. Learn French
If you don’t already speak French, you could do some online courses while you self isolate. Learning the language is another way to add to your appreciation of French culture in isolation.
There are a number of options for learning French from home. Firstly, find your local Alliance Française and sign up for an online course.
SBS has also launched its SBS Easy French podcast for French learners.
Other popular online based places to learn French include:
BBC also has a free French language learning platform:
14. Study french history
You can learn about French history as taught by a number of universities around the world.
University of Melbourne’s course “The French Revolution”
MIT’s “France, 1660-1815: Enlightenment, Revolution, Napoleon”
15. French Uni courses online
France Université Numérique (FUN) is the official French online course platform. Of course the majority of courses are in French but there are also 46 French higher education institutions courses available in English via the FUN.
Shakespeare wrote “King Lear” while in quarantine as the Plague ravaged London. Why not see what being in quarantine can make you write? The task: write a short text about solitude and send it to [email protected]
Being alone a lot more is a good time to be with your thoughts. Why not study some French philosophy and open up your mind to thoughts about the universe and your place in it.
A few classes in French au sujet des pensées philosophiques.
University of Geneva’s Le Bien, le Juste, l’Utile. Introduction aux éthiques philosophiques
Also, the University of Edinburgh has an Introduction to Philosophy.
We often look to the French for that inimitable French girl style. Just because you have nowhere to go, you shouldn’t miss out on dressing up. You don’t have to miss out on French culture in isolation.
Or to get your French fashion fix from the comfort of your couch:
Melbourne’s NGV has uploaded videos of interviews from its exhibition The House of Dior: 70 years of Haute Couture.
French magazines: Vogue’s March edition free in digital version:
19. Travel – VR Tours
We may not be allowed to head off to France on holidays at the moment, but thankfully we can still enjoy new scenery via virtual reality tours and enjoy some French culture in isolation.
Palace of Versailles has a number of online collections available to view via Arts & Culture by Google. See the mirrors, chandeliers, paintings, exhibitions and parks via Le château de Versailles on Arts & Culture.
Or if you want a visit that’s more virtual reality based, the Palace of Versailles is offering a virtual reality experience with the application “Experience Versailles”, created with Fondation Orange, which allows visitors to relive the visit by the Ambassador of Siam to the Court of Louis XIV in 1686 and the Yew Ball held by Louis XV.
Visit the catacombes alone! Don’t be scared.
Appreciate Parisian architecture at La Monnaie de Paris.
Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and have the viewing platform all to yourself as well as the perfect clear skies to view all of Paris below.
You can also do a virtual visit of a variety of other sites around France
20. Start a revolution and overthrow the government!
Difficult perhaps to do while social distancing but something potentially amusing to think about
Have you got any other ideas for getting some French culture in isolation?