By Chantal Roberts
As I write this, I am currently in quarantine longing for summer vacation. No one knows how long the requirement for physical distancing will last, or if it will be lifted and then reinstated, as some scientists propose. However, I suggest we use this time to inject more French in our daily lives.
Summer is a wonderful time in Paris. The tourists invade the capital city, while the natives rush to the countryside or beach. But for those who cannot leave the City of Lights, there are numerous opportunities to stop and enjoy what life has to offer. We can emulate that joie de vivre here in the Kansas City metro area.
Parisians love to picnic in the Jardin des Tuileries. Sun King Louis XIV’s gardener, André Le Nôtre, landscaped the gardens in 1664 into a French formal style. No doubt Molière, who would have been 42 at this time and in the midst of writing three plays (Le Mariage forcé, La Princesse d’Elide, Tartuffe, ou l’Imposteur), saw Le Nôtre’s work when he was in Paris.
Rather than packing their own picnic basket, Parisians can order from a restaurant in order to make life simpler, and you can, too. While some restaurants are using the down time to revamp their menu or kitchens in order to better serve you, Chez Elle and Café Provence are open and offering curbside pickup so you can emulate the French lifestyle.
You may prefer a light meal in the heat of the day, and Chez Elle Crêperie will hit the spot with their curbside service of three crêpes and two drinks. What better way to have lunch than with a French pancake? Perhaps you can have two savory crêpes and one sweet to take the place of dessert. Just the perfect size as to not be too heavy to cause the mid-afternoon sleepiness.
As the days are longer in June, the extended sunlight allows for more luxurious dinner in your favorite park. Chef Phillip of Café Provence can provide a three-course, prix fixe dinner encompassing wonderful appetizers such as a hearty salad or pasta dish, a main course of meat or fish, and a mouth-watering French dessert. All you have to do is find the perfect bottle of wine to accompany your meal and a shady spot to spread your blanket.
But if the park is not your style, and you prefer to have your toes in the sand, rest assured—Parisians do, too.
Every summer the mayor of Paris brings in sand, palm trees, umbrellas, and lounge seats along both banks of the Seine, and the Paris-Plages are born. You can take your picnic to Shawnee Mission Park which has a 120-acre lake and beach. Of course, you can’t be French if you don’t take your beloved Fido everywhere with you. Shawnee Mission Park also has a Doggy Beach, a small, sand beach in the park’s off-leash area. Fido and his amis won’t mind if you dip your toes in the water to cool off a bit!
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