Have you been daydreaming about a whirlwind tour of Paris or Provence like I have? There are no shortage of books, movies and TV that transport you to the cities, country sides and seascapes of France. These are just a few of my favorites, from page to screen, to indulge your love of French culture.
Marseille What can I say about the Parts Unknown host Anthony Bourdain that hasn’t already been said? Nothing, but I’ll write about him anyway. While his childhood travels to France influenced him to become a chef, he performed a remarkable career pivot at the age of 40. Bourdain departed the restaurant kitchens to become an award-winning TV travel personality, a host and producer 4 travel series, and writer of 2 memoirs and countless articles on travel, cuisine and how people of all cultures can come together peacefully over a homecooked meal.
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
This is the best-selling memoir of British advertising executive Peter Mayle’s first year living in Luberon, a village among vineyards in the center of the Provence. The story follows Peter and his wife as they restore a 200 year old farmhouse, drink wine, learn to truffle hunt, and drink more wine. Order a copy, pour yourself a glass of wine, and settle in for a good read about the romance of living in the Provençal countryside.
This movie was a Cannes Film Festival darling of 2019, but you can find it on your Netflix app. The sexy French drama follows 2 young women, a teenage girl and her hedonistic older cousin, around the French Rivera. It’s subtle enough in its exploration of gender roles, class structure and coming-of-age topics that you’re unconsciously whisked away by both the sophisticated visuals and the thoughtful storytelling.
A tv series for foodies and Francophiles alike, the Australian chef leads a quest through France, exploring the culinary trends that shaped the cuisine of Vietnam, his ancestral home. From Paris to Strasbourg to Lyon, he sets up his mis en place on a beach, a roadside or pier and cooks French classics like pot-au-feu, steak tartare and salad Lyonnaise. You can find this series everywhere - Apple TV, Tastemade, Amazon, YouTube, even the Seoul Broadcasting System! This show will make you hungry, so make sure you don’t tune with a few snacks at the ready.
Love it or love to hate-watch it, this Netflix series is full of fashion eye-candy and charming shots of Paris. We follow American-born Emily as she moves to Paris for a job, doesn’t speak a lick of French, eats cheeseburgers instead of foie gras and fumbles her way in career success and a romance with a hot Parisian chef. I’ll admit it - even if I wasn’t in quarantine, I’d have watched it. This series premiered on Netflix at the height of lockdown and filming season 2 this summer.