Tag Archives: France

31 Days of France – Part Deux

This is part two of a two-part story of my cancelled trip to France this year due to the pandemic and how my husband and I celebrated from home.

As May approached, I decided to get my #31daysoffrance posts organized.  It really got me pretty excited too!  I mean, what else did I have to do while sheltering in place, am I right? 

My first post on Instagram on May 1st was a photo of four French wines that I had recently purchased.  My post stated: “Two weeks from today, Eddie and I were supposed to be on our way to France for our dream retirement vacation – a food and wine river cruise.  We knew in early March this wouldn’t happen for us this year.  Luckily, we have been able to rebook for next year and I’ve optimistically said that maybe that will give me time to learn some French!  (NOTE:  I did take French in 3rd grade when I lived in Puerto Rico, but most of that is long gone!)  So, for the month of May, I plan to pull as many French items into our lives as I can from the comfort of our home.”   I went on to ask for French wine suggestions and I actually got a few!

It became a great daily activity for me as I searched my home for French related items to post about.  I started with a can of Café du Monde coffee which I had just started drinking at home along with a coffee mug I found at the thrift store earlier in the year.  It contained the famous Audrey Hepburn quote – “Paris is always a good idea.”  When I saw it, I felt like it was meant to be!  I think it was the universe telling me that I was going to be using it quite a bit for this #31daysoffrance project! 

Other posts featured books I was planning to read, including “My Good Life in France” written by Janine Marsh.  This was a book recommended to me by my friend Lisa Pruitt who was also mourning the loss of our trip this year.  I signed up for Janine’s newsletter and started following her on social media and was thrilled when she acknowledged my photo of her book and the fact that we had to cancel our trip.  I soon became one of her Facebook page’s Top Fans. 

Some other posts included a wonderful Taste of France magazine, an Eiffel tower necklace made from an old watch (found at the thrift store), an Eiffel tower figurine – again, something I found at the thrift store leading up to my trip, – an Eiffel Tower tray that I used next to my recliner in the family room.  There were so many little things that I didn’t even realize I had collected in anticipation of our trip.

On my weekly grocery shopping outings, I looked for French related foods from Brioche bread, French butter, yogurt (Oui), of course French cheeses (I got into a lengthy conversation with the guy at the Whole Foods cheese counter one day), French toast, croissants and naturally French wines!  These posts were fun and I loved staging them just right and then enjoying the food and drink afterward.  I also loved listening to 60s French music on Pandora as I went about my day.  Really great listening!

When May 15th arrived, the day we were supposed to be flying to Paris, I started posting about our trip and what we would have been doing.  I had the itinerary provided by Tauck so I knew exactly where we would each day.  This made me want to do more research into what we would be experiencing.  I began sharing screenshots of places, wines, food and other things we would have been doing.  I learned a lot about France from the safety of my home for the next few weeks.  Or at least the places we would have been visiting.

I mean, we would have been making dessert at the Cordon Blue, visiting museums like Musee Rodin, and Musee D’Orsey, enjoying a chef demonstration by Chef Anne Sophie, sampling French cognacs at a dinner at the restored chateau and ground of the medieval Duchy of Uzes.  The list goes on and the experiences would have been breathtaking and unforgettable, I’m certain! 

Chicken Fricasee – our end of France trip dinner!

We were due to return from France on Friday, May 29th.  So, in honor of this, I prepared a French dinner for Eddie and myself along with a lovely French cocktail.  We facetimed with our friends, the Pruitt’s, during cocktails to toast to the trip that didn’t happen.  Then Eddie and I enjoyed a wonderful meal in our dining room with French music playing in the distance and toasted to an inspired #31daysoffrance experience this May 2020, during the pandemic of 2020.

NOTE: Look for my post about the French dinner I prepared for me and my husband in celebration of the end of my #31daysoffrance project.

#31 Days of France – Part 1

The Paris coffee mug I found at the thrift store in January set against some fragrant lavender on my dining room table.

This is part one of a two-part story of my cancelled trip to France this year due to the pandemic and how my husband and I celebrated from home.

Going to France has always been on my list of places to visit and explore.  Our friends, Lisa and Johnny Pruitt went two years ago for a long trip and really enjoyed it.  Lisa is such a Francophile and was even taking French lessons.  I loved seeing their photos and hearing their stories of that trip and it just made me want to visit all the more.

Then they decided they would go again this year and put out the word to close friends to see if anyone was interested in joining them.  Well, I was all in!  The timing of the trip hit perfectly with my husband, Eddie’s plans for retirement this year.  I mean, why not?  I had retired in July 2017 and we really didn’t do anything special since it happened rather quickly .  This would be a celebration of both of our retirements!  I was pumped!

Paris themed tray I found at the thrift store earlier this year.

Lisa and I started making plans.  This trip was a food and wine river cruise and we would begin our journey in Paris – the city of lights!  We would spend a few days there with various exciting events planned by our tour planner and then be transported to Lyon for the river cruise.  We chose a Tauck trip because Lisa and Johnny had used them when they went the previous year and were really impressed with what they offered.  Lisa said they were planning to add a few days on the front end and back end of the trip because they wanted to do a little more exploring and hoped we would too.  I figured, what the heck!  Eddie and I had traveled to Namibia, Africa several years prior and I was still disappointed that we didn’t do a little more while we were there so this seemed like a chance to make that right!

Lisa selected several side tours for us and I was all for them.  She kept asking me what we wanted to do but in all honestly, I had no idea.  I mean, I was ready to do whatever they wanted to because they had been there and knew what was worth visiting.  My only requests were the Eiffel Tower, the chance to see the Moulin Rouge and maybe visit a French flea market.  Other than that, … I was wide open for suggestions. We made our final payments for the trip including airfare and all we had left to do was wait for May 15th.

But in February we began to get a little concerned.  There was talk of a global pandemic and we weren’t sure what all of that meant for us.  In all honesty, I didn’t pay much attention to it thinking it was something that would quickly pass.  I’m sure many of us felt that way…and how wrong were we?!  I was in Colorado visiting my daughter and son -in-law when Eddie, Lisa, Johnnie and I began texting and Eddie was the one being pessimistic that we wouldn’t get to go.  I really thought he was overreacting.  Surely by May things would settle down, right?  I got back to Alabama and a few weeks later I was headed to Torreon, Mexico for a friend’s wedding.  At this point though, I was a little concerned.  I had heard talk that the president might close the borders because of the pandemic that seemed to be hitting Europe pretty badly.  For a bit, I wasn’t sure I should go to Mexico but went ahead.  While there, none of us were really paying much attention to what was going on in the world with all the festivities going on until a few days into the trip when one of our group said, “what the heck is going on with toilet paper back in the states?!”  Our final day at the hotel, notices went up about using hand sanitizer and a few other precautions.  No one was talking about masks yet.

When I got back to Alabama it was pretty clear the trip to France wouldn’t happen.  In fact, I returned on March 10 and by March 16, my husband was officially working from home and my daughter who is a teacher said her school had closed and teaching had begun virtually.  It was so disappointing but we were able to rebook the trip to May 2021.  Now we just have our fingers crossed that the pandemic will be gone by then so we can make the trip.

So, when it got close to May, I was really starting to mourn the loss of this trip.  I mean, we had been planning for a year and it was to be a celebration trip.  I started thinking about ways to experience France in the safety of my home when it occurred to me that I could find ways to celebrate France for the entire month of May!  I called this celebration #31DaysofFrance and I began posting about it on social media – mainly insta-story – as a way to celebrate the trip that didn’t happen.

In part two of 31 Days of France, I’ll share some of the things that I did to celebrate our France trip from home.