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Recipe for Riz à la Catalane

This recipe is quick to make so great for a week night meal that everyone will enjoy. Plus the Catalane touch makes it a little spicy, especially depending on the heat of the chorizo you choose. Bon appétit, or as they say in Catalan, tenir gana ! Photo: A real treat - Laura's homemade Riz à la Catalane, Laura Crotet Ingredients For 4 people 1-1/4 cup long grain rice 7 oz chorizo (more or less) 1 cup tomato sauce ½ onion 1 garlic clove 1 yellow pepper 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence 2 cups chicken or veggie bouillon Salt and pepper I nstructions Finely chop...

Discover France on a motorcycle (New for 2022!)

A bike overlooking the French coast
For a rare few, traveling to other countries as well as welcoming others into their own country is in their blood. This is true for the Loire Valley based Martinez - Thyebaut family. The dynasty starts with Florence and Philippe, Emilie’s parents who ran a wonderful B&B in a 15th century farmhouse near Chinon called Les Bournais. They shared their passion for the Loire Valley , as well as their kindness and joie de vivre , with all their guests. They are now newly retired and enjoying this chapter of their lives. Next of course is Emilie and Guillaume . Wanting...

Visiting Languedoc Roussillon & the Cathar country

A view of the city of Carcassonne in Languedoc Roussillon, France
Part of the bigger Languedoc-Roussillon region, the Roussillon area spans from the Spanish border to the city of Narbonne and includes the eastern fringe of the Pyrenees mountains. This area is also known as the French Catalonia , and the history and traditions of the Catalans are still very present today. The height of Catalan power was reached in the 13th and 14th centuries when the Franco-Catalan frontier was fixed along the base of the Corbières hills north of Perpignan. But Jaime I made the mistake of dividing his kingdom between his two sons at his death. Thus, the...

Grocery Shopping in France

Kermit grocery shopping in France
We all know that food is a very important part of French culture, and eating is a major part of any trip to France. Of course, strolling through an outdoor market , or going to a bakery to select a delicious pastry are on the must-do list for all travelers. However, when I travel to a foreign country, I love to go to the grocery stores, because this is where local food habits are laid bare. As a general rule, French people shop more frequently for food supplies than in other countries. This is due to many different things: the desire for very fresh products, smaller...

A day in Reims, Champagne

Reims Cathedral and the Palais du Tau
Reims is the capital of the Champagne wine region, and is a nice place to spend a day. There is more to see and do than just sip some bubbly (although that is a must, too). The center of Reims is small enough that you can enjoy walking to the major sites (the following loop is about 4 miles in total). The town of Reims has played a major part in French history, intimately linked to the kings of France. Clovis was baptized there, Louis the Pious was crowned there in 816, and beginning in the 11th century, 26 kings of France were crowned within the walls of the Cathedral. The Cathedral of Notre...

Enjoying the Mountains of France

The French Alps
During the school holidays in February, many French families take off for the mountainous regions of France in order to enjoy skiing and other winter sports. This year however, because of the Covid, the ski lifts will remain closed. But the variety of other winter activities are still attracting local visitors. Outside of the snowy months, the mountains still attract and allow you to experience some of the incredible nature and regional specificities of these areas, with the most important mountain regions in France being the Alps and the Pyrenees. The world-famous French...

Biscuits Roses de Reims (Pink Biscuits from Reims) Truffles

Pink biscuit truffles
“Biscuits roses de Reims” are a specialty of the Champagne area. They are light, crunchy finger-shaped cookies and are amongst the oldest cookies in France. The Maison Fossier has been making them since 1691. You may dip them into a glass of Champagne to enjoy, but I like turning them into beautiful pink truffles, making them a perfect treat for Valentine’s Day. Photo : Pink biscuits from Reims Ingredients: 1 cup crushed Pink Biscuits ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup + 3 tablespoons softened butter 1 egg yolk 1 teaspoon rum Powdered sugar Instructions: Mix the butter and the crumbs, then add the egg yolk...

Safe travels with France Just For You

The global pandemic has been a trying time for everyone. And those of us who love to travel have all asked ourselves when will it be safe to begin enjoying travel in France again. When this is possible, self-drive adventures planned by France Just For You offer many aspects that will keep you safe while you savor all that France has to offer. Your trip is uniquely crafted around you and your preferences We do not plan trips for groups, thus you will never find yourself moving about with a herd of other visitors. France Just For You...

The Galette des Rois to celebrate Epiphany

Galette des Rois
The Galette des Rois is made to celebrate the Epiphany, the arrival of the Magi to visit the baby Jesus, on January 6th. The Brioche des Rois is more traditional in southern France, while the Galette is the king in northern France. INGREDIENTS: [Serves 8 people] For the pastry cream: 2 eggs ¼ cup sugar ¼ cup flour 1 cup milk 1 teaspoon vanilla For the almond cream: 3 egg yolks 1-1/4 cup ground almonds 1/2 cup sugar 1/2 cup softened butter A splash of rum (optional) 2 store-brought crusts, or you can make your own "pâte feuilletée" 1 yolk for brushing the crust before baking...

21 Reasons to Visit France in 2021

As 2021 begins, international travel is not yet possible. But we do know that this situation isn't forever. With the vaccine campaigns started across the globe, we're hopeful that it won't be too long before people feel confident and safe enough to travel again in the near future. And when that time comes, France is the place to be. As if you need any convincing, here are 21 reasons to visit France in 2021: 1. THE BEAUTY OF THE LANGUAGE It may have been a while since you learned French, but just hearing it is enough to get the memory flowing. The language of love, of art and literature, of...

Be bedazzled by the magic of "les Lumières"

Atelier des lumieres in Paris
Art comes alive, exploding in color and movement at the immersive Carrières de Lumières in les Baux-de-Provence and at the Atelier des Lumières in Paris. And in 2021, the experience will be very rich, as the two themes are: Gaudi, the Architect of the Imaginary Dali, the Endless Enigma Music accompanies you as you dive into the universe of these artists. Projections on the walls and floors make you feel as you are swimming in the different works by Dali and Gaudi. Atelier des Lumieres © Culturespaces / Nuit de Chine Both venues are great,...

How we celebrate Christmas in France

Christmas in France
If you would like to know more about how Christmas is normally celebrated in France, we have put together this Q&A with Emilie Thyebaut, Founder of France Just For You. If there's anything we haven't answered, please contact us with your question! Which day does France just for you normally celebrate Christmas? The Thyebaut family normally celebrates with one side of the family on the 25th, and then with the other side of the family on another day. In terms of exchanging gifts, some families in the north of France do this on 6th December (St Nicholas’ Day), many on...

Chocolate Orange Dessert - an original home recipe

Chocolate orange French dessert recipe
At home, France Just For You Founder, Emilie Thyebaut, her husband Guillaume and their girls Jeanne and Pauline love to cook and bake. Pauline invented this recipe herself! The girls love to watch a TV show called "The Best Amateur Pastry-Maker" and they get lots of ideas from there. They had their grandmother take them to a pastry-making shop called Zodio, and bought some special molds and other things they would need for this recipe. Instructions For about 10 small molds (the size of a small (French-sized) muffin mold). Make a chocolate mousse You will need: - 3...

Chanel exhibition: an icon of French Fashion

Chanel store
At the time of writing, the City of Paris Fashion Museum , also known as the Palais Galliera , has just finished extension work. It has re-opened with a new exhibition on the life and work of one of the world’s most renowned and remarkable fashion designers: Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883-1971). Chanel Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2011-2012, Fashion Show at the Grand Palais in Paris (Photo: Haute Couture News, CC-BY SA 3.0 ) In this post, we look at her rise to fame and fortune, and suggest how you can explore and emulate Chanel by...

8 of the best French cheeses

French cheese
In this post, we explore one of France’s pride gourmet foods - cheese! We have listed some of our favorites, along with the regions they come from and some delicious pairings. But first, here is an amusing anecdote from our Senior Trip Planner Laura’s mother, Judy, about a cheesy faux-pas in a French restaurant while she was visiting France: My husband and I were on a driving tour of France on one of our first trips to Europe. One evening we had dinner at a nice restaurant to celebrate our anniversary. The meal was wonderful and went perfectly until the end. The waiter arrived...

Cheese Soufflé recipe

Cheese souffle recipe
The idea of making soufflé can cause terror in the hearts of some cooks. But this recipe has proved fail proof the numerous times I have made it, and it always receives an impressed “Ahhhh!!” when served. Ingredients: [Serves 6 people] ¼ cup butter, plus some additional butter to grease the ramekin(s) 1 cup grated cheese – I recommend Comté but you could use any gratable cheese 1/3 cup flour 1 cup milk 4 egg yolks, lightly beaten ½ teaspoon salt ¼ teaspoon pepper A little bit of freshly grated nutmeg (or you could use some paprika if you prefer) 4 egg whites Instructions...

Ragout des Vendangeurs - 'Grape Picker's Stew'

Stew in pot
In October, to mark the grape harvest season, our recipe of the month is 'Grape-Picker's Stew' - wholesome enough to keep the grape-pickers' energy levels up through the harvest! Ingredients 8 slices of streaky smoked bacon 8 large sausages (we recommend Toulouse, beef or venison) 4 onions cut up into large chunks 200g of dry green lentils (Puy) 2-4 garlic cloves 300 ml of beef stock 150 ml of red wine Fresh thyme Instructions Heat the oil in a large casserole dish and fry the bacon until it's crispy over a medium heat. Remove the bacon, then add the sausages, browning them all over. Then...

The Camargue: A world of its own in Southern France

Flamingos in the Camargue France
By Kaya Lemaire When I was 18, I didn’t know anything about France beyond the Eiffel Tower and baguette with brie. I wouldn’t have dreamed of travelling to the South, because I thought that the quintessential French experience lay in the streets of Paris. What I didn’t realize is that France is a mosaic of cultural nuances, landscapes, wildlife, and cuisine. In fact, lying nestled in between Montpellier and Marseille is one of the country's truly unique regions. A road trip to a magical place in the South of France Was I in for a surprise when we found ourselves hurtling...

Visit our favorite markets in Provence

Farmers market in Aix en Provence
At the time of writing, we’re in the midst of the grape harvest! Farmers markets all over France are bustling all year round as locals continue to prefer fresh produce over the grocery store chains. And this is even more true during the fall harvest season, with its abondance of new winter vegetables. In this post, we spend a week exploring markets in Provence in southern France. As well as farmers’ markets, we’re including antiques, handicrafts, textiles and other markets that are wonderful for buying authentic French souvenirs . So make sure you keep this list handy the...

Piperade recipe (a delicious condiment)

Piperade Basque recipe
Piperade basque is a sort of condiment made from peppers, tomatoes and, of course, pepper from Espelette. I love making Piperade because it is quick and easy, and very tasty. It is good on chicken, steak, shrimp, but for a veggie meal, I like to mix it into an omlette for a full meal. The Basque region is known for making cider, as opposed to wine. And as Mother Nature knows best, cider pairs very nicely with Piperade. Piperade (Arnaud 25 CC BY-SA 4.0 ) Ingredients 1 green and 1 red pepper, cut into strips 4 tomatoes without skins (or a can of crushed tomatoes) 1 onion 1 garlic clove 1...

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