I’m a big fan of France, and especially Paris. How can I not find common ground with a nation that loves bread, cheese and chocolate? My history is sometimes rusty, but I always remember that just 10 days after the United States celebrates its national holiday, the French celebrate Bastille Day on July 14. The annual celebration marks the date in 1789 when French citizens stormed the Bastille, stealing ammunition to bolster their rebellion. Today, France celebrates its national holiday with morning parades and a light mid-day menu, followed by a leisurely afternoon. (Yet another thing I can get behind.) To celebrate stateside, check out this magnifique collection of French recipes, crafts and activities.
This irresistible sandwich -- a distant cousin to the Monte Cristo -- first appeared in a Parisian cafe in 1910. Top it with a fried or poached egg and it becomes a Croque-Madame.
During the French Revolution, the French Assembly declared that the Louvre should be used as a museum to house the nation's masterpieces. It opened in 1793 with 537 paintings and today is one of the world's largest museums. With these homemade frames, you can display your kids' masterpieces, Louvre-style.
Erected in 1889 as the entrance to the World's Fair, the Eiffel Tower has been delighting French natives and tourists ever since. The symbol of romance is gorgeous atop these sweet cupcakes.
On almost any street in Paris, you can stop for a freshly made crepe, filled however you like (with fruit, ham and cheese or Nutella). This yummy version is easy to prep at home, and a fresh way to enjoy your petit-dejeuner. (That's French for breakfast.)
Some towns, you paint red. Paris, you paint pink. This tulle wreath is a gorgeous addition to a Paris-themed birthday party.
With these Paris-inspired origami crafts, you can escape to the City of Light by folding your own Parisian landmarks and accoutrements.
No make-believe shopping trip down the Champs-Elysees would be complete without an eye-catching Parisian purse.
For more rustic French cooking, rely on Herbs de Provence. The spice blend fuses several herbs, including rosemary, marjoram and thyme, and hails from Southern France.
In France, you can buy this delicate meringue-based cookie almost anywhere: Even French McDonald's serve them. Here in the States, we like this sweetly styled Mickey Mouse version.
This classic French stew was one of Julia Child's favorites. She frequently made it on her PBS cooking show. The slow-cooked comfort food was born of necessity as a way to render some tender meat from tough, old roosters.
There's a debate whether fries as we know them originated in France or Belgium. Since these are oven-baked, you can worry less about their origins and just enjoy them guilt-free.
On Bastille Day, fireworks erupt from the Eiffel Tower, perhaps the most glorious landmark in Paris. Kids can make their own centerpiece-worthy version at home.
Referring to the unfurled leaves of a young fern, fiddlehead quiche is something of a French staple.
Has Mickey Mouse been to France? Mais oui! The well-traveled mouse about town offers up some handy translation tools for budding Francophiles.
French artist Georges Seurat is known as the father of pointillism (paintings comprising thousands of tiny dots of color). His most famous work, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte," used thousands upon thousands of dots on a huge canvas. With this project, kids can try their (very precise) hand at making art just like Seurat's.
Toy poodles were pampered and beloved during the reign of Louis XVI. Now thought of as the quintessentially French dog, the poodle puts its pretty pink stamp on these delicate, delicious cookies.
This recipe actually makes a flourless chocolate cake, but changing the name to something fancier is very French, non? (No matter what it's called, it's delicious.)
This yummy, comforting stew is a time-conscious adaptation of Julia Child's Boeuf Bourguignonne. Make it a day ahead and reheat later -- giving it time to settle adds even more oomph to the flavors.
Some chefs come to the cuisine game late in life, but to give your little chef an early start, there's no better inspiration than Paris lover Remy, of Ratatouille fame.
Want to entice your picky eaters? This simple French Provençal stew is simple to make together, and delicious when served with crusty bread. Kids are more likely to try a new dish when they've helped prepare it. (And maybe when they're told that children in France never turn down their mother's cooking -- hey, it's worth a shot.)
Let's Go to Paris!
Turn Your Living Room into the Louvre
Eiffel Tower Cupcakes
Pink Paris Tulle Wreath
Paris Style Printable Purses
Herbs de Provence Roasted Chicken
Mickey Mouse French Macarons
Coq au Vin
Easy Oven Frites
Craft Stick Eiffel Tower
Mickey Mouse and Friends Learn French Labels
Make Art Like Famous Artists: Georges Seurat
"Pink Poodle in Paris" Cookies
Chocolate Mousse Torte
Bacon, Mushroom and Beef Stew
Remy's Kitchen Towel Apron
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