Header image courtesy of Diogo Fagundes (via Unsplash)
Spring wafts in an air of bliss and blooms new possibilities. As the language of romance, French is the perfect secret ingredient to set the tone for the season. Famed as a culture that finds refined enjoyment in the simpler parts of life, read on to find out how you, too, can enjoy springtime the French way without having to even leave Hong Kong.
Spring is the in-between window for the perfect weather. Light and breezy with warming sunshine makes it exactly the season to picnic in. In fact, the word “picnic”—or rather, its original form “pique-nique”—was first coined by the French! Why not take to the park or a calming nature spot to share a Franco-inspired alfresco meal with good company?
Stock up your basket with a French charcuterie platter that is bound to impress with its diverse mixture of cold cuts, finger foods, and cheese. Options like saucisson (dry-cured sausage), jambon fumé (smoked salt-cured hams), and pâte (spreadable ground meat paste) are several authentic choices that always go well with baguette.
Complement them with a roster of soft, hard, and blue cheeses (Roquefort is our go-to) before topping off with a light wine or champagne. Under a bright sky and surrounded by good eats, there’s nothing left to do other than to lean back and admire “la vie en rose.”
You do not need to have a sweet tooth to be familiar with the broad variety of delicious pastries invented and made popular by the French. Notable features make these baked items some of the best in the world: the use of high-quality butter, attention to detail that also extends to beautiful visual presentations, and penchant for multi-layered but light textures.
From delicate mille-feuilles to flaked croissants that make the early mornings that much better, there is a whole range of delightful baked treats that you can try your hand at recreating on your own. For beginners, start by conquering little bites like madeleines and financiers, or minimal-effort pudding desserts like crème brulee or petit pot de crème! Bonus points if you follow a video tutorial or recipe in French for the real deal.
After a winter shrouded in cold and gloom, coming into contact with the glistening rays of spring sun and blossoming greenery is enough to make us want to get up and groove. Listening to foreign-language music is a particularly underrated way of unwinding and also soaking up new experiences. Not only is it something that is doubly enjoyable, but getting in touch with a foreign language through music can gain you new ways of connecting with and appreciating the linguistic sounds with greater emotional impact.
Regardless of if you are familiar with the film Moonrise Kingdom, we think it’s a safe bet that the opening twangs of Françoise Hardy’s “Le Temps de L’amour” are hard to not bop along to. It makes for a whimsical soundtrack to fill in the spring atmosphere, and its simple lyrics paint a fun picture of days spent with friends and paramours. On your next turn manning the aux, throw on the song for an upbeat jamming session à la Sam and Suzy from the film.
Like music, film is another impactful way to make you feel as though you have been whisked away into another place entirely. Ramp up the French ambience with Amélie, a cult classic that celebrates the charm of Montmartre with offbeat spring flair.
Set in the 18th arrondissement of Paris, the film follows the story of the titular Amélie, who decides to transform the lives of the colourful characters she meets. Her tale is told through a unique lens that draws you into her fantastical world. Documenting the little details that make her day—dipping her hand into open bags of grains in the market, cracking into a delicious crème brûlée, skipping along the St Martin’s Canal—the film arms you with a sense of wonder for the world to easily make your spring all the more sensational.
As a member of Alliance Française, Amélie is only one of the many French films that you can easily rent out from their colourful library of French media. Sign up for the chance to explore their vast collection of over 8,000 books, 400 CD's, 1,000 DVD's, and more!
It goes without saying that the key to truly soaking up all of the French media and culture we have covered here to its full extent is to familiarise yourself with the language. By being able to better understand and engage with these Francophile experiences, you can dive deepen your appreciation of this fascinating nation and the influence it has had internationally. Providing all-rounded classes for students of varying demographics and skill sets, Alliance Française is a brilliant starting point to get you acquainted with all things French.
Alliance Française is now offering an exclusive five percent discount on its Spring Break Intensive French course set to begin in late March and April, and the discount is applicable to students of all age groups. Children and teens can fill up the early summer holidays, while adults can discover a dazzling way to enrich their time at home. Register on or before 26 March to reap this early-bird offer! Sign-ups and class schedules are available here.