Joie de Vivre in RVA: Live like You’re French for a Day

Though you may not have the opportunity to visit Paris, all it takes is a little imagination and some careful planning to craft a French-inspired staycation that will transport you from the River City to the City of Lights. Here’s your itinerary for a trés French day in RVA.

Can Can Brasserie

Can Can
Photos © Can Can Brasserie

Head to Can Can Brasserie in Carytown for a buttery croissant and café au lait. Grab a table at the front window and imagine you’re part of French café society, watching passersby as they, in turn, notice your je ne sais quoi.

Crème de la Crème

Creme De La Creme
Photo © Crème de la Crème

Stroll around Carytown for some shopping, making a stop at the chic home-accessories and gift store Crème de la Crème. It’s chock-full of French and French-inspired linens, tableware and gifts such as lavender-scented soaps and candles.

Napoleon: Power and Splendor

Visitors in the Napoleon Exhibition
Photo © Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Visit the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts to view Napoleon: Power and Splendor. This must-see exhibition features more than 200 works of art rarely shown outside of France and explores the intricacies of the Emperor’s daily life and the range of works commissioned by and for him. It’s an immersive display of art that will transport you to Napoleon’s palaces during his reign in 19th-century France.

Stella’s Grocery

items for sale at Stella's Grocery
Photos © Stella’s Grocery

Head to your favorite gourmet market (the new Stella’s Grocery in Scott’s Addition has a great European vibe) to pick up some bread, meat, cheese and wine for a casual picnic.

Jefferson Park

Sunset at Jefferson Park
Enjoy your picnic at Jefferson Park in Church Hill (N. 21st and Marshall streets), a small neighborhood park with a stellar view of downtown Richmond. If it can’t be Montmartre, it might as well be Jefferson Park.

Les Boulefrogs

pétanque balls

Join Les Boulefrogs of Church Hill for a game of pétanque, a lawn bowling game that is popular in Provence. The group plays Sunday afternoons at 2 pm and Thursday evenings at 6 pm at Chimborazo Playground at the corner of 29th and East Grace Streets in Church Hill.

Mon Chou Patisserie

Mon Chou Patisserie products
Photos © Mon Chou Patisserie

Relax and treat yourself to a selection of macarons at Mon Chou Patisserie.

Richmond Canal Cruise

Richmond Canal Cruises
Photo © Kim Goldstein

Enjoy a Richmond Canal Cruise of the James River and Kanawha Canal along the Canal Walk. It may not be quite the same as a bateau-mouche cruise on the Seine, but it’s close enough.

Richmond Wine Station

Richmond Wine Station
Photos © Richmond Wine Station

End your day at Richmond Wine Station where you can sample a large selection of French wines from Bordeaux to rosé.