Joie de Vivre, Easy to Find in Richmond
Nothing says romance like French culture and cuisine. Much to the delight of Francophiles in Richmond, our state’s capital is home to a variety of options to take in French culture. From museums to restaurants, ties to French culture are prominent in our city. Richmonders seeking to delve into French art, history and culture will discover many opportunities. If you’re looking to woo that special someone in your life around Valentine’s Day and throughout the year, check out these many ways to explore the French cuisine and hidden gems throughout the city and for a moment you can almost feel like you have jetted off to Paris. Before you go, check websites and/or call to verify information is correct.
The French Connection in Richmond:
•CanCan (3120 W. Cary Street Richmond, VA 23221) is one of Richmond’s most well-known French restaurants. Savoring a croque monsieur while watching people stroll Cary Street makes for a Parisian feel. Wednesday – Saturday 11:30 AM – 8:00 PM, Sunday Brunch 10:00am – 4:00pm
•Grisette (3119 E Marshall St Richmond, VA 23223) is an American take on the classic French Bouchon- an owner operated, neighborhood joint with a Prix Fixe as well as an a la Carte menu with a wide ranging cheese and wine selection. Open Tues. through Sat. 5:00-10:00pm
•Les Crepes in Carytown (3325 W Cary St Suite R Richmond, VA 23221) and Les Crepes at Stony Point (9200 Stony Point Pkwy) offer delicious sweet and savory crêpes for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as the iconic French onion soup.
•L’opposum sur la Colline de l’Orégon (626 China Street Richmond, VA, 23220) : is known for its relaxed atmosphere and delicious cuisine. Only open during the evening hours, L’opposum’s popular appetizers, the Faberge egg, and the escargots are the perfect start to your French meal. Tuesday-Saturday 5:00 PM – 12:00 AM, Dinner: 5:00pm – 10:00pm
•Max’s on Broad (305 Brook Rd Richmond, VA 23220) Blends the ambience of a French Brasserie and utilizes French culinary techniques offering up Hors d’oeuvres, Fruits de Mer, entrees, French Wine, Crepes, Moule Frites and more. 4-10pm Mon.-Thurs. & 11am-10pm Fri.-Sun.
•Monique’s Crêpes is owned and operated by Chef Monique, trained in Brittany, France. Monique’s crêperie is run from her trailer, so patrons can watch Monique make their crêpes. L’Elvis and the Bon Appleturkey are two favorites. Monique is on the move, traveling to parks, Farmers Markets, and all around RVA, so follow her social media to enjoy your next crepe: @MoniquesCrêpes.
•Whisk Bakery (2100 E Main Street, Richmond, VA 23223) provides macaron-loving Richmonders a true French macaron to satisfy their craving. The brightly colored macarons in the bakery case are absolutely mouthwatering. Flavor offerings change daily. Whisk also offers customers a Macaron Membership, six macarons each month, three of the macarons exclusive flavors.
History & Art:
•Huguenots & religious freedom (Historic Pole Green Church – 6411 Heatherwood Dr, Mechanicsville, VA 23116) Richmond pays tribute to those brave French Protestants, the Huguenots, who settled nearby when they escaped religious persecution. Both Huguenot High School and Huguenot Bridge are memorials to them. Richmonders wanting to learn more can visit Historic Pole Green Park to walk the timeline of religious freedom.
•Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (200 N Arthur Ashe Blvd, Richmond, VA 23220) offers free admission to permanent collection galleries. Fans of Impressionism will enjoy visiting the Mellon Collection. The Mellon Collection holds Impressionist works and even a sculpture by Degas.
Festivals & Organizations:
•French Food Festival began as a fundraiser for Little Sisters of the Poor, but is now run by Commonwealth Catholic Charities. This weekend long event, typically held during April is family-friendly. In addition to sampling a myriad of French cuisine, there is also music live music and other entertainment. (Tentatively scheduled for spring 2021)
•French Film Festival is a 28 year tradition in Richmond. Films are shown at the Byrd Theater and each film is presented by their directors and/or actors. The weekend’s French activities also include master classes and a reception with the French stars. (March 18-21, 2021)
•Alliance Française allows Richmond area locals to sing, speak, watch movies, cook, celebrate Bastille Day and more…in French. Young families with bilingual children or those who wish to expose their children to French language and culture will enjoy being part of the Familles Francophones. Members do not have to speak French; one must simply have a love of French culture.
Between restaurants, museums, festivals, groups, and history, Richmond offers its citizens la creme de la creme! Richmond makes learning about French and taking in the culture is as easy as un-deux-trois.
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About Richmond on the Cheap contributor Lindsay Garrison: Garrison is a Richmond, Virginia based mom to two young children. A graduate of Chesterfield Schools and Randolph-Macon College, Lindsay is proud to call Richmond home. In the years prior to planning activities and outings with her own children, she was a French teacher. During her tenure she earned accolades for her creative teaching style and ability to connect with her students. She now applies the skills she learned when she was planning student trips to France, to her own family adventures. She can’t wait to take her own children to France one day! Follow the Garrison’s family adventures on Instagram: @happyrvakids.
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