Mon dieu! Valentine’s Day is nearly here and you haven’t planned a thing? Well, fear not. There is still time to plan a truly fabulous Valentine’s Day for you and your special someone. If you’re looking for something extraordinary for your significant other this Valentine’s Day, why not surprise him with a trip to one of the most romantic cities in the world – Paris! Of course, in an ideal world and economy, this idea may not actually sound so crazy or fiscally irresponsible. If jetting off to the City of Lights is not in the budget this year, try the next best thing…recreate a romantic French dinner in your dining room. In fact, why not make it a whole French-inspired evening to get both of you in a more Valentine’s Day mood.
Here are 9 easy steps to have an Incredibly French Valentine’s Day
- French Notes – Start by sending your loved one a hand-written French-themed invitation on beautiful stationary or send him a Paris-themed e-card giving him the details of your romantic interlude.
- French Tunes: Set the tone of the evening by selecting classic or modern French music to play during dinner and throughout the evening. For jazzier, bistro-style music, try Paris Combo or the Williams Sonoma Paris CD. For smooth instrumental, go for the soundtracks to Chocolat or Amelie.
- French Mood – Establish a French mood by putting bunches of fresh lavender or flowers in the bathroom or other areas of the home. Although, be sure to keep strong scents, including flowers and scented candles, away from the dining area for they can overpower the taste of the food. Now, all you need to do is dim the lights or turn them off completely and rely on strategically placed candles throughout the evening.
- French Table – A perfectly set table can greatly complement your French meal. If you have a large table, take out the leaves to make it as small as possible, making it a more quaint, bistro-type setting. If you can’t make the table smaller, give the allure of an intimate setting arranging the places at the very end of one side of the table. Use a clean table cloth, wine glasses, and cloth napkins. Set the table with the appropriate number of plates for the several courses you plan to serve. Finally, add several unscented candles to the table for a more romantic feel.
- French Fare – Temp your love’s palate by preparing a meal worthy of a French chef. Can’t cook? Order from a nearby French restaurant. In typical French fashion, be sure to include several courses in your meal, although courses should be as light as possible. Here is just one example of a four-course French meal, but the menu possibilities are endless.
- French bread/baguette – As customary in France, most meals begin with a French baguette, a long loaf of crusty bread, typically wrapped in paper. When serving, don’t bother with a knife for slicing, tear it off in small pieces – the tres chic French way.
- French appetizer – Ironically, a French appetizer is actually called an entree. Keep this course light and simple by having 2 or 3 types of french cheeses, paired with sliced apples, grapes, and figs.
- French entree – Try the classic French dish, Filet of Beef au Poivre (peppered fillet), served with a side of fingerling potatoes, and haricots verts (French-style green beans).
- French dessert – Prepare chocolate mousse, a French favorite, ahead of time, and chill in martini or other fancy glasses in the fridge. Garnish with shaved chocolate and a dollop of whipped cream.
- French Wine – Although French wine is preferred, any wine will do as long as it’s of good quality and is paired with the meal you are serving. With a little planning, you’ll be able to find the perfect bottle of wine.
- French Movie – After dinner, get cozy with your amour on the couch with another glass of wine and watch a movie that was filmed in France or Belgium. For a romantic comedy, try Amelie, French Kiss, or In Bruges. For drama, rent Chocolat, and for mystery/history, opt for the Da Vinci Code.
- French Phrases – When the time is right, remind your love just how much he means to you by whispering a few of these romantic French phrases in his ear.
- French Present – Leave him with sweet memories of the perfect evening by giving your love a gift of fine French chocolates. Add a little spice to the romance by giving a dozen of the Aztec truffles (made with chili pepper and cinnamon) or opt for traditional truffles filled with dark chocolate or hazelnut.
For a Valentine’s Day surprise, a trip to Paris or any romantic European city is hard to beat. But, with a little imagination, you can give your Valentine a taste of France, with a side of romance, without leaving home – a surprise treat that will have him saying “ooh la la” into the wee hours of the morning.