French-Inspired Activities for Metro Detroit Kids

If France isn’t in the travel budget this year, these ideas can help fill your family’s international cravings.

With The Henry Ford’s new exhibit, “Julia Child, A Recipe for Life,” and the smorgasbord of events it has planned to keep families entertained this summer, you might find your heart — and tummy — yearning for a trip to Paris. 

If the cost is keeping you home this year, don’t fret because we have you covered with little bites of La Belle France that everyone in the family will enjoy. Most importantly, wherever this summer takes you, do as the French do, and enjoy every minute — joie de vivre!

French roots

Detroit was founded by French explorer and nobleman Antoine de la mothe Cadillac. And in 1670 what we now know as the Detroit River was called “le detroit de Lac Erie.” To find out more about our French roots, visit The Detroit Historical Society, 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit.

Parlez-vous Francais — or would you like to?

Detroit is home to Alliance Francaise de Detroit: The French Institute of Michigan. You and your child can find French lessons offered online and in person. Plus, you can sign up for lectures on French art and culture and also find French get-togethers in the Detroit area, including movie nights and petanque games. The annual Bastille Day Celebration is July 14.

Colorful art

You can’t feel like you are in Paris without a trip to the art museum. Visit Detroit Institute of Art for a gallery walk through the European collection. Be sure to look for Monet’s Rounded Flower Bed and Renoir’s Pierrot Blanc. End your day with a lovely tisane (herbal tea) and a pastry or charcuterie board in the DIA’s Kresge Court. 

French baguette?

There is nothing like a real baguette: crusty on the outside, warm and just the perfect amount of chewiness on the inside. The only way to get close to a real French baguette is to bake it at home. If you or your child need some help with this, check out Zingerman’s Bakehouse classes in Ann Arbor. The Fabulous French Baguette class will ensure that you never go without this important French staple.  

French cuisine

To toast a tres French summer, you must make a reservation at Cuisine. Chef Paul Grosz, a Detroit native, studied at Le Francaise and Le Cordon Bleu and returned to open a beautiful French restaurant in the heart of his hometown.

Drool-worthy French crepes

If you’ve ever spent a weekend at Detroit’s Eastern Market, then you have most likely smelled or, if lucky, tasted a crepe from The French Cow. What began as a pop-up shop by French transplant Marie Wallace has grown into a busy catering business. Try a savory or sweet crepe under the sun with the live music playing at the market. If you close your eyes, you just might feel transported to Paris. Find The French Cow Saturday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. in shed five, Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. in shed three and Tuesday 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in shed two.

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Steffy McCourt
Steffy McCourt
Steffy McCourt brings over 15 years of experience in education, parenting, and travel writing for esteemed publications like We Are Teachers and LA Family Travel. Recognized for her commitment to advancing literacy and writing skills, Steffy is honored to be a Fellow of the National Writing Project. She collaborates with educators nationwide to enhance teaching practices and empower student writers.


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