Are you dreaming of visiting France from the comfort of New England this summer? If you need a bit of inspiration for your staycation, we have you covered.  This post features some of the ''Frenchiest'' places our staff recommends in the New England area. Have you visited any of these places?

Mount Lafayette
(submitted by Clémence Bary-Boloré)



Want to challenge yourself while enjoying one of the most spectacular views in all of New England?

Mount Lafayette is waiting for you! A very popular hike is to follow a loop combining the three most notable summits of the Franconia Range. This loop starts with the Old Bridle Path to the AMC Greenleaf Hut. From there, hikers take the Greenleaf Trail to the summit of Mt. Lafayette. Turning south along the Franconia Ridge Trail, you’ll pass over Mount Lincoln and Little Haystack, then descend via the Falling Waters Trail, to connect back with the beginning of the Old Bridle Path. This loop is 8.9 miles (14.3 km) long, with a cumulative elevation gain of about 3,900 feet (1,200 m).

While this hike might feel like a stretch, it’s doable by kids-I saw a lot of them last year while doing it myself! When you reach the top, your efforts are rewarded, the view is breathtaking and (unlike nearby Mount Washington) there is no parking lot at the summit which makes a huge difference! This location also offers other less difficult hikes.

Café Lafayette Dinner Train
 
In addition to the view, you can treat yourself with a fine dining experience at Café Lafayette Dinner Train. Escape the ordinary and relive the romance of dining in the restored vintage dining cars. Enjoy five courses of fine food and spirits served in the Grand European manner. The food is delicious but the best part is the 20 mile roundtrip. In spring and summer, this unique dinner train offers spectacular views of the picturesque Pemigewasset River with its surrounding fields, forests and mountains. The menu varies depending on the season, there is always a vegetarian option. If you want to do something unusual, give it a try and you won’t regret it!

The mountain and the train restaurant are named to honor General Lafayette, a French military hero who fought with and significantly aided the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Loved and adopted as an aide by George Washington during the conflict, Lafayette made a triumphal tour re-visiting New Hampshire and all the other New England states in 1824-1825 celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Newport, Rhode Island
(submitted by Natalie Collet)



While Woonsocket is a historic choice for a place to visit in Rhode Island with rich French Canadian history, if a trip to the sea is what you are seeking this summer, don’t forget to visit Newport. French General Rochambeau stepped onto the docks of Newport with an army of thousands of Frenchmen on July 11, 1780 to help fight the American Revolutionary War. A statue commemorating the general was refurbished in 2019 and appears today in King Park.

On top of having several fabulous beaches for swimming and sunbathing, the town boasts beautiful nature trails, most famously the Cliff Walk. Don’t forget to visit Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge and Norman Bird Sanctuary as well to take in the beautiful natural scenery in the area. While seafood is a fine and clear choice for the culinary portion of your trip, Newport boasts several delicious French restaurants for your choosing, including Bouchard, Clarke Cookhouse, and One Bellevue. Not into beach life? Relax at one of the town’s wineries or breweries. Newport Wineries even has a red appropriately called Rochambeau!

Massachusetts
(submitted by Ingrid Marquardt)


French Memories Cafe in Duxbury

Make some delicious memories on your way to one of Duxbury’s beaches with a stop at this South Shore staple of over 30 years. Owned and run by Paris-born pastry chef Philippe and Debra Odier, this authentic bakery brings a Parisian boulangerie to just over an hour from Boston city center by car. When planning your beach day (with a dash of je ne sais quoi), be aware that French Memories croissants are known to sell out on weekend mornings!

The Boston Public Library in Boston

While you might have noticed the BPL’s stunning Renaissance Beaux-Arts Classicism (noted in the designation of the McKim building as a National Historic Landmark in 1986), did you know that the library has French in its very roots? A French ventriloquist by the name of M. Nicholas Marie Alexandre Vattemare is credited with getting the ball rolling in 1839, 9 years before opening, when he suggested an exchange of books and prints between American and French libraries. Another French connection can be found in the grand staircase of the McKim building in the form of murals by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes. These 8 murals were painted on linen in Paris and applied to the walls using the marouflage technique to bind the art to the niches. Each work features an area of study that can be pursued in the library with a longer work portraying The Muses of Inspiration Welcoming the Spirit of Light. These murals are the only examples of Puvis’s work outside of France.

Be sure to take a peek at these murals next time you take advantage of Curbside Pickup from the French Cultural Center, now available on Tuesdays between 2:30 and 6PM in the McKim courtyard!

What's your favorite location in New England? Will you be traveling locally this summer? If so, where are you headed?


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