While living on the French Riviera “Aller prendre l’air” was a magical cure-all for so many things. It is a conerstone of a French Riviera lifestyle.
It means to go out and take in air. Such a simple concept but it was a key part of our every day life. The hour long lunch breaks at work always included stepping out of the office and having a coffee (espresso, of course) next to the sea.
Weekends included market strolls, long lunches on an outdoor patio or walks along the Promenade des Anglais, gazing out at the azure waters. Even at home, on our tiny balcony looking over the Port of Nice we made a point of sitting outside and getting fresh air, with a glass of rosé in hand, bien sûr.
Here in DC, 30 minute lunch breaks, coupled with a busy schedule and an apartment in a high rise, make it more difficult than I realized to go out and breathe in fresh air. After a winter spent cooped up I was really missing it!
Here are a few ways I have brought fresh air into my daily routine.
Faire Aérer la Maison: (Air out your home)
Open the windows. It is so easy, but in our perfectly climate controlled living spaces we don’t open the windows nearly as much. Having my mother in law staying with us has reminded me of this. The first thing she does each day is open all the windows as far as they can go and let the rooms air out while I run to turn off the air conditioning. Forget using room spray, letting the air in will make your home feel deliciously French.
Trouver un coin d'herbe: (Find a patch of grass)
Big or small, find a park near you and enjoy it. In the DC area we are so fortunate to have the most beautiful parks easily accessible. Le Chef and I live in Rosslyn, Virginia and within a 10 minute walk we can be sitting next to the Netherlands Carillon hearing the bells chime with a view over all of the DC Monuments. With a little more effort I can be walking amongst those same monuments within 20 minutes. It feels almost decadent and gives me the impression that I am on my own mini holiday.
While the National Parks are fabulous, I have not always lived near one of them. Even sitting in the neighborhood park or next to a river, lake or fountain can work wonders.
Prendre la route: (Take a drive)
Day trips are the very cornerstone of French weekend enjoyment. The Michelin Guide itself was invented at the turn of the last century to encourage French gastronomes to take their cars and drive to out of the way restaurants. Side note: As a marketer I think that is the most brilliant way to sell more tires that I ever heard of!
Even if your area doesn’t have the Michelin guide you can do your own research. I suggest looking up stately hotels. Hotels are surprisingly kid friendly and, for the price of a lunch, it is very likely that you can enjoy the grounds as long as you would like. Le Chef and I love to go spend an afternoon at Salamander Resort in Middleburg. We also recently went to Mount Vernon and ran around in the grass there too.
How do you let fresh air into your every day? I would love to hear from you!
Le Chef’s Wife