Time may be running out on your chance for some international travel this summer, but that doesn’t mean you have to stay tethered to a strictly American existence. Say bonjour to a month of ooh-la-la with these events and destinations overflowing with French flavor.
Oak Park’s Marion Street transforms into a chic European alley at the Art dans la Rue festival. The street fair includes open-art artists, live entertainment and food that tastes like it came straight from a Parisian bistro. Plus, keep an eye out for a poodle parade and sidewalk chalk works of art, and bring a beret (or buy one!) for some Frenchified photo ops. Free. Noon-9 p.m. Aug. 4. Marion Street, between Lake and North Boulevard, Oak Park. (708) 383-4145, downtownoakpark.net.
Cantigny Park gets its name from the French village where the U.S. won its first victory in World War I, and each year, that landmark is honored at the park’s French Connection Day. The celebration includes fine wine and French cuisine, performances by mimes and cancan dancers, story time with Madeline and a kids’ art project. The 23-foot Eiffel Tower replica is perfect for an international family photo. Just be sure to say “Fromage!” $5 per car. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Aug. 9. 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton. (630) 668-5161, cantigny.org.
It wouldn’t be France without a little retail therapy. And although we may not have the Champs-Élysées, we do have a wide range of traditional French markets that offer everything from fresh fruit to works of art. Stop by the 30-vendor Chicago French Market (we flipped for the FliP Crepes!) in the heart of the Loop, which also has a Kids’ Craft Corner to keep little hands busy. Or visit one of 11 neighborhood markets throughout the city and suburbs. Open air browsing on a hot summer day? Oui, oui. frenchmarketchicago.com; bensidounusa.com.