Fall French Market returns to the Lycée Francais de Chicago: Fri., Nov. 8 - Sun., Nov. 10

French markets (or les marches) are a combination farmers and artisan market. They often provide an insider's look at seasonal foods, global tastes and and local craftsmen, and offer a glimpse at what's en vogue now - and in the past.This unique melding of local and global, past and present is what makes for an true, eclectic French market. And, I can't wait for it all to take shape when the Fall French Market returns to the Lycée Francais de Chicago (640 W. Irving Park Road) on Friday, November 8, Saturday, November 9 and Sunday, November 10.

Three floors of holiday shopping over three days

FFM17

Courtesy of In the Light Photography

From the moment you walk inside the doors of the French international school, you'll be greeted by the sounds of French being animatedly spoken among friends, the smell of freshly made beignets and crepes being prepared for visitors, and the music of local Chicago artists being enjoyed by all. And, of course, there will be lots of unique, local vendors ready for you to stop by and peruse their wares.

In recent years, more than 3,000 people have attended the three-day Fall French Market. This year, you can shop at more than 70 vendors, selling unique items like custom silhouette creations, hand-crafted jewelry, candles, French linens, ceramic tiles, blown glass, balance boards, chocolates, jams, and more.

Looking to shop at your leisure without your children rushing you along? Then, you're in luck. The Fall French Market offers a supervised Children's Pavilion where you can drop your children off to enjoy arts, crafts, free play, coloring, tattoos and manicures on Saturday and Sunday. On both days, you can time your child's visit to coincide with the scheduled entertainment, which includes puppet and magic shows, and language, drama and dance classes.

French food and drinks to sip and savor

Courtesy of In the Light Photography

Courtesy of In the Light Photography

French food and drinks will be offered at the Fall French Market, bien sur. You can visit one of the market's booths to buy fresh crepes, beignets and fresh baked goods.

You also can take a seat at the parent and student-run bistro, which will serve up boeuf bourguignon, quiche, an array of French sandwiches, petite creme brulees, and drinks. Guests also will be treated to live French music while you dine in the bistro.

Culinary demonstrations from Chicago's top chefs

This year, the Fall French Market will once again offer you the chance to learn from some of Chicago's most popular chefs. On Saturday and Sunday, chefs will lead demonstrations of how to make some of their favorite dishes or baked goods, which may inspire your next meal or night out on the town.

On Saturday, demonstrations will be given by Jeff Lawler of Geja's Cafe, Rubina Hafeez of Gur Sweets, Ben Reaves of LM Bistro, Mark Grosz of Oceanique, Martial Noguier of Bistronomic, and Linda Szarkowski of Green Spirit. Sunday's demonstrations will be led by Toni Cox of Toni Patisserie & Cafe and Norman Hargrove of Nouveau Tavern.

Friday night preview party

Courtesy of In the Light Photography

Courtesy of In the Light Photography

Serious shoppers will enjoy the chance to be one of the first to browse the Fall French Market vendors at the preview party on Friday night.

This year, the party will celebrate the food and culture of Mexico. Attendees will be able to enjoy festive bites and beverages, including beer, wine and cocktails. Throughout the evening, you'll also be treated to the lively sounds of roaming maricachi musicians, making for a bonafide fiesta within the walls of the Lycée Francais de Chicago.

Proceeds raised from the Friday night preview party and the entire market go towards need-based scholarships for students at the Lycée Francais de Chicago.

Tickets for the Fall French Market can be purchased online and at the door.

With just a few weeks until the Lycée Francaise de Chicago Fall French Market, I'm putting together my holiday shopping list and preparing to let myself indulge in the wonders of a true French market - right here in Chicago.

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