French restaurants, French-style businesses: One US town catches Olympic fever

It has provided residents of this historic Midwest town an opportunity to experience French culture at home, as Paris prepares for the Olympics.
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Posted at 4:14 PM, Jun 08, 2024

As the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris approaches, the world’s spotlight on the French capital will undoubtedly highlight French traditions.

It’s also generating excitement in Kansas City, known as the Paris of the Plains.

There are plenty of ways for residents and visitors to get out and experience French culture without leaving the Midwest.

"It’s absolutely delicious," a customer at the French Market and Cafe Provence in Prairie Village told Scripps News Kansas City. "They change their menu regularly, so I feel like every time we come back, there’s a little something different."

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Cafe Provence, which opened more than 20 years ago, and the French Market, which opened in 2013, offer French imports, vintage items, cookbooks and other French products.

“Those are the things that we bring to the table because of who we are and where we come from,” French Market owner Patrick Quillec said.

Cafe Provence has been recognized as one of the top French restaurants not only in Kansas City but across the United States.

“I always said French people are very demanding about their product and their life,” Quillec said. “It puts a kind of pressure on ownership of restaurants.

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French Market owner Patrick Quillec (left) talks to KSHB 41 reporter Daniela Leon.

We found another customer who predicts this summer’s Olympic Games will draw even more customers to the restaurant.

“I think it’ll bring people into those places just so they can kind of feel the vibe of the Olympics and being in that culture,” the customer said.

A little further east in Kansas City, Missouri, those looking to cool off with a French treat can swing by French Custard in the Brookside neighborhood.

“We really tried to do things the French way, which is simple but delicious and homemade and high quality,” French Custard owner Jessica Wood said. “I definitely feel like we’ll have a boost in sales this summer with people wanting to just try French custard.”

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French Custard owner Jessica Wood.

Wood, who has visited France and lived in New York, saw a need to bring authentic French custard to Kansas City by opening up her shop in 2023.

“French custard is all about homemade from scratch,” Wood said. “Ice cream we make is based in-house with just milk, cream, egg and sugar.”

Wood plans to go over a special Olympic sundae during this summer’s games.

This story was originally published by Daniela Leon at Scripps News Kansas City.