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French women have it together! Fresh faces and cute outfits, french bread and croissants, and daily strolls through their busy cities and peaceful parks. There are some key elements that french women live by that most modern Americans may have forgotten. Appreciation of simplicity and indulging your senses will make for a happier life! These tips are breaking free from the boudoir right here and now!French women have it together! Fresh faces and cute outfits, french bread and croissants, and daily strolls through their busy cities and peaceful parks. There are some key elements that french women live by that most modern Americans may have forgotten. Appreciation of simplicity and indulging your senses will make for a happier life! These tips are breaking free from the boudoir right here and now!
Soaring housing prices, real estate being picked up by rich foreigners, availability is slim and space is at a premium! You wouldn’t believe the typical size of the apartments in Paris. My research shows studio size condos range from 150-300 sq ft. With such small living spaces, French people have to be very selective of what they bring into their pied a terre. Living a French lifestyle necessitates lots of thought about what you really need and what you can do without. Overtime you will naturally gain a mental shift and discerning eye. All the money you will save will create a sense of security and accomplishment. Your monetary burdens will melt away.
The height of fashion in the loveliest city in the world… My Paris my apartment didn’t have a closet. There were a few drawers and railing cut into the wall. French apartments aren’t even built with closets. People must buy themselves an armoire. Not much will fit into a 2 feet wide armoire. Think about your own lifestyle and challenge yourself to buy practical, versatile, high quality items that will last a lifetime and not just a single season.
Put it in perspective: 5 winter coats that cost 200 dollars each? Wouldn’t you rather invest in a single, classy Burberry Wool Trench? You will wear it proudly for a decade. When you’re out and about, don’t spontaneously pick up items that you have not planned into your wardrobe. Think… Are you happy and proud of your daily outfits? The value in feeling put together you make you feel good all day long. I now have a classic wardrobe full of awesome staples and I splurge on a designer handbag every couple of years. A nice coat, bag and shoes will make you feel and look like a million bucks.
Keep your house and your workspace tidy. You will feel like you have more space when everything has it’s place. This can happen innately when you are dealing with a small space. A clean home enables a peaceful mind. Clutter and a dirty house is mentally taxiing. Clean your space and sit back and admire all the shiny, beautiful surfaces.
Au naturel finds it’s origin in France for a reason. French women wear a minimal amount of facial beauty products. Sunscreen and bronzer are basic staples. A wee bit of mascara and lipstick give that extra pop. They take pride in their skin care. They do not wash their hair everyday and they do not strip their hair of it’s natural oils. Apple cider vinegar is used in place of conditioner and it gives their hair a spectacular shine. The less you wash your hair the healthier it will be is their motto. Avoid using chemicals like hairspray as they dry out your hair and it also attracts dirt. Health is important to the French and they avoid chemicals, even if it’s in the name of beauty.
My nearest grocery store in Paris was 2 miles away from my apartment. I absolutely loved my shopping experience …. but after 2 months… I figured out just how much I could cram into my sack… haha. I averaged 12-14 miles a day according to my pedometer. A Parisian lifestyle is more involved than you might think. It’s tougher but it’s rewarding. Most people living in the heart of Paris don’t have a car. There are not Metro stops on every corner either. Metro stations can be sporadic in areas and the lines do not all connect. Exercise is naturally built into the French lifestyle.
We take natural movement for granted here. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to dinner instead of driving, challenge yourself to achieve a certain level of exercise without having to hit the gym. You can start small… a leisurely walk to get a coffee doesn’t seem too bad does it? Cut out the gym and enjoy a nice walking chat with a loved one. It will bring you closer to each other as we have way too many distractions in our lives. Walk around your city and take in all of the wonderful unique experiences it has to offer. Appreciate the sights and smells and soak up the vitamin D. Look forward to your walk and be rewarded with endorphins.
Art, wine, architecture, fashion there’s something special for everyone. When you take pride in something you value it so much more. Pride feeds passion and vice a versa. It’s magical to behold. ‘Stop and smell the roses’ is alive everywhere in Paris. Enjoy your wine in France….can you believe that, in restaurants, a glass of wine is cheaper than bottled water! Vive la France!
You will notice that the sidewalks are lined with small bar tables in Paris. People appreciate being outside, and being part of the moving scene. This is not surprising considering the size of their apartments. In Starbucks, you will be handed a real ceramic mug because you are expected to sit and enjoy your coffee experience. All around Paris you will see young and old people chatting over flowers, perusing the markets or playing a game of bocce ball. Taking the time to enjoy life. So many of us cram our days with to do lists. Which do you value more? Sitting alone with your computer or chatting with a friend at a local coffee shop? Appreciate the changing world around instead staring at your bedroom wall. Create a community of support for yourself and you will learn more about yourself.
French eat the freshest possible. Most meals are bought the same day they will be consumed. Local merchants and markets are visited daily. You get to know these merchants by name and are greeted like a cherished friend. In France you are expected to bag your own groceries with sacks you bring from home. Rarely do you see people in grocery stores with shopping carts as they will most likely have to carry it all by hand to their homes. This automatically limits your purchases. Fridge and freezer space is a hot commodity in homes. You will never see bag of frozen chicken tenders because that bag would fill your freezer. Strange concept right? Seems a lot healthier to skip said chicken nuggets. Try shopping daily instead of loading up the freezer with processed foods. A delicious roasted chicken would be so much tastier and healthy.
Lunch or a ‘Linner’ is the biggest meal of the day. You will find that most stores close for 2 hours during lunch time. Meal time is for relaxation and proper digestion not for shopping. In the evening, leftovers, cheese, fruit and soup are often consumed instead of a big meal. Here in the States, we can’t take a longer lunch break than work allows, but eating your main meal at noon is still a good option! You will have all day to digest and process all the calories, and you will sleep better at night will less food in your intestines.
Indulge! There is less temptation and less consumption of empty calories as most French people’s pantries are void of snacks. For that reason, French people truly indulge at restaurants. Paris is the holy land of cuisine. If you are consuming less on a daily basis you have way more wiggle room when it comes to splurging. A prix fixed menu usually includes wine and a dessert and the French never skip neither, especially when crème brûlée is on the menu. So skip the box of tasteless cookies and look forward to some chocolate mousse instead.
Pastries, croissants, baguettes. Bakeries are on every street corner and are thriving businesses in France. The French people still depend on the bakery for their daily bread. When you add more movement, you can eat more.
The French have it a bit easier with a mandatory month vacation every year. We might not have that luxury ….but we can all dream. The Eurorail system makes it a lot easier to get around to neighboring countries. We can’t mimic their travel, but, there is an important lesson to be had; take time to explore. Every one of us Americans live in a beautiful state with untold wonder. Take the chance to see something new. Google search ’strange hotels’ in your state to see if anything creepy or even elegant shows up. In Colorado we have the infamous Stanley Hotel. It was featured in the movie ‘The Shining’. Craft shows, festivals and fairs are also a great way to get out of your element.
I like to think of the French as collectors of experiences. Slightly jaded in a smoky café sipping a café au lait. That’s my 5 year plan. There’s a lot to learn from people that are thriving in a culture that’s slightly more difficult in comparison to an American lifestyle. I have seen endless amounts of women carrying bags of groceries and a stroller and then 10 flights of stairs to conquer. They have to go through that routine every time they go out, but somehow they make it work. Breathe the fresh air, taste your food, enjoy your friends, make time for actual living instead of simply completing motions.
How to Live It
If you’re ready to completely indoctrinate with yourself with all things French, start by watching the movie ‘Amelie’. It’s a lovely comedy about a woman who tries to manipulate the people’s lives around her for a better existence. The cinematography naturally lends itself to how the French view the world around them, and it’s captivating and unique.
Next, take the ‘reading’ step. Pick up ‘Stuff Parisians Like’ by Olivier Magny. It’s a hilarious take on the way Parisians see the world around them. With this book you are walked through every aspect of being a Parisian. Written by a native Parisian, it quickly became a bestseller. Helpful ways to not ‘stick out’ while vacationing in Paris are also addressed. Who knew that ordering café au lait at night was rude? This book had me laughing the whole way through. Definitely read it before your next vacation!
Ernest Hemingways’s A Moveable Feast. My Aunt had my cousin and I read it prior to our stay in Paris’ Mouffetard. This is where Mr. Hemingway spent all of his time in Paris, and wrote A Moveable Feast in homage to the culture. He describes flavors, and smells and the environment in such an incredibly dreamy way you feel transported to Paris. His descriptions of the cities and famous encounters with the likes of Ezra Pound will keep you dazzled. Passion surrounds him through his struggles and Paris guides him to the light, and once you’ve seen Paris you hold it with you always.
If you’re looking for a fun French classic to enjoy as a quick read, or to read to your kids at night, pick up ‘The Little Prince’. The ‘Author’ in this book crash lands in the desert and is greeted by a little boy. This little boy has been on many adventures to other planets meeting various flawed characters. The boy is looking to return home to his beloved rose, his one love and only possession. Recently released by Netflix as a movie it’s a gorgeous tale of love, friendship, dedication and determination.
I hope that you take these tips to heart! Opening your eyes and experiencing the world around you always will lead to creativity and innovation.
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What have you learned from experiencing a different culture? Did those experiences stick with you? How do you reinvigorate your creativity? I would love to know, I’m always excited to respond to comments.
If you’re ready to start living a different life, it’s within your reach! It’s a matter of perspective and appreciation. When you decide to start a blog let me know and I will promote you across all lines of social media. Let’s create a loving, creative community from day 1! Follow me on Pinterest here.
So much love xoxoxo Sam