All four years of high school I took French and I’ve never regretted the decision. Not only did I make some of the best friends of my life, but I was invited into a culture so unlike my own. From my time in the classroom – to my trip to France in 2012 – I have learned so much about the Parisienne lifestyle and have found some tips that I’ve applied to my own life.
Today I’ll be sharing the seven lifestyle tidbits from the French that I think truly add to my life.
My 7 Favourite Parisienne Life Hacks
1. Shopping for food on the day of
The French do not do big haul Saturday grocery shops like my family does. They purchase food either on the day of, or only for a few days. This entails fresher ingredients, and a more mindful thought toward what to buy to create the food you want. I started doing this last summer when I didn’t have a car. Only being able to purchase a few items at a time meant I was more mindful about what I was purchasing, and I could say, “Am I going to eat this in the next two days?” If the answer was no, I didn’t. I still apply this in my life now, and have enjoyed strolling through Trader Joe’s not laden down with a heavy shopping cart, but rather a light basket.
2. Not watching television while eating
My adolescence was filled with sitting in front of the TV and munching on whatever we had for dinner. And because I was enthralled with my show, I forgot how much I was eating. By focusing on the meal itself, with no television or reading, the French are able to moderate what they are eating, and grow interpersonal relationships during the meal. Even though I live alone, I still feel better about eating my breakfast and dinner and thinking about life and goals. A better use of my time, if you ask me.
3. Purchasing clothing that will last more than the season
With stores like Forever 21 that focus on trends, rather than classic clothing, it’s easy to fill a closet with cheap trendy clothing that in a year you won’t wear. As I’ve been building my professional and adult wardrobe, I have been avoiding purchasing clothing that feels trendy or one-season. Instead, I go for shapes that flatter me and styles that I know I will wear for a long time. Recent purchases have included: Classic denim jeans, leopard-print loafers, grey crew-cut cardigan, and a sweetheart neck top in a colour flattering to my skin tone.
4. Giving gifts for more than birthdays
I use to only give gifts to friends/family when it was their birthday or another holiday. But one thing I love about the French is that they are all about giving small gifts when visiting friends. I’ve tried to do the same, with a small bouquet of fresh flowers or a sweet treat, when seeing friends for the first time in a while, or when I’m visiting their home. It feels nice to see their faces light up with the small gesture of kindness.
5. Going for classic and timeless rather than trendy
This can be applied to all aspects of life. From purchasing clothing and beauty products, to furnishing a home. One of my favourite books is Parisian Chic, which covers many aspects of the French style. Most of the author’s insights to looking and behaving like the French woman focus on classic cuts and avoiding trends, except for in tiny amounts. It means you style can evolve in seasons of life, instead of seasons of your bank account.
French people walk a lot. We walked several thousand steps a day when I was in Paris, and that wasn’t even for touring. The culture of walking to places instead of transportation is so quaint to me, and I love it. I look forward to when the weather becomes sunny again so that I can walk to work, and enjoy evening walks in the park near my home. Walking brings a sense of stability to life, something everyone should have.
7. Making my home inviting
I’ve noticed this in every French book, film, and location I visited in France. It’s meant to feel inviting, like you aren’t intruding into the space. The true French home feels like you can pull up your feet and sink into a book wherever you are. I’ve incorporated this into my own home, using light, airy colours and lots of comfortable fabrics. Lots of trinkets too. When people walk in, I want them to feel as if they are at home.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ve seen some inspiration for your own life. I love the French – especially the countryside – and I’m very fortunate to have been able to learn their customs firsthand. Have a lovely Wednesday!
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Stay classy, Internet,
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