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January 11, 2019

How you can adopt the French lifestyle.

There are four basics that the French focus on that make the lifestyle enviable—things anyone can do.

Before, I go into details, I want to be clear: creating the French lifestyle is relatively easy, but accomplishing it when you are not living in France is harder than you would think—it takes intention. I’m French, living in the United States and there are times when I get sucked into the speed of the American life. I get so busy that I don’t take time to enjoy the day. When I’m rushing, I’ll grab lunch on the run. I assuage my hunger, but this is neither a meal nor as enjoyable as sitting down and savoring the food. What makes it so hard to adopt a different culture is that you are going against what everyone else is doing. You are trying to forge your own path. But if you can do it, you’ll see that how it makes you feel is well worth the effort.

Step 1. Meals are not tasks that have to be done. Quite the contrary. Eating good food and preparing meals that we enjoy is an essential part of our day. Taking the time to sit and enjoy the meal is equally important. Unlike Americans, the French do not eat on the run or between meals; it is just not part of the lifestyle.

When I was living in France, our meals always had four courses. We’d often start with a soup, then move on to the main course that was either a meat or fish dish with vegetables, plus a starchy vegetable, followed by a green salad with a selection of cheeses. Dessert, something sweet, always ends the meal. Only after dessert is finished did we serve coffee or teasane (herbal tea). Comprising small amounts of many types of flavors, meals are not only appealing but healthy. Part of every meal in France includes bread, wine, and water—the ritual just doesn’t happen without them.

Step 2. The French know how to linger. No one gets up right after a meal; instead they continue the conversation at a leisurely pace. Eating is never rushed. During the day if we want to sit and have a cup of coffee, there are plenty of café’s to go to. We are welcome to sit and take our time; no one is going to hurry us. Enjoying the moment is part of the French lifestyle. Rushing is not in our nature.

Step 3. The French do not dress to please other people or to fit in. We dress to please ourselves. Our goal is to like the way we look. That means that what we choose to wear is intended to make us feel good. We are not looking for approval from other people, but are thrilled to get the compliments when they come. We are happy being uniquely ourselves. The secret to this distinctive style is that we buy quality basics that fit perfectly and then transform them with accessories. Accessories are key to the unique style.

Step 4 There is no denying that the French have attitude; we like who we are and the life we lead. We don’t understand self-doubt; it just isn’t part of our make-up. When I was growing up, my mother would always ask me why American women were so focused on their lack of self-esteem. It was something that was totally foreign to her; she always knew who she was and never doubted it.

French lives are not perfect, but our lifestyle is something we are not willing to give up. Who can blame us? It’s the one thing people who spend time in France envy.

If you like the French lifestyle, then it is worth making the effort to try to include some of the beliefs and habits into your days.

My suggestion is to do it slowly. Choose one of the four steps and start incorporating it into your daily life. Once you are comfortable with the change, add another one. Small changes are easier to adjust to than big ones.

Living in the present and enjoying what each day has to offer is a wonderful way to live, worth the effort it takes, and it is the first step into the French lifestyle

If you’d like a shortcut, here are two that I know will work:

  1. Move to France; you’ll automatically be living their lifestyle.
  2. Wear red lipstick. That burst of color is so French. It will make you stand out and get noticed. That is something every French woman loves. You’ll feel French in no time at all.

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