I can’t help it, I’m an admitted Francophile. How about yourself? I’m already getting excited about returning next year for another week in Paris and am making my list of things to enjoy, see and do. (Updated 7/2019: visit my most recent trip to Paris in this post.)
Like many of you, even when I’m going about my day here in the states, I try to incorporate ideas that I appreciate and reveled in after reading the many French inspired lifestyle, style and cooking books (a list is at the end of the post). So today, based on my time in France and all that I’ve read, I’d like to share with you a list of 51 ways you too can indulge your inner Francophile no matter where you live, what your budget or whether or not you’ve stepped on the terre firma of France.
1. Build a capsule wardrobe for each season (fall & spring).
2. Buy few clothes, but higher quality items
3. Enjoy a croissant with homemade jam on the weekends
4. Cook with the fresh seasonal produce (canned in the winter)
5. Create a signature style that flatters your figure and lifestyle and stick too it.
6. Ignore fashion trends
7. Luxurious lingerie is a necessity – invest in it without guilt.
8. Maintain an air of mystery.
9. Expand your cultural creative awareness. Stay abreast of the arts – new museum exhibits, films, books, lectures, recitals, plays, etc.
10. Create a diet regimen that incorporates quality, flavorful food, but eat in moderation.
11. Choose rose in the afternoon when dining.
12. Buy from local vendors, markets, boutiques.
13. Establish daily/weekly/monthly rituals that bring pleasure into your life.
14. Walk more, drive less.
15. A physical workout shouldn’t be tortuous. Incorporate physical fitness into your daily routine – walk more frequently.
16. Delay gratification. Faster isn’t always better.
17. Only eat food that tastes good. If it doesn’t, stop eating. Don’t feel obligated to continue.
18. Real food, not processed food.
19. Find time to treasure hunt – visit your local flea markets, consignment boutiques and yard sales.
20. Wear more scarves.
21. Purchase quality ballet flats for every occasion.
22. Embrace your femininity.
23. Invest in quality skincare products.
24. Wear less make-up and show off your glowing skin.
25. Regular facials.
26. Wear more dresses. They are comfortable and they still look quite chic.
27. Take time for lunch – long lunch, full meal, glass of wine perhaps – and enjoy yourself.
28. Be sincere. Eliminate the fake niceties.
29. Be well-mannered.
30. Indulge in classic wardrobe choices that are interchangeable. If an item doesn’t pair with at least two other items in your closet (creating two separate outfits), don’t purchase it.
31. Enjoy quality cheese
32. Discover your signature scent.
33. Always look presentable. All the more reason to create a quality (i.e. less items, but more that last and work with many other items) wardrobe and a simple beauty regimen. Knowing you look beautiful will positively affect your mood which always makes for a better day no matter what is in store.
34. Cook your own meals more often, but don’t hesitate to purchase pastries, desserts and breads from your favorite patisserie or boulangerie.
35. Find a hair stylist/colorist you trust, visit regularly (6-8 weeks). Maintain a simple style.
36. Don’t wash your hair every day. Use dry shampoo and invest in a quality blow-out from time to time.
37. Purchase a baguette fresh in the morning. Enjoy the walk to the patisserie as you greet the day.
38. Enjoy smaller proportions. Eat slower, savor what you’re eating and breathe. What does it taste like? Do you enjoy it? If not, stop eating.
39. Drink wine. Rich in antioxidants, simply enjoy it in moderation.
40. Enjoy the finer things – luxurious things – in life. Buy less, so you can purchase quality items and experiences.
41. Indulge in cafe time. Go by yourself, bring a more recent newspaper, a book or the new issue of your favorite magazine, while sipping a cappuccino or tea and lose track of time.
42. Begin every evening with an aperitif. Nothing overly large, strong or excessive, simply a light chance to relax and settle in.
43. Eat in courses. By organizing your meal into courses, you allow yourself to savor what you have in front of you, slow down your eating and encourage your “hunger-meter” to properly communicate so you know when you are actually full.
44. Bring in the blazers! Choose classic colors to begin with and discover more outfits with the clothes you already have.
45. Love the Breton (nautical) top.
46. Black and navy . . . yes you can (thank you Yves Saint Laurent!)
47. Knee high boots (preferably flats or wedges, but heels are okay as well) for winter and maintaining chic, effortless style.
48. Enjoy a simple, yet filling meal – a small course, a salad and a bit of cheese (oh, and wine too, if you’re so inclined.).
49. Greet your local merchants, clerks and tellers. Become acquainted with them.
50. Keep less food in your refrigerator and shop more often for fresh food.
51. Remain informed, educated, curious and think for yourself.
Now, please do share any additional French-inspired behavior that you love to indulge in. I know I would love to hear from you, and I have a feeling other readers would as well.
For more French-Inspired posts to peruse, take a look below, or search TSLL’s French-Inspired posts and podcast episodes archives here and here.
36 Ways to Welcome Joie de Vivre into Your Everyday Life, episode #253
TSLL’s French Cafe Jazz Playlist (no lyrics)
40 thoughts on “51 Ways to Indulge Your Inner Francophile”
Thank you for this wonderful post! There are some points I am already trying to stick to… it is such a really great and helpful list that I will print it out. 🙂
I ‘discovered’ my inner francophile years ago but, unfortunately, have been a ‘fashionista’ for a long time… ‘confused’ buy so-called trends etc.
This behaviour has changed, thanks to ‘The Vivienne Files’, ‘Miss Minimalist’ and a few more.
I have stopped buying fashion magazines, I learned that trends are something to ignore, it’s so true and so relaxing. 🙂
I am German, living in Cologne, not sooo far away from Paris. 😉
While going through your list, I imagined me in Paris,doing all this things, beautiful, thank you for helping me dream!
I live in Italy, but Paris is Paris, and all of the above is so french. The only part I can relate to in Italy is food and wine. I would add: buy fresh flowers. I don’t know why, but when I hear France, I think of flowers, of all the pictures of girls walking graciously through the streets of la Ville-Lumiere.
(after seeing this in Birgit’s reply above, I am printing it out too!)
Thank you for all your posts! I am dreaming about going to Paris, hopefully next year. I would add some good french music to the list.
A must addition! Thank you for sharing. You will absolutely love Paris and anywhere you explore in France. Come with a bit of knowledge of the language, a lot of curiosity and a classic wardrobe and you’ll be set. 🙂
Great addition. This is a great link to classic Parisian music. Enjoy! http://www.jazzradio.com/pariscafe
Thank you for sharing this link. I’m listening to it as I type. Love it! Thank you so much. xo
I adore this! I can’t wait until I can visit France for myself and see all the culture and beauty and history! Thank you for taking me far far away on a gloomy Wednesday morning at work.
Je vous en prie! 🙂
Hello, I enjoy your blog. To your list of French Style books I’d add A Year of Style by Frederic Fekkai. I dip into it at least once or twice a year.
I will add it to my wishlist! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
My grandma taught me all the above things and at that time the above mentioned book was not published;)
What a fabulous post/list Shannon. With the change of seasons this year I am more and more inclined to follow many of these suggestions. I cannot wait for Jennifer’s book to come out in a few weeks!
I think I have or have read nearly every title on your list. Inspiring, aren’t they, and so useful for transporting us out of the everyday Wal-mart-iness of our culture. I’d also recommend “How To Be Impossibly French” by Helena Frith Powell, which is Entre Nous with more attitude, and of course “Elegance” by Genevieve Antoine Dariaux. I was lucky enough to find a copy of the original 1960s imprint and it’s been invaluable for developing those chic capsule wardrobes. Can’t wait for the giveaway of Jennifer’s book next week!
I just stumbled across your blog, and I’m so glad I did! I LOVED this post! Last December I had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Paris, and even in that small amount of time, I noticed all 51 one things on your list. Very cool! 🙂
I love that these are health related. I despise dieting as a nutrition professional. Everyone should savor their food.
Wow!! Whilst it is certainly true that Shannon has correctly identified our ‘Parisian’ philosophy and lifestyle attitudes, I have learnt a very important lesson since of been part of this wonderful SLL community: we (sometimes rather arrogant) Frenchwomen do NOT have the onus on style. Indeed, I love logging on each day and reading the wealth of wisdom not only from Shannon, but from so many of you ‘across the pond’!
I think the bottom line is that this is a community of women who share a common aspiration: to live life with a degree of grace and elegance, to embrace our femininity, and to be challenged in our inner thinking and self-image. This Frenchwoman has learnt so much from all of you: Shannon herself, but also from all of your insightful responses. So I just want to say a heartfelt ‘MERCI’ to you all, and long may we continue to inspire one another! Bisous from a wintry Paris, x0x
Sorry ladies! Re my post above. Typo, I’m afraid!! I MEANT to write ‘since I’ve been been part of this wonderful SLL community…’. 🙂
I absolutely ADORE this post!! I too love everything French, and although I have yet to visit Paris, I did have the chance to visit Nice, Grasse and Monaco a few years back and dream of returning very soon! One of the things that really caught my attention was that at lunch time, you would see people enjoying their lunch on the beach, breathing in the air and enjoying the sunshine. Also, I never saw people sipping coffee on the go (such a common thing in North America). In fact, the airport didn’t even have paper cups, you had to sit and enjoy the coffee at the counter. One of the things I would add to this list is listening to the soundtrack of one of my favorite movies, Amelie. It is absolute perfection on a rainy day! I also love the music of Carla Bruni.
Thanks for sharing all of this Shannon, it absolutely made my morning 🙂
It’s been a long time since I was so excited by a post that it drove me to comment on it. This is a wonderful summary of what the French culture promotes, but the American culture does not. That is not to say that one is better than the other, but really it’s more so to say that one suits some people better than another. I believe there is a lot that we can gain from many different cultures. The french have a very playful yet natural approach to life. Sometimes American life can be so sterile and manufacture.
28. Be sincere. Eliminate the fake niceties.
29. Be well-mannered.
There is an unique balance that must occur between 28 and 29. I witnessed a friend today have a difficult but much needed conversation with someone who told everyone else that she did not like him, but then continued to speak to him as if everything was okay. He spoke to her very directly about it in an even tone and they ended up smoothing things out. She admitted that she has a habit of “running her mouth”, and said that she would not do it again. They agreed to start over fresh. But she got very upset–almost to the point of crying.
People must realize that honesty and genuineness is a very important part about how you deal with people. Normally, people learn these lessons in middle school or high school (at least we hope). For those who never learn the lesson, it ends up causing major problems down the line in professional and personal relationships when greater things are at stake.
That’s a mouth full, I know.
I also appreciate how this post refers back to the popular posts about rituals. I’m really lacking special rituals in my life, and when it gets to be the cold time of the year I’m really yearning for some spa time and some extra indulgent skincare.
Post well done!
This was a marvelous post. I frequently read your blog, though I do not comment often. It is a nice way to start the day with my favorite coffee. Love the comments as well.
Another favorite book in my collection on French lifestyle is “Joie de Vivre: Simple French Style for Everyday Living” by Robert Arbor. The combination of lifestyle hints and marvelous recipes is a thing I go back to on many an occasion.
As others have noted, your blog is wonderful. Something new to read every day!
Patty, I am finally reading this book and absolutely loving it! It is a gem. Merci, merci, merci!!
A wonderful post! As a confirmed Francophile this list is something I plan to print out for future reference. Sometimes it’s easy to become lazy. A post like this reminds me of the way I want to live.
Thank you! This is brilliant! And so apropos and timely for me, as I very recently decided to amp up my life in areas that really matter to me. I have often said that Paris is my new home town; I just haven’t lived there yet. Beginning in the Spring of 2013, and beginning with Paris, I will gift myself a yearly one-month sabbatical to go alone to one of the many places in which I have yearned to live for awhile – I can’t wait! So much good info here –
In the 70’s I lived in a small (then) town in New Jersey… small town and rich in cultured, sophisticated people. I was lucky enough to be friens with a very nice neighbor from Paris. She taught me the Mental Health Day principle. How so?, you may ask… well… once in a while, the mind, which leads the body, needs a day off. So when I have had a particularly stressful day at work, or I feel overwhelmed, I take the day off. It is so healthy to disconnect… The French are passionate about life, and they live it to its fullest with every sense… Today I am practicing the principle. The office shall be there tomorrow, and my nemesis will be gone. But for today.. I might s well be in Marseille as I look out to the bay over my studio window…
I also love Bonjour Happiness by Jamie Cat Callan that you recommended a few months ago. Great list (as always), thank you!
I love this post and it’s very clear that I consider you my french mentor. I would like to add that I take my vacations seriously and I do not think about work nor worry about it too. I hear the french love their vacations and take up to a month and leave the city….sounds heavenly 🙂
My go to book along with yur blog is “Entre Nous”
Thank-you for this post today, it’s my all time fave 🙂
oops…meant to type “your”
I love it!!!
Since so many of you appear to be in love with all things French, here are two Parisian newsletters you can receive in your Inbox every few days. Obviously, I read them in French, but I have noticed you can switch the default language at the top of each of these little online magazines to English. You just visit their respective websites (below) to sign up, and you will get two delightful little ezines crammed with Parisian happennings like concerts and one-off art exhibitions, but also some great addresses for Sunday brunch, and a wealth of fashion, beauty, cookery, home-styling articles: you name it! They are: http://www.doitinparis.com and http://www.mylittleparis.com . Both are well worth signing up for: you’ll know as much (perhaps more!!) about what is ‘in’ in our hometown than most of us do! Enjoy! 🙂
This is wonderful! I would add “Paris In Love” by Eloisa James to the reading list.
I love you blog. It is an inspiration.
I’m a follower because your work is totally worth it.
Love this post! I just got home from five days in Paris. It remains my favorite city and I’m already dreaming of the next trip. The styling tips are great. I think it’s a lot about keeping it simple and stylish.
Ah! Our unending search for the essence of French style – love it! Another music suggestion is The soundtrack from Diane Keaton’s movie Something’s Got to Give, which has some wonderful selections sung en Francaise – so romantic!
Love the movie and have nearly wore out my soundtrack. I love that soundtrack. Couldn’t agree with you more. 🙂
HI Shannon I love the blog and get your mail weekly. I always find it interesting in so many ways. It really brightens up my week. I especially love this post on being a Francophile.
I just found your wonderful blog. I’m 63,a real estate broker, grandmother of 5,married to the same man for 40+years, and have to say this is a wonderful time in my life. I fell in love with Paris and can’t wait to go back. Your post is so relevant for women of any age. Make time for yourself,treasure the small luxuries you can give yourself now. Enjoy today.Keep your friendships with other women.Be kind.Be gracious. And thank you for the suggestions of soundtracks and books.