Bonjour ❤ Today we talk about France!
Everything about that country is fascinating to me: the language, the capital, the food, the lifestyle, the fashion… Everything. Only God (and Google) knows how many times I re-started my lessons in française on Pimsleur, one too many I’ll tell you that.
And although I wouldn’t necessarily move there, I think that there are some details to life that we could learn and implement from their culture:
P.S. Did you know that the word “culture” actually comes from French? Hm.
High fashion originated in Paris (in the early 20th century) and ’till this day one of the most important events in the world is Paris Fashion Week. French style is simple, classic and it looks effortless, you could even say minimalistic. It’s guided with “quality over quantity” motto, high quality materials in timeless shapes (and colors) with absence of logos. You will not see a French woman walking around with big gold poster on her chest that says: DIORRRR!!! Although that shirt actually might even be Dior. There is something called: Hidden luxury, subject that I cover more in my Everything We Can Learn From The life of Coco Chanel post, but you get the picture- less is more. Some of the key pieces that every French women has are: Trench coat (duhh), simple white t-shirt, jeans, black beret, classic blazer, loafers, white button up shirt, turtle neck top… And before we leave this topic, I would love to add that the fit is everything to them, even more important than the garment itself.
2. L’art de ne rien faire (The art of doing nothing)
Aaaaa… yes. The art of doing nothing. Just saying these words in my head makes me want to slow down, lay back in my chair and relax. A beautiful reminder to just stop and enjoy being alive, and not in the way: “I deserve this time for myself because I earned it” but more in: “Relaxing and doing nothing is my birth right and I don’t have to “deserve it” at all”-way, you know? This is not to say that France is the only nation that practice this art, Italians also have a similar expression: Dolce far niente (sweetness of doing nothing). That usually means to take time when doing pleasurable things like: drinking coffee for hours without sense of rush or sense of guilt in lack of productivity, or eating your meals as slow as you possibly can savoring all the flavors you have in your plate, ooor to start saying no to all those places you don’t feel like going anyway and just relax alone where ever you like to be. Aaaaa… yes, joy of being alive.
There is over 130 museums in Paris only and over 1200 in whole France, just the Louvre is 8 miles long (which puts it in the first place of the Largest Museum In The World list). So I think we can agree that the art have a huge roll in France. Also, I must explain, when I say “Art” I see it more as an umbrella term for all related concepts to visual art such as: literature, preforming arts, eloquence, sophistication, etiquette… I simply admire the way they effortlessly cultivate their lives through visiting museums, art galleries, theatres, supporting contemporary artists and showing general interest in living their lives as an art. And when you think about it- it’s not that hard, maybe: replacing the ususal binge-watching Netflix for theater or a good book, exploring world of poetry, taking your friends to see the art gallery or exhibition next time when you have a lunch, putting an effort to speak little more eloquently, putting up a gallery wall in your home…
Another French word Cuisine. The French cuisine is so much more than croissants and baguettes as we usually think. It’s the way of seeing food, setting up the table, time spent preparing, time spent eating, quality of ingredients, quality of company and of course thousands of recipes available under French cooking section. As Mirelle Guiliano would say in her fabulous book French Women Don’t Get Fat: “We can’t imagine anything more boring than to live with someone who doesn’t care about food or eating or sharing meals.”- that sums it. Ways to start implementing their way would be to start looking on the eating as a ritual above everything else and that every meal is a good reason to setup the table nicely and feel good about it, to invite the company to join you or enjoy it yourself as if you are royalty (candle and all). Another idea would be to look for the good flavors, guys wars had been lead for spices throughout history, and now when we finally have it in abundance without effort- to eat flavorless food is simply sacrilege for French people. No need for compromise, it can can be everything a person need healthy/pretty/filling/gluten-free/… and still taste like something worth of eating.
For centuries France has been European mecca of perfume design (and trade). The first synthetic, or modern, perfume was Chanel no5 which until this day stays the most sold perfume in history. Such a legacy… So French women wear their perfumes with pride and take their smell very seriously. At the same time they don’t believe in smelling strong- they want their natural body essence to still be there, who they are mixed with glamour and style. That’s why they put only on the key places strategically: on the inside wrists- the reason used to be when a man kiss them on the hand he can smell it, but since we don’t do that anymore I like to think when making hand gestures- a person in front of them can catch a glimpse of perfume; behind ears- French people greet by kissing two times on the cheeks; hair- so people walking behind smell; behind the knees- when passing by the people in the restaurants and coffee shops. Now if this is not a well thought strategy I don’t know what is.
6. And one bonus recipe!
To start of your “French transformation” right away, I brought you one classic, easy and simple french treat you can make right away: French Chocolate Truffles! The beauty of this is you can make it healthy or happy (or healthy and happy!).
- 2/3 cup or 160ml heavy cream
- 12 ounces or 340g chocolate (bittersweet, chopped into very small pieces)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup or 40g cocoa powder (premium dark)
Mix the vanilla extract and chopped chocolate with (hot) heavy cream until everything is nice and smooth, than leave it in the fridge (not freezer) until it’s hard enough to roll it into balls. Than do just that and roll it into cocoa powder. Chill it again before serving and voila! Now pour yourself a coffee and enjoy. Bon appetit ❤
See you soon