Tuesday, May 17, 2011

True Pleasures

Originally posted on La Vie En Fifi, 25 November 2009

Below are two of my favourite quotes from True Pleasures: A Memoir of Women in Paris by Lucinda Holdforth. I read this book last year.

'The Paris of my imagination is a site of pleasure and history and beauty. It's a place to recharge myself as a woman. Each time I come back here it's like greeting an older woman friend, one who is rather grand and imperious - a great dame, in fact - who likes me to look my best, to have my wittiest conversation to hand and to be on my toes all the time.'

And another,

'The house is small and modest, a sign of her commitment to financial freedom and independence.'

The house we currently live in is rather small and modest, but rather than just exist in it and wait and wish for a bigger place, I am now embracing its size, decluttering and making the most of things (it's not that we need a bigger house, we just need less stuff).

We were very lucky in that it was thoroughly renovated immediately before we moved in, with everything whitewashed, brand new kitchen and brand new dark donkey-brown carpet. Every single light switch and light fitting was new, even hinges and handles on the doors (brushed silver). If we had to choose the decor, we would probably choose the one we ended up with.

I love the second quote as it reminds me we are being good stewards of our money by not wasting (whether rent or mortgage) our funds on a large abode. And if I find myself wishing for a bigger home, I remember the chic Parisiennes living stylish lives in their tiny apartments and all is well again.

Image from randomhouse.com.au


  1. This is such a great book. It gives just enough information about different women of history to nudge you into your own investigations. I wouldn't have started reading Nancy Mitford were it not for this book.

    SO much fun re-reading these oldies but goodies, Fiona!

  2. Wow a book that I have never heard of...
    I will seek this out and read it.

    I love that one needs less stuff not a bigger space in which to store it!

    Thank you again Fiona

  3. I think what bothers me the most about living in a bigger home (for just 2 people--over 2200 sq. ft) is the waste of space--especially the more I get rid of--and the waste of resources to heat, provide electric to, and maintain. Although we can "afford" our home, I think more in terms of our carbon footprint now. At least we bought something that has been around awhile and didn't build some new, huge monstrosity. But still...
    xxBliss (thanks for another book suggestion!)

  4. You won't believe this, but I'm on the computer at the library, and beside me waiting to go home with me is the book True Pleasures! Glad you've given it a good review!


  5. I have been feeling the urge to live in a smaller house lately. A little cottage somewhere in a bigger town that where we live now - surrounded only by the things we truly love.

    I will have to look for this book at the library. I have not heard of it before.

  6. Do you highlight while you read? I need to start doing this to remember great quotes that speak to me. I read with impatience sometimes and gloss over them, but these are gems!

    The one thing I can look back on without any regrets is never upgrading our tiny "starter home" to something bigger. It's all we need and it was probably one of the best decisions we've ever made.

  7. Stephanie, I don't highlight while I read. If I come across something I really like, I'll either write it in a notebook or on a notepad, type it straight into the computer if I'm near it, or my last option is to have post-it tabs stuck to my bookmark and I point them to the paragraph to note down later. The post-it tab is probably my favourite as it doesn't interrupt my reading flow.

  8. My benchmark for this house - about 1,200 SqFt - is to have it very like my Grandma & Grandpa's - about 1000 SqFt: clean, comfortable, with knick knacks but not very many, every item well used but also well cared for and with a place to put it away, nothing un-used or un-needed, but with every need just met. It was an amazingly serene and comforting house.

  9. How funny to come across this post today. My H2B and I were just this morning emailing eachother about wanted to get out of our apartment and into a bigger house with a garden... He had LOTS of garden whilst living in NZ and I grew up in the country.

    Then I remember that the further away we move, the less of the 'cafe and bar culture' lifestyle we could lead - which at the moment, keeps us sane! Our apartment is actually doing its 'job' just fine right now.

    Will search out this book and learn to be happy with what we have at the moment, until we truly outgrow it...

  10. Love the idea of being content with a smaller home. I think it makes marvelous sense. I hadn't thought before about Parisiennes 'living stylish lives in their tiny apartments', but it's true, isn't it? What a lovely sentiment to aspire to!



Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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