Friday, July 25, 2014

Ways to Bring More French Chic Into Your Life

Séduit par Géraniums by Roxanne Steed.  Roxanne's blog has so many of her gorgeous paintings. Click here to see.

I often like to remind myself of my original excitement for the French Chic lifestyle and make little notes to bring my thoughts back to that.  These corrections from time to time keep me happy with my simple life and ensure I am on the track I want to be on.

It’s really going back to basics, but sometimes that’s fun to read about too, and as I said above, this reminds me of the early days of my enthusiasm about the world of French Chic.

Here are my ideas:

Eat as if in France – real, good food and perhaps look up the principles of the Mediterranean diet for ideas.

When I have a coffee or a cold drink, don’t eat at the same time (French girls don’t snack between meals).  When I first started this, it was hard.  I associated a morning cafe au lait with a muffin or something similar.  Now I don't even think about eating anything, the coffee is enough mid-morning.  I am now working on eliminating a snack at my after-work/pre-dinner drink time!

Enjoy yoghurt daily and a small piece of cheese every now and then.

Decorate like we live in a Parisian apartment – neat and tidy, streamlined and sparse, in a chic and stylish way of course.

Dress how I would imagine a French woman would – small, precise, quality wardrobe of limited colours which are best for me.  A recognisable style which others can see easily is ‘me’.

Keep hair regularly trimmed and coloured.  Wash hair every second day and do not be tempted to stretch it out to a third.

Keep makeup light and fresh.  Use the tiniest amount of foundation and spend time on my eye makeup.

Play French music at home, both old and new to keep that feeling of French charm and lightness within me.

How I act/my demeanour:  To put a spring in my step, imagine my name is Dominique and I live in Paris.  Pretend I am her as I go throughout my day.

Knit, crochet and sew – be creative.  I read on a long time ago that having a handcraft to do prevented mindless snacking as you couldn’t knit or do needlepoint if your hands were sticky from chocolate or greasy from potato chips.  I always like to have my hands busy when I’m watching tv or a movie so try to keep a project by the sofa.

Read, both the chic-lit I enjoy plus books which challenge me a little.  Also read more classics.  My mother alternates writing styles – something fun and then something a bit more meaty so she has a good balance.  In the past year or so I've read some thriller/crime mysteries and really enjoyed them.

Be light-hearted and channel Audrey Hepburn.  She didn’t take herself too seriously yet was a beautiful spirit.

Be slim and slender.  Yes, spend time on our menus and creating good food, but don’t make food a huge part of my life.  Once I have sorted that day’s and perhaps the next day’s food, I can forget about it.

Watch a favourite movie or tv programme set in France.  I have fond memories of the Peter Mayle tv mini-series A Year In Provence (based on the book) from the 90s and now have it on dvd.  John Thaw and Lindsay Duncan star, and it has such a lovely warm feeling about it.  Definitely comfort tv a la Francaise!


What would you add to this list?  What’s your favourite way to bring more French Chic into your life?


  1. Great post! my favorite way to experience French Chic is by enjoying simple pleasures. They make me happy. That and taking my time doing one thing at a time and not rushing.

  2. Walking and taking stairs! I imagine if I lived in Paris, I wouldn't be hopping in my car to walk two blocks to the library. That is precisely what I do now because I don't think about it. Where I live, cars are almost an extension of our legs and we forget that a lovely walk will feed our souls and strengthen our spirit (and legs!). And so my little village can become a mini Provence or Paris neighborhood where I take the time to walk to whatever I can.

  3. Lovely post, like yourself I am mentally french, I do most of the little things mentioned, including walking, cycling etc, I am an ex chef, so food is not a problem, but the svelte parisian shape is! Not because I overeat, I do not, I am really struggling at the moment, but
    still in my mind, I am twenty years younger, three stone lighter and live on Avenue General leclerc in Paris!

  4. Walking to the market carrying a basket for the fruit and vegetables that I purchase and wearing a scarf and a dab of perfume. Chatting with the venders is part of any French transaction so I try to make a point if conversation while we exchange goods for cash.
    Your thoughts are exquisite and chic....

  5. Lovely post Fiona. I would add always wear a good perfume, French preferably.

  6. Stephanie, Kristien, Anonymous, Hostess and Bea, thank you for your wonderful additions! I love them all.

  7. Good post Fiona. I'm struggling with maintaining my IFG Jacqui instead of being just plain old Jackie, so this list comes at a good time for me. Thank you :)

  8. Taking good care of my skin. Moisturizing and using sunscreen. I'm almost 60 and everyone tells me I have great skin.

  9. This is a wonderful post, I love it! I agree about Audrey--good idea to channel my 'inner Audrey', she was so lovely.
    I'm like you--I don't like to spend too much time thinking about food.

  10. Walking and buying fresh food daily are very French
    activities. They also help with the svelte body. I enjoy reading books about France and I meet a friend weekly for French conversation.

  11. Like your list Fiona, my own is not dissimilar. I would add lots of walking, using stairs when available, fresh vegetables and fruit as the default.

  12. I'm having a year of french living. I'm trying to slow down, walk more and put more effort into everyday things. I was lucky enough to be in France earlier this month, which has made me appreciate the lifestyle even more.

  13. Bonsoir Fion!

    Our lovely French au pair remarked how similar our family is to a French family as we generally have "Apero Dinatoie".I had never heard the term before (despite years of French study!) That is, extended pre dinner (or sometimes instead of dinner...) snacks - sort of like the Spanish tapas concept. Usually on a Friday evening. My children are NOT great dinner eaters, so I usually make a platter of vegies, panfried haloumi, homemade dip- hoummous or similar, some crackers and possibly something hot like some roasted cauliflower or little pieces of grilled meat. Kids think it is a party and I can graze. The children have a sparkling water and I have a glass of wine.

    Love the blog- lots of wonderful ideas!

  14. So many great ideas and reminders, thank you.

    Mim, even without children there are sometimes nights when we feel more like a snacky dinner as you describe. It is chic and healthy too! How fun having a French au pair and learning little tips like this one.

  15. I'm wondering if any other women who have peeled back the layers of stress, etc. have noticed how much sewing/repair/handiwork is really needed to keep a family's clothing, linens, etc. in good condition. It seems to me this could be another key to empowering ourselves. We've been sold the idea that this is degrading work. But, there is something very beautiful and caring in hand stitching hems, repairing tears, nipping in a waistband, etc. for my own clothing and also for my family. No one does this anymore. The men and children around me, especially, are in awe when I magically fix something they want to wear. I impress myself when I find a torn lace tablecloth for $2 and fix it to use. So odd, after years of believing (at least I did) that sewing was an outdated skill.

  16. What a great list! Thank you, especially, for the reminder that I don't need a sweet treat with every cup of tea or coffee.

    I, too, have been striving to be more chic in my daily life. I've been focusing on drinking plenty of water throughout the day and developing a consistent skin care regiment.

    My lunch today is French-inspired: a cup of soup, salad of steamed haricot vert and tomatoes with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and a tiny slice of brie with a perfect little apricot. Perfection!

  17. Oh my, I absolutely love that painting!

  18. Fiona this is brilliant! I am on vacation for a few weeks and finally found some fiction I can get into. I had forgotten how a well-written novel can de-stress one. I have been reading mostly non-fiction for years. And by the way, they are old high school favorites of mine and also recommendations from a friend. I will read this post over and over for inspiration. (and the wonderful comments)


Merci for your comment. Wishing you a chic day!

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