For as long as I could remember I've always been enamored with the French way of living, specifically Paris, and since visiting myself, the flame has only burned brighter. From the fashion to the lifestyle, there's so much to love about a Parisian lifestyle and there are so many ways you can pursue this life yourself- no matter where you live! I've been cultivating a Paris state of mind all the way in Iowa haha, so I know you can do it too. 😉
Based on my own personal experiences, research, books, and chats with Parisian authors, I've put together 30 ways you can pursue a Parisian lifestyle!
30 Ways to Pursue a Parisian Lifestyle
1. Learn to host
Gathering with friends and throwing contemporary, informal dinner parties is the Parisian way. Learning to host is a must for connecting with your friends! But don't worry, this doesn't mean you have to be "the hostess with the mostess" and pull out all the stops. Less is more when it comes to fashion and entertaining.
You can be thoughtful and have unique, stylish touches such as serving an appetizer (like cut-up veggies) or a fancy (yet super easy) chocolate mousse dessert in a cool clear glass.
When entertaining, the night is not over after you finish your meal. in fact, it's just the beginning, and then it's time for the after-dinner art! Sweets and well-selected drinks are brought out at this time. Wine is of course a given but embrace herbal teas as well. Even Parisian men like them! Offer your guests a selection, perhaps mint for digestion and chamomile to help promote sleep.
Just remember: stress less and enjoy your friends more.
This doesn't have to be a time to show off your gourmet (or not so gourmet) cooking skills. Do you want to be slaving over a stove all night? Non! Sometimes throwing a dinner party means ordering from the restaurant next door. Do you want to spend all night cleaning? Of course not. Don't fill the dishwasher up when guests are over. Your time is meant to be engaging, not cleaning, plus it can be rude to leave your guests alone for too long.
Related: Girl's Get Together Idea | Tea Party
2. Take pride in your chez moi (home).
Even though most Parisian apartments are small, they treat their home like it's a chateau, and we should too! Spend time developing your own style and mix and match to find something that's comfortable and uniquely you.
3. Keep in the habit of adding fresh flowers to your home
Parisians love the aesthetics and romance that fresh flowers bring to a place. It's an art meant to bring joy! When in doubt, go white (a Parisian's go-to).
4. Splurge on a scented candle
Parisians love their Diptyque candles and realize that smell is a very important factor in creating a lovely home.
Related: French Gift Ideas for the Home | How to Create a Parisian Inspired Home
5. Master the perfectly casual hair
Well-styled yet tousled is the goal. A healthy shine but not too much hairspray or product. Avoid overdoing it with too many hair accessories, and streaks as well, though subtle highlights are accepted and loved.
6. Take skincare seriously
You only have one face that you present to the world and Parisians will go to all the effort that is required to make sure it's as healthy as it can be, including buying quality skincare products and going to a spa. It's not about being vain. You can't feel good if you don't look good and vice versa!
7. Pick out a luxury fragrance
Parisians love luxury fragrances, with Guerlain and Chanel being some of the most iconic.
Check out more French beauty tips here: The French Girl Beauty Guide for Effortlessly Beautiful Skin
8. Perfect your je ne sai quois (I don't know what)
According to Parisian women, your feminity is your elegance + sex appeal. When combined with the personal secrets and things that you do to make up your look, you develop your je ne sai quois. Sound vague? It's supposed to. 😉 Some things are meant to be private and though a lot of Parisian women seem to dress the same, they all have something that makes you think, what is it about her? I just don't know what...
9. Buy lingerie for you
Because you deserve to feel good about yourself too. It's your little secret that makes you feel confident and put together.
I didn't touch on many fashion tips in this post because you can get allll the French fashion tips over here- The Ultimate Guide to French Fashion
10. Slow down
Take a break from your phone. For example, at cafes how often do you see Parisians glued to their phones or laptops? Not very often. Instead, you'll see them reading, enjoying their coffee, people watching, or just sitting. Or maybe they're catching up with a friend, eating a light lunch, smoking, or tilting their head to the sun. Whatever it is, they are slowing down, taking a break, and enjoying the moment they're in.
11. Develop your language
No, not how many foreign languages you can speak, but develop your speech and style of speaking. Aim to be charming, witty, and cultured. Learn the balance of speaking your mind without being tacky or vulgar.
12. Culture yourself
How do you know what to say and how do you know how to talk like a Parisian? You have to know what you're talking about. This is where you have to culture yourself! Stay involved in art, reading, and the news. Visit many museums. Don't miss out on shows. Having kids is no excuse either, as Parisians start exposing their children to art and music at a young age. Bring your children to museums with you! Culturing yourself isn't just so you have something to talk about at a dinner party (though it helps), it's about beautifying your insides first.
13. Fill your bookshelf with books you actually read
A well-rounded life starts at home. A bookshelf is not just for decor and show. Grow your library with books you actually like and/or want to read. Buying used is more than acceptable and some of the best books are found at flea markets.
14. Give up on perfection
Give up on perfection and don't try too hard. You can never be perfect and Parisians don't want to be either. From fashion to life, true beauty is found in the perfectly imperfect.
15. Embrace your age
Aging is inevitable, anyway, so you may as well enjoy it and the worse thing you can do for your age is to be stuck playing teenager, in both mind and body. A Parisian woman isn't discouraged when she ages and her body changes as she knows she still has a lot to offer mentally and intellectually. Wishing you were a different age is self-defeating and a disservice to who you are! A Parisian woman over 50 not only develops her own charms and dresses with class, but she's up to date on all the social and cultural events. She's well-spoken and wise and can have many deep conversations about many topics. Related: How to Dress Like a French Woman Over 50
16. Treat yourself to luxury
Luxury is an art and Parisian women are drawn to the creativity, quality, and beauty of such pieces. This doesn't always just mean just going out and buying a designer purse, however. Ask yourself, what little luxurious things could you get that would improve your daily life? Maybe it's a candle, sheets, dishes, or perfume. Related: How to Live a Luxurious Life on a Budget
17. Eat a croissant for breakfast
Because it's the Parisian way. 🙂
18. Actually enjoy your food
Food is meant to be enjoyed and shared, not calculated, and added into a fitness app later!
19. Get exercise the natural way
Less hitting the gym for hours and more walking. Consider taking up cycling too. It's good exercise and if you live in a big city then it's a great way to explore and view it differently!
20. Have a picnic
Because life is about slowing down and actually enjoying your food after all. Share this moment with your friends or family.
21. Don't feel guilty about eating chocolate
How can Parisians afford to splurge "physically" on indulgences such as chocolate? Because they pick really good ingredients. Don't feel guilty about eating chocolate...as long as it's dark chocolate with 70% cocoa or more.
22. No snacking
Usually, snacking is a no-no. Once in a while, you may need a pick me up or something to tide you over until dinner, but constant snacking throughout the day is generally frowned upon.
23. Enjoy food at the dinner table
There's a reason why you'll frequently see a large dining table in European homes...because they are used! Sit on a chair (not the couch), have your plate at the table (not your lap), and eat without any distractions (not on your phone).
24. Eat fresh
Shop fresh and locally. The locals at the farmer's market will become your best friends! Parisians will try to avoid the big box grocery stores so they can eat fresh, natural foods and avoid buying lots of processed foods. Along these lines, find your go-to butcher, cheese, and bread shops as well!
25. Learn balance and small portions
Ah, the "secret" to how French women can seemingly munch on croissants and cheese all day yet stay slim. Though that's not 100% true because just like everyone, they've had to learn balance and portion control. Every Parisian approaches this a little differently.
A croissant with jam for breakfast? Then it's vegetable soup for dinner. Was yesterday a "yes day" to croissants, macaroons, and lots of cheese? Then today is a "no day" and that means salads and veggies. It's about balance and not having too many treats but worse yet, not having them at all!
As you know, they believe food is meant to be enjoyed. This means buying the best quality. Not only does it help you enjoy it more, but non-processed foods are better on the waistline! Are you going to eat cheese? Then it has to be real, artisan cheese, preferably picked up from the market. None of this Kraft stuff! 😉
26. Don't eat heavy meals at dinner
Something to keep in mind is that Parisians tend to have their heaviest meal of the day at lunch. The idea is that you don't need a big meal at night as you don't need the energy at that time and also your body doesn't have a chance to digest it all! Though dinner may be a similar meal as lunch, it tends to not be as rich or hearty.
27. Develop your friendships
Life is not meant to be lived alone! Friends are there for authentic moments and for talking about everything under the sun, whether big or small. The Parisian woman may have separate friends in different circles and for different events, such as mom friends, coffee friends, culture friends, and going out friends, but deeper relationships are fewer and farther between and take time to develop and for trust to deepen. Like everything else, it is quality over quantity and these deeper friendships (best friends to us), may be few but may also last a lifetime.
28. Make it a habit of getting together with your girlfriends
Even if these are just "friends" and not "best friends", getting together is good for the soul. Make it a habit to get together whether it be dinner, coffee, wine, lunch, or afternoon tea. Eating and socializing go hand in hand with the Parisians!
29. Don't be shy to show your love publicly
Public kisses? Walking hand in hand along the Seine? Oui! Showing love publicly is the French way. 😉
30. Start your own aperitif time
It seems that most of Europe has some sort of aperitif time (in Italy we enjoyed aperitivo time) and basically, this is a sacred time of pre-meal drinks. It can be romantic or friendly. It's a great time to get a drink and see someone (friend or man) without having to commit to a long and late dinner.
There are so many ways to pursue a Parisian lifestyle! Which ones are you going to try in your own life? Which ones are you already doing?