Books: How to be Parisian Wherever You Are 

How to be Parisian Wherever you Are

My friend Brittany gave me How to be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love Style, and Bad Habits by Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas for my birthday a couple of years ago.  When I finally got around to reading it, I absolutely loved it and wished I read it sooner!  Forget the fact that I’m obsessed with Paris and all things European, this book spoke to me on another level; on motherhood.  I found it to be full of great advice on being a mom, on being a woman, and most importantly on being an individual.  This book isn’t only for mothers by any means, there are plenty of antidotes and good advice for the single ladies, too.  This good advice can and should be passed along to our kids, especially our daughters.  Starting with:

How to Be Selfish and Still be a Mom

“Go to the theatre, to museums, and to concerts as often as possible: it gives you a healthy glow.”

As the book points out, Parisian women are selfish.  They are loving mothers, but they didn’t give up their sense of self when they had a child.  They embrace motherhood while also going to parties, regularly going to dinner with friends, drinking too much, and sometimes even bringing the kids along without judgement from the other moms.  Because what better way to show your children how to have fun than to have them grow up seeing you having fun?  This is also known as joie de vivre; enjoyment of life.

That’s not to say mom’s a party animal.  It’s all about balance.  The kids will still need help with their homework, rides to soccer practice, and playtime at the park.  She will give them this.  But she will also meet her own needs and not feel guilty about it.

How to Age Gracefully

“As your face gets messier with age, your hair can get neater, for balance.”

The authors state Parisian women aren’t big on coloring their hair, and if they do {to cover the gray}, they keep it their natural color.  I have personally tried this for years, but at this point, I can’t even find my natural color.  And the gray has taken over, so the upkeep would be insane.  There’s a reason why so many American women choose to be blonde.

They have sage advice when it comes to plastic surgery, and I couldn’t agree more.  Especially as the mother of a daughter, I feel it’s extremely important for us to be aware of the messages we send to our girls.  Until recently, plastic surgery in Paris wasn’t popular because they chose to focus on acceptance.  Now, more women are getting work done, but they focus on one problem; the part of their body that bothers them the most.  They fix it, and that’s the end of it.

They also put it off as long as possible.  It’s rare to find a 35-year-old woman in Paris who has had plastic surgery.  And a measure of the success of your procedure is that it’s undetectable.  In other words, there’s no shouting from the roof tops about your new boobs.  This line, “you can’t fix your insecurities through forgery,” was one of my favorites.  Parisian women retain their little imperfections and view them as a sign of character and strength.

Owning Your Bad Habits

“She says hello to everyone but wants to talk to no one.”

The book points out that not unlike American mothers, Parisian mothers are not above bribing their children with candy so they can talk on the phone for a little while longer.  However, the Parisian woman will admit her bad habits, reluctantly.  Posting drunk photos on social media is not something to be proud of, we’ve all been there.  But, Parisian woman view these moments as important because they are a reminder not to take herself too seriously.  This is also known as, if you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laugh at?

Your Look

 “Enjoy the face you have today.  It’s the one you’ll wish you have in ten years from now.”

The book points out that the Parisian woman definitely prescribes to the theory that less is more.  Some advice – If you wear a miniskirt, wear a demure top, low heels and minimal make-up.  They point out that Americans wear miniskirts to attract attention, while Parisian women wear miniskirts as a symbol of freedom.  They invented the mini skirt and are very proud of it.

Parisian woman are relentless when it comes to skincare.  They care more about taking care of their skin than wearing a full face of makeup.  They always wash their face before going to bed, and they moisturize religiously from their head to their toes.

My favorite advice on what to wear – wear lots of black.

On Love

“In general, love stories end badly.”

According to the book, Parisian woman are in love with the idea of love and they will spend their entire lives in search of it.  Mother’s teach their daughters to always be ready for love.  For all she knows, he may literally be around the corner.  They understand you have to work at love.  And they know that if the right guy is in fact the right guy, he will do whatever it takes to prove himself to you.

On Feminism

“Being a feminist and appreciating gallantry are not necessarily incompatible – on the contrary.”

The authors state that being a feminist, you can still enjoy and have an appreciation for gallantry.  Just because you’re a feminist doesn’t mean you don’t like to have a door opened for you.  In fact, they state that when you encourage a man to be chivalrous, he becomes more of a man and you become more of a woman.  That’s not to say you can’t hold the door open for him every once in a while, either.  Equality.

La Fin

The book is full of beautiful imagery and even more beautiful advice.  The main point I took from it was that while I’m a mother, it is a part of my identity, it is not my entire identity.  I think that’s something I have forgotten over the last nine years and maybe you have, too.


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