50 ways to live like a free-spirited French woman

by Shannon Ables
Eastern Oregon writer
The Simply Luxurious Life

I can’t help it, I’m an admitted Francophile. How about yourself? I’m already getting excited about returning next year for another week in Paris and am making my list of things to enjoy, see and do. Like many of you, even when I’m going about my day here in the states, I try to incorporate ideas that I appreciate and reveled in after reading the many French inspired lifestyle, style and cooking books (a list is at the end of the post). So today, based on my time in France and all that I’ve read, I’d like to share with you a list of 51 ways you too can indulge your inner Francophile no matter where you live, what your budget or whether or not you’ve stepped on the terre firma of France.

And as a bit of a heads up, be sure to stop by to enter the giveaway here on The Simply Luxurious Life where a lucky winner will win their very own copy of Jennifer L. Scott’s much anticipated book Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living In Paris (release date – Tuesday, November 6th).

1. Build a capsule wardrobe for each season (fall & spring).

2. Buy few clothes, but higher quality items

3. Enjoy a croissant with homemade jam on the weekends

4. Cook with the fresh seasonal produce (canned in the winter)

5. Create a signature style that flatters your figure and lifestyle and stick too it.

6. Ignore fashion trends

7. Luxurious lingerie is a necessity – invest in it without guilt.

8. Maintain an air of mystery.

9. Expand your cultural creative awareness. Stay abreast of the arts – new museum exhibits, films, books, lectures, recitals, plays, etc.

10. Create a diet regimen that incorporates quality, flavorful food, but eat in moderation.

11. Choose rose in the afternoon when dining.

12. Buy from local vendors, markets, boutiques.

13. Establish daily/weekly/monthly rituals that bring pleasure into your life.

14. Walk more, drive less.

15. A physical workout shouldn’t be tortuous. Incorporate physical fitness into your daily routine – walk more frequently.

16. Delay gratification. Faster isn’t always better.

17. Only eat food that tastes good. If it doesn’t, stop eating. Don’t feel obligated to continue.

18. Real food, not processed food.

19. Find time to treasure hunt – visit your local flea markets, consignment boutiques and yard sales.

20. Wear more scarves.

21. Purchase quality ballet flats for every occasion.

22. Embrace your femininity.

23. Invest in quality skincare products.

24. Wear less make-up and show off your glowing skin.

25. Regular facials.

26. Wear more dresses. They are comfortable and they still look quite chic.

27. Take time for lunch – long lunch, full meal, glass of wine perhaps – and enjoy yourself.

28. Be sincere. Eliminate the fake niceties.

29. Be well-mannered.

30. Indulge in classic wardrobe choices that are interchangeable. If an item doesn’t pair with at least two other items in your closet (creating two separate outfits), don’t purchase it.

31. Enjoy quality cheese

32. Discover your signature scent.

33. Always look presentable. All the more reason to create a quality (i.e. less items, but more that last and work with many other items) wardrobe and a simple beauty regimen. Knowing you look beautiful will positively affect your mood which always makes for a better day no matter what is in store.

34. Cook your own meals more often, but don’t hesitate to purchase pastries, desserts and breads from your favorite patisserie or boulangerie.

35. Find a hair stylist/colorist you trust, visit regularly (6-8 weeks). Maintain a simple style.

36. Don’t wash your hair every day. Use dry shampoo and invest in a quality blow-out from time to time.

37. Purchase a baguette fresh in the morning. Enjoy the walk to the patisserie as you greet the day.

38. Enjoy smaller proportions. Eat slower, savor what you’re eating and breathe. What does it taste like? Do you enjoy it? If not, stop eating.

39. Drink wine. Rich in antioxidants, simply enjoy it in moderation.

40. Enjoy the finer things – luxurious things – in life. Buy less, so you can purchase quality items and experiences.

41. Indulge in cafe time. Go by yourself, bring a more recent newspaper, a book or the new issue of your favorite magazine, while sipping a cappuccino or tea and lose track of time.

42. Begin every evening with an aperitif. Nothing overly large, strong or excessive, simply a light chance to relax and settle in.

43. Eat in courses. By organizing your meal into courses, you allow yourself to savor what you have in front of you, slow down your eating and encourage your “hunger-meter” to properly communicate so you know when you are actually full.

44. Bring in the blazers! Choose classic colors to begin with and discover more outfits with the clothes you already have.

45. Love the Breton (nautical) top.

46. Black and navy . . .  yes you can (thank you Yves Saint Laurent!)

47. Knee high boots (preferably flats or wedges, but heels are okay as well) for winter and maintaining chic, effortless style.

48. Enjoy a simple, yet filling meal – a small course, a salad and a bit of cheese (oh, and wine too, if you’re so inclined.).

49. Greet your local merchants, clerks and tellers. Become acquainted with them.

50. Keep less food in your refrigerator and shop more often for fresh food.

51. Remain informed, educated, curious and think for yourself.

Now, please do share any additional French-inspired behavior that you love to indulge in. I know I would love to hear from you, and I have a feeling other readers would as well.

French inspired books that I’ve read, loved and which line an entire shelf in my office (if you have any others I should add, let me know!):

~Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Lessons I Learned While Living in Paris~

~Parisian Chic: A Style Guide by Ines de la Fressange~

~Bonjour, Happiness!~

~Women, Work and the Art of Savoir Faire: Business Sense & Sensibility~

~French Women Don’t Get Fat~

~Mastering the Art of French Cooking~

~Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes~

~French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook~

~Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl~

~What French Women Know: About Love, Sex and Other Matter of the Heart and Mind~

~French Women for All Seasons~

~French Women Don’t Sleep Alone~

~Paris, paris: Journey into the City of Light~

~Chic & Slim Toujours: Aging Beautifully Like Those Chic French Women~

~Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light~

~Stuff Parisians Like: Discovering the Quoi in the Je Ne Sais Quoi~

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