HOW TO BE AS FREAKING FRENCH AS POSSIBLE
Finally good news: some of our favorite hotels in Paris including Hôtel de Crillon, Hotel Lancaster, Hôtel Splendide Royal Paris, even Le Meurice and Hôtel Plaza Athénée are preparing to re-open by September 1, which means we are one step closer to a very Parisian getaway. Will Americans be allowed to visit…now that’s an entirely different question. But for now, let’s revel in the fact that Paris is back on the table.
With that said, I’d say it’s about time we start dreaming of that next trip to the chicest place on the planet. What will you wear? What lipstick should you pack? What skincare should you use to prep? HOW TO BE AS FREAKING FRENCH AS POSSIBLE?!
There dozens of “how to be french” books out there so I’ve picked just a few of my favorites, all available on Amazon. Despite the stereotyping, this collection shines light on the admiration the rest of the world, most especially Americans, has for living the à la french woman lifestyle. During my commutes I would read these to escape and explore how one can achieve the elusive “french girl beauty” from hair to manners to wardrobe and more. And since so many of us are on staycation right now, what better time to crack open an easy book and read our way to a proper french vacay? My promise to you: these books are quick and have no political opinion whatsoever, which in Washington is so refreshing. I also promise you will enjoy the lighthearted approach to living a bit more chic. “Tips” we can apply when this is all over and venture out into the world again.
My Top Books to Feel the French Joie de Vivre
THE LIFESTYLE BOOK
Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris
By Jennifer L. Scott
Description: Inspired by Paris, this lighthearted and deceptively wise contemporary memoir serves as a guidebook for women on the path to adulthood, sophistication, and style. Jennifer Scott’s self-published success is now a beautifully packaged and fully illustrated gift book, perfect for any woman looking to lead a more fulfilling, passionate, and artful life.
/Paris may be the City of Light, but for many it is also the City of Transformation. When Jennifer Scott arrived in Paris as an exchange student from California, she had little idea she would become an avid fan of French fashion, lifestyle, and sophistication. Used to a casual life back home, in Paris she was hosted by a woman she calls “Madame Chic,” mistress of a grand apartment in the Sixteenth Arrondissement.
/Madame Chic mentors Jennifer in the art of living, with elegance and an impeccably French less-is-more philosophy. Three-course meals prepared by the well-dressed Madame Chic (her neat clothes covered by an apron, of course) lure Jennifer from her usual habit of frequent snacks, junk food, sweatpants, and TV.
/Additional time spent with “Madame Bohemienne,” a charming single mother who passionately embraces Parisian joie de vivre, introduces readers to another facet of behind-closed-doors Parisian life.
/While Francophiles will appreciate this memoir of a young woman’s adventure abroad, others who may not know much about France will thrill to the surprisingly do-able (yet chic!) hair and makeup lessons, plus tips on how to create a capsule wardrobe with just ten useful core pieces.
Each chapter of Lessons from Madame Chic reveals the valuable secrets Jennifer learned while under Madame Chic’s tutelage—tips you can master no matter where you live or the size of your budget.
/Embracing the classically French aesthetic of quality over quantity, aspiring Parisiennes will learn the art of eating (deprive yourself not; snacking is not chic), fashion (buy the best you can afford), grooming (le no-makeup look), among other tips.
/From entertaining to decor, you will gain insights on how to cultivate old-fashioned sophistication while living an active, modern life. Lessons from Madame Chic is the essential handbook for a woman that wants to look good, live well, and enjoy that Parisian je ne sais quoi in her own arrondissement.
About the Author: Jennifer L. Scott is the New York Times bestselling author of Lessons from Madame Chic, At Home with Madame Chic, and Polish Your Poise with Madame Chic and the writer and editor of The Daily Connoisseur (DailyConnoisseur.com). She lives in Southern California with her family. Visit JenniferLScott.com.
THE FRENCH BEAUTY BOOK
Ageless Beauty the French Way: Secrets from Three Generations of French Beauty Editors
By Clémence von Mueffling
Description: “A magical guide.” ―Aerin Lauder, Founder & Creative Director of AERIN and Style & Image Director of Estée Lauder
From three generations of French beauty experts, Ageless Beauty the French Way is the ultimate book of tips, products, practices and French beauty secrets in ten categories such as Hair, Skin, Makeup, Sleep, and Perfume.
/While many women are passionate about the best skin care lines, hair treatments, and beauty practices, Clémence von Mueffling has that passion in her DNA. Both her mother and grandmother were beauty editors for French Vogue, and Clémence proudly continues their legacy in Ageless Beauty the French Way, a luxurious, entertaining, unparalleled guide to every French beauty secret for women from all walks of life. Learn the most effective ways to let your natural beauty shine through; that double-cleansing your face is the only way to go; that there is more to choosing the perfect perfume than you ever imagined; and that a simple, nightly facial massage is the ultimate secret to an ageless, glamorous, youthful face.
/Weaving wisdom from all three women with insiders tips from top beauty experts, Clémence shares both timeless and age-specific information in three categories―Jeunesse (15-35), Plénitude (35-55), and Maturité (55+)―creating a wonderful guide that any woman can cherish throughout her life, and pass down to her daughter through the years.
About the Author: Clémence von Mueffling was born and raised in Paris. She studied economics and finance at the Université Dauphine in Paris and the prestigious ESCP-EAP program during which she studied for a year each in Oxford, Madrid, and Paris. After finishing her business degree in Paris, she worked in marketing at Clarins, Puig, and Dior. She moved to New York City in 2007 and launched Beauty and Well-Being, an online magazine, to instant acclaim in 2014. Ageless Beauty the French Way is her first book.
THE “WOMEN OF A CERTAIN AGE” BOOK
Description: For any woman who last saw forty on her speedometer comes a sparkling new primer for aging—the French way—with grace and style. Frenchwomen of a certain age (over forty) are captivating and complex. They appear younger than their years and remain stylish throughout their lives. They look at birthdays as a celebration of a life well-lived and perhaps a good reason to go shopping before they dress to perfection for a celebration of another anniversaire.
/American-born journalist and blogger Tish Jett has lived among the French for years and has studied them and stalked them to learn their secrets. Exploring how their wardrobe, beauty, diet, and hair rituals evolve with time and how some aspects of their signature styles never change, Jett shows how Frenchwomen know their strengths, hide their weaknesses, and never talk about their fears, failures, or flaws. After all, in France, beauty, style, and charm have no expiration dates!
About the Author: Tish Jett is a longtime fashion journalist who has worked for the New York Daily News, the Detroit Free Press, Women’s Wear Daily, W, the Chicago Tribune, and the International Herald Tribune in Paris, where she eventually became the last editor of American Elle. The author of the blog A Femme d’Un Certain Age, Jett lives in France.
THE “IT” GIRL BOOK
How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits
By Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret, Sophie Mas
Description: From four stunning and accomplished French women — at last — a fresh and spirited take on what it really means to be a Parisienne: how they dress, entertain, have fun and attempt to behave themselves.
/In short, frisky sections, these Parisian women give you their very original views on style, beauty, culture, attitude and men. The authors–Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas — unmarried but attached, with children — have been friends for years. Talented bohemian iconoclasts with careers in the worlds of music, film, fashion and publishing, they are untypically frank and outspoken as they debunk the myths about what it means to be a French woman today. Letting you in on their secrets and flaws, they also make fun of their complicated, often contradictory feelings and behavior. They admit to being snobs, a bit self-centered, unpredictable but not unreliable. Bossy and opinionated, they are also tender and romantic.
/You will be taken on a first date, to a party, to some favorite haunts in Paris, to the countryside, and to one of their dinners at home with recipes even you could do — but to be out with them is to be in for some mischief and surprises. They will tell you how to be mysterious and sensual, look natural, make your boyfriend jealous, and how they feel about children, weddings and going to the gym. And they will share their address book in Paris for where to go: At the End of the Night, for A Birthday, for a Smart Date, A Hangover, for Vintage Finds and much more.
/How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are will make you laugh as you slip into their shoes to become bold and free and tap into your inner cool.
About the Authors: Anne Berest is the author of two novels and a biography of Françoise Sagan published this year; she also writes for television, cinema, and theater.
Audrey Diwan became a scriptwriter after studying journalism and political science. She wrote the screenplay for Cédric Jimenez’s La French, with Jean Dujardin, and is now directing her first feature film; she is also editor-at-large for the magazine Stylist.
Caroline de Maigret studied literature at the Sorbonne before moving to New York to model. She returned to Paris in 2006 to found her music label. De Maigret has been an ambassador for Chanel since 2012, and supports women worldwide through the NGO Care.
Sophie Mas was born and raised in Paris. After graduating from Sciences Po and HEC, she started her own film company and now works as a producer in Los Angeles, New York and São Paulo.
THE FEEL GOOD BOOKS – Jamie Cat Callan Collection
Description: French women didn’t invent happiness. But they know a thing or two about joie de vivre–being alive to each delicious moment.
/As a young girl, Jamie Cat Callan was fascinated by her French grandmother. Though she had little money, Jamie’s grand-mère ate well, dressed well, and took joy in simple, everyday pleasures. As Jamie journeyed through France as an adult, she gained more insight into the differences between French and American women. French women–whether doctors, shop owners, or housewives–don’t worry about being thin enough, young enough, or accomplished enough. They age gracefully and celebrate their bodies. They know how to balance their lives–to love food without overeating, to work hard but not too much, to relish friends and family, and still make time for themselves. Now Jamie draws on everything French women have taught her and shows you how to:
Buy and consume less–and enjoy more
Look like a million Euros on a few francs
Find time to be alone
Flirt à la française
Rediscover your own mystery
/Perfection isn’t attainable, but happiness always is. And this uplifting, revelatory book shows every woman how to embrace it–and savor it.
Description: French women seem to have a special knack for life’s most important things–food, love, raising children. And in matters of beauty and style, they appear to be at an unfair advantage. But the good news is that everything French women know can be learned.
/French women are not born more attractive than anyone else. They simply learn at a very young age how to feel beautiful, confident, and sexy, inside and out. It’s an allure that outlasts youth–in fact, some of France’s most celebrated women are femmes d’un certain âge. Experience only makes them more irresistible. Growing up, Jamie Cat Callan had a French grand-mère to instruct her on style, grooming, and genuinely liking her reflection in the mirror. Now she shares that wisdom along with advice from other French women on fragrance, image consulting, makeup, and more, and shows you how to:
Discover the power of perfume
Find mentors who will help hone your personal style
Begin at the ends–hands, feet, and hair
Choose lingerie that makes you feel magnifique
Get an internal makeover and nourish your soul
Embrace your age gracefully and gorgeously
/Bid au revoir to Botox, fad diets, and agonizing over every imperfection, and say hello to the truly timeless beauty that comes with making the most of your own unique je-ne-sais-quoi.
Description: The author of Parisian Charm School and Bonjour, Happiness! shares the secrets French women have long known about love and romance.
/French women know that the gift for attracting men has nothing to do with beauty, dating, or following the rules. They don’t listen to Dr. Phil’s advice. They don’t worry about the care and feeding of their boyfriend. And they certainly don’t think men are from Mars. On the contrary, French women’s love lives are romantic, sensual, playful, and intense. They conduct their relationships with the same originality and artfulness that they bring to their sense of style. And American women could learn a thing or two from their example.
/For the first time ever, Jamie Cat Callan gives readers a personalized, guided tour through the corridors of French love. In these pages, you will discover:
- Why French women always feel sexy
- The French art of flirtation
- Why French women walk everywhere and love to be seen
- Where French women meet men
- What French women do when their man misbehaves
- And a delicious recipe for the perfect, amorous meal!
“Adorable!”—Erica Jong, New York Times bestselling author of Fear of Flying and Fear of Fifty
Description: As seen in The New York Times — discover what French women know about embracing that irresistible joie de vivre
/We all know that French women don’t get fat. But their famous je ne sais quoi comes from more than just body type–something anyone can master: the old-fashioned art cultivating our inner beauty, confidence, and unique personal style, at any age.
/From savoring the everyday beauty around you to engaging in captivating conversations, playing dress-up, hosting impromptu dinner parties under the stars, and of course mastering the art of French flirting, the lively and inspiring lessons in this “syllabus” will help you rediscover your beautiful, fierce, romantic, engaging best self—to attract the best of everything into your life.
/Ready to embark on the adventure of your life? Parisian Charm School is in session….
About the Author: Jamie Cat Callan is an American gal who grew up under the tutelage of her mysterious and elegant French grandmother. She’s traveled to France many times and interviewed hundreds of French women (and more than a few men) to find out their secrets to love, romance, marriage and how they keep their ooh la la!