You don’t have to live in France to live a French Lifestyle and can do it from anywhere you live. Here are 20 ways you can incorporate a French lifestyle into your own daily life to feel inspired and live that joie de vivre.
1. Take Time To Slow Down
Taking time to slow down and appreciate the little things in life is one of the things I admire most about the French. You will see them sitting at their favorite café, drinking coffee, having a conversation with friends, or reading a book. You don’t see them working away on their laptops or aimlessly scrolling through their phones.
They take pleasure in slowing down and enjoying life. It’s also about appreciating the little things like fresh flowers, a delicious meal, a walk through the gardens, or an afternoon at the museum. Some of my favorite ways to slow down and appreciate the little things are enjoying my morning cup of coffee with some French music in the background. Buying fresh flowers and cooking a nice meal for us on the weekends, and appreciating the beautiful morning light coming through our living room window.
2. Invest In Culture
The French love to invest in culture through reading, the arts, museums, and going to the theater. Children are taught to appreciate the arts from a very young age because it’s so incredibly important to the culture. French people are more likely to judge a person by their level of education and intellect than by how much money they have. For us going to the art museum is such a treat and something we love to do as a family. Thankfully, we live near a very beautiful art museum which we try to visit at least once a month. There is an entire section dedicated to French Impressionists like Monet, Renoir, and Van Gough.
3. Read More
You will find most French homes are filled with bookshelves of books they actually read. Reading and intellect are two important attributes to the French lifestyle, and you can tell a lot about a person by the books on their bookshelves. You won’t find them full of just pretty coffee table books either, but books that are actually being read. Paris is still full of bookstores and newspaper stands because reading is so important to the culture. Set aside time each day to read a book or the newspaper, don’t just scroll your phone.
4. People Watch En Terrasse
French people love their cafés and it’s easy to understand why. No matter the time of year people are at their favorite café enjoying a morning cup of coffee or evening glass of wine. The cafés are the heart of the city and bring everyone together and are such an integral part of the French lifestyle. My absolute favorite thing to do in Paris is sit at a café and people watch as they go by. I love to sit and look at the fashion and wonder where they are going and what they’re doing. I even have a favorite café for morning people watching, which is Café de Flore in Saint Germain. During the evening time, I love to sit at the café right next to Café de Flore, which is Lex Deus Magots with a glass of champagne.
5. Walk More And Be A Flâneur
Whenever I am in Paris I easily walk 8-10 miles a day and sometimes even more. It’s so easy to be a “flâneur,” or stroller when you are in a city that beautiful. There’s so much to explore and see that honestly you get lost and it doesn’t even matter. I love to just set out for the day in Paris and see where it takes me without an agenda, just soaking in all the beauty of the city. That’s absolutely the best part and if I was taking the metro or in a taxi, I would miss all of this.
It’s easy to do this when in a beautiful city like Paris but this is also something we can incorporate into our daily lives as well. Take a walk during the day to get some fresh air or an after-dinner stroll around your neighborhood. We love to take after-dinner walks on nights when it’s not freezing. It helps to digest the food versus just going to immediately sit on the couch.
6. Do Sundays The French Way
Sundays are truly a rest day for the French with most shops being closed. The French use this day to relax with family and friends by enjoying each other’s company, having brunch, going to the park, or visiting a museum.
7. Shop From The Farmers’ Market
The French are lucky enough to have farmers’ markets year-round in whatever part of France they are living. They use the farmers’ market as a way to buy fresh fruits and vegetables which are in season. There’s definitely something to be said for buying fresh food when you can but it only makes sense knowing how sacred food is to the French culture. If you are lucky enough to have a farmers’ market near you take advantage of it when you can. We only have a market open from April to October but we visit while we can.
Along with the farmers’ market, French people buy meat from the butcher, bread from the boulangerie, and sweets from the patisserie. I truly love and appreciate this part of the culture so much. Everything is so incredibly fresh and tastes much better this way.
8. Appreciate Meal Times
Mealtimes in France are such an integral part of the culture and are meant to be savored. Families sit down and enjoy their meals together, appreciating the conversation and company with each other. They are not eating on the go in the car or walking down the street, eating in front of their computers, or on their phones at meals.
This is something we practice in our home as well. The three of us sit down and eat dinner together every night unless we have other plans. I love this time of the day when we are all together and talking and laughing about our day. Take pride in how you set your table, a beautiful table can make all the difference. You don’t have to go out and spend a fortune on dishes either. I’ve bought several gorgeous dinnerware pieces either second-hand or from a thrift store. Make your mealtime a beautiful experience with glassware, dishes, cloth napkins, and silverware. I use the silverware my grandmother handed down to me which is so elegant plus it reminds me of here every time we are eating.
9. No Snacking
The French lifestyle does not involve a snack in between meals like we are accustomed to doing in the states. They eat 3 meals and day and that’s all. Children will get an afternoon snack after school which is called a goûter, which literally means to taste. However, the afternoon snack consists of yogurt or fruit or maybe even a little baguette. French kids do not eat chips and candy for their afternoon snacks. The whole thought process is that if you are eating wholesome balanced meals then you shouldn’t need to be snacking all day plus snacking will ruin your meal and you can’t have that.
10. Have Balance & Mind Portions
The French don’t go around eating croissants and pastries for every single meal. Instead, they take everything in moderation and have a balance between what they are eating and mind the portion control. If they eat a croissant for breakfast then maybe a salad for lunch and some kind of protein for dinner but they don’t indulge in sweets and sugar all day. Balance is a big part of the french lifestyle way of eating.
11. Add Fresh Flowers
Fresh flowers bring so much joy and a bit of chic to any home and the French know this well. They tend to stick to mostly just a few colors of simple yet elegant varieties. Along with the farmers’ markets, you can find flower shops full carrying favorite varieties like roses, lilies, and orchids. Flowers are such an easy way to make a home feel inviting and welcoming.
Personally, I love to add fresh flowers to our home every week and put them in the living room and kitchen. Trader Joe’s is a great way to pick up inexpensive bunches and make beautiful bouquets. Nothing fussy at all, just a beautiful glass vase or even a glass cup will do.
12. Invest In A Favorite Candle
A favorite candle scent can make a home feel incredibly cozy and change the vibe of a room. Depending on the season try different scents and light them every time company comes over or just when you’re spending the night in for some self-care.
Diptyque candles are one of the most famous luxury French candles and for good reason. Their glass jars are beautiful to keep out on display and smell amazing.
13. Host A Dinner Party
French people love to entertain and what better place to do it than your own home. There’s nothing better than a night full of great conversation and friends, good wine, and delicious food. The art of a french dinner party is not to make it too overcomplicated. Invest in a few good bottles of wine or champagne, set out a great cheese plate, and see where the night takes you. There’s no time limit to a French dinner party so enjoy the night with friends.
14. Take Time To Invest In Yourself
Self-care is very important to French women and the French lifestyle. This doesn’t involve hours of working out or even the latest wellness craze. For the French woman, it can be something as simple as buying fresh flowers or visiting the spa for the afternoon. It’s more about doing something for yourself every day that will make you happy. The French also treat themselves to beautiful lingerie and luxury perfume as a way to practice self-care.
15. Age Gracefully The French Way
The French lifestyle is all about embracing your natural beauty and that includes aging gracefully. French women don’t wear a lot of makeup and prefer to enhance their natural beauty instead. They also know that age has nothing to do with your style and that you can be just as stylish at 60 as you were in your younger years. The secret is all about confidence in knowing who you are and wearing the appropriate clothes. French women know you can be chic no matter your age.
16. Make Skincare A Priority
French women take their skincare very seriously using only quality products. They don’t do plastic surgery, botox, or other fillers but instead choose to care for their skin properly. If you ever visit a French pharmacy, it’s not a traditional pharmacy we think of in the states. The French pharmacy is filled with beauty products and the pharmacist is there to help you find the perfect product for your skin. You can read more about my favorite French beauty products. Making skincare a priority is all about self-care and the French are big on the act of self-care.
17. Clean Out Your Closet
Take time to clean out your closet every year and get rid of the items you no longer wear old or tattered clothing, and anything you don’t absolutely love to wear. Your clothing should make you feel good and feel confident so if you have clothing that doesn’t do this, then it’s time for it to go.
18. Invest In Your Wardrobe
Invest in high-quality items that you love and they will last for years. It’s better to wait and purchase something that you love versus just buying an item to buy it. Don’t just buy the latest trends but invest in timeless, chic, pieces which will last and are versatile to mix and match. You can read more about getting French girl style at any age here.
19. Create A Capsule Wardrobe
Having a French Inspired capsule can be helpful because you can focus on specific items of clothing to mix and match. The French are always among the most timeless and classic examples of wearing pieces over and over and looking chic. If you are looking for ways to inspire your own French capsule wardrobe you can start with the French 5 Piece .
20. Always Look Polished And Refined
French women take pride in what they wear no matter where they are going and always try to look polished and refined. They certainly do not run around in yoga pants all-day but wear what makes them feel confident and beautiful.