How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Un Petit Guide

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French women “don’t get fat,” are always elegant and effortlessly chic… How do they do it? We non-Parisian woman can learn something from Caroline de Maigret and her co-authors Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan and Sophie Mas in How to be Parisian Wherever You Are? Love, Style, and Bad Habits.  I imagine these four women to be the French equivalent to the American Sex and the City girls…”without her girls gang, the Parisian is incomplete.”

There’s hope for us non-Parisian women because the most famous Parisienne women are foreigners: Marie Antoinette, Josephine Baker, Romy Schneider, Jane Birkin…

Add some joie de vivre to your winter and read How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are. It will make you laugh as you slip into their ballet flats and tap into your inner Parisian.

Fashion:

  • Wear a black bra under your white blouse.
  • Do not wear too much make-up, too many colors, too many accessories.
  • Do not wear logos. You are not a billboard.
  • Do not wear sweatpants. No man should ever see you in those. Except your gym teacher. Leggings are tolerated.
  • All you need is one signature item: the one you wear when you need to feel strong.
  • Do not match your purse with your outfit.
  • Wear navy blue with black. (And red with pink, a la Yves Saint Laurent.)
  • Don’t follow trends. (Trends follow you)
  • Your bag is not an accessory; it’s your home (…) If it is beautiful on the outside, that’s just to keep up appearances. And so that no one ever wonders what’s inside.
  • A small silk scarf is an essential to the Parisian wardrobe.
  • The Parisian wears very little jewelry: a fine chain, a simple ring, a family heirloom. It is as discreet as possible.
  • Parisians love going to the market. To go to a market, dress casually and carry a large basket over your shoulder.

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Beauty:

  • Either go all gray or no gray hair. Salt and pepper is for the table.
  • Short, clean nails, sometimes worn with nail polish but not always. Simplicity is key. In fact, the French manicure is something of an enigma: it is the exact opposite of French chic. The Parisian does not understand the point of it and never wears it.
  • Do not have lip augmentation. It makes you look like a duck.
  • Of all the precious fabrics you love, your skin is without a doubt the one that fascinates you most of all.
  • In Paris, the rules are clear; you anticipate, you prepare for the future, but you’re never totally correct.
  • You never go to bed without taking off your makeup.
  • Cheat on your perfume, but only on cold days.
  • What you need for a restorative hair mask: Rum, honey, two egg yolks, and the juice of a lemon.
  • Enjoy the face you have today. It’s the one you’ll wish you have ten years from now.
  • Always look as if you are gazing at the sunset. Even during rush hour in the Metro. Even when picking up frozen pizza from the supermarket.

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Motherhood:

  • When pregnant…The word pregnant is an adjective. It describes you, it doesn’t define you. You replace your Bloody Marys with Virgin Marys, but that’s it: you’re no saint.
  • The Parisian is a selfish woman. A loving mother, yes, but nonetheless incapable of forgetting herself completely.
  • The Parisian does not stop existing the day she has a child. She does not give up her somewhat adolescent lifestyle, her nights out with friends, her parties, or her mornings-after feeling worse for wear.
  • According to the Parisian, this joie de vivre is the best way of inspiring children to grow up. And also the best way for mothers to never miss the lives they led before they had children.
  • A Parisian never hires a babysitter who is too pretty, always finding the less attractive one to be far more competent.
  • You don’t share the photos from your last ultrasound with your entire address book: you still have some secrets.

Hosting a diner party:

  • Never say “Bon Appetit!” when you sit down for a meal.
  • On Saturday night, the Parisian stays home and hosts intimate dinner parties. The true Parisian never goes out in restaurants and nightclubs on Saturday night.
  • When hosting a diner, the trick lies not in being a gourmet chef, but rather mastering a couple of recipes perfectly. One of them should be easy so that you can rustle it up at the last-minute. The other should be very complicated, to wow your friends.
  • The cook should never appear stressed out – everything must look effortless.
  • Your glasses on the table don’t have to match but they should be clear (nothing colored) and should all have stems.
  • At a Parisian’s table you will often find Laguiole folding knives, named after the French village where they are made.
  • Parisian’s favorite dinner topics: Politics, sex and adultery.

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Advice:

  • Laughing at yourself is better for your health than crying.
  • Do not take yourself too seriously.
  • The Parisian never gives too much away. When it comes to revealing herself, she follows one golden rule: less is definitely more.
  • Take the time to take the time because nobody else will do it for you.
  • Drink at least one glass of red wine between 7:30pm and 10:30pm
  • Asprin in the water makes your roses live a little longer.
  • Cancel your gym session to have a drink with your friend who’s just been dumped.
  • Be thankful that you always wear nice lingerie – you never know what might happen.
  • One should never attempt to hug a Parisian. La bise (kiss on the cheeks) may bring faces together, but bodies must stay apart.

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Love:

  • The Parisian is in love with the idea of love. To a pathological degree. Her entire life revolves around the flutterings of her heart.
  • Statistically speaking, Parisians don’t often get married, but every Parisian dreams of her wedding.
  • The man carries your suitcases and your shopping – a woman only ever carries her handbag.
  • When it comes to kissing, the Parisian does it the same way she does everything else: with cinematic flair. Preferably all kissing should take place in the middle of the street. The city is after all her stage and she treats each kiss like a once-in-a-lifetime performance.
  • Always be baisable: when standing in line at the bakery on a Sunday morning, buying champagne in the middle of the night, or even picking the kids up from school. You never know.
  • The man pours your wine; you should never have to touch the bottle. It suits him- that way you’ll get drunk faster.

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