lessons from the French & trips to France


Paris, really France in general, is easily one of my favorite places in the world. Which is absolutely cliché. On every level, it is a cliché. But between the food, the culture, the history, the gardens, the architecture...you guys, it is a dream. Not to mention, the French countryside and the Loire Valley and Mont Saint Michele-- my list of favorites is really never-ending. Perhaps though, my favorite thing about France is the people. The philosophies that they carry. The confidence they exude. The style they all have. My French friends and my experiences in France have gifted me little wisdoms over the years, and today I feel like sharing those little gifts and some old photos from France that aren't the Eiffel Tower or Moulin Rouge...although, I was totally tempted!

1. Dress well, even when you travel. 

I love being comfortable when I fly, especially on long flights {sometimes 14 hours in the air}, but in 2015 I was sitting at a café on a long layover before flying on to Greece and that changed. While sitting at the crowded café killing hours by people-watching {which I could do all day in Paris-- taking all the style in}, a beautiful French woman sat next to me. We exchanged small talk, my French is the most basic and my accent is quite terrifying. Then, we just sat there at a two-seater watching people and sipping our coffees. Two women walked past and the French woman leaned over to me and whispered, "Tourists, you can tell." I giggled a bit and agreed. Their hair laid like it was newly washed and their outfits were perfectly matchy-matchy. "Because of their clothes?" She nodded vigorously. "They may be passing through, but we must look at them. Disrespectful. A well-dressed woman looks a little messy and tres chic."  Dress well, even when you travel. Especially when you are travelling in France.

2. Feed yourself.

The French know food just as well as they know fashion. In 2008, on a trip with my French class, the French man who was our guide around the country told us to always eat an extra croissant for breakfast. "Because we'll be walking around so much?" I asked eagerly. He laughed, "No, because you're in France. To not eat our bread is a sin. It is beautiful and it will fill you." It seems a bit poetic, doesn't it? Feed yourself something beautiful and it will fill you.

3. You should never look like you're wearing makeup.

Even when you are. The exception to this is lipstick, of course.

4. If you are going to make something, make it beautiful.

I once took French cooking lessons and after slowly making something so delicious, I then had to wait and plate the meal. The chef explained, "You have taken hours to prepare food and now you will slop it on a plate and eat it without appreciating it as a work of art?" Lesson learned that day: if you take the time to make something, spend a little extra making it beautiful.

5. Your time is your own.

If you're in France, you might notice that the culture at a restaurant is much different. It's not about eating hurriedly and paying as fast as you can. It's about the leisure of enjoying a meal or sipping your espresso on your own time. After all, your time is something you can never get more of, so you might as well spend it moving at whatever pace you please.

6. Moisturize.

Nothing deep or meaningful in this lesson other than wrinkle prevention, guys. Seriously, the French have the best skin.  

Paris is always a good idea, guys. Can't wait for my next trip back, this time with my good camera, but without a hair brush {standard}.