French Women Always Wear Lipstick (and Other Things I’ve Learned)

Repeat after me: there's no place like Paris

You know I’m a Francophile, oui? Like Fancy Nancy, I think things just sound better in French. And over the years, on our trips to Paris and the South of France, I’ve tried to soak in the details that will make my own life a little more glamorous, a little worldlier, and a little more wonderful. Here are some of the things I’ve gleaned from my studies of la vie Française:

French women always wear lipstick. It’s true! They really do. A swipe of lipstick dresses up a pair of jeans and a tee for that Saturday morning trip to the grocery (where you are bound to run into a neighbor or former squeeze).

Melisa is better at remembering the lipstick rule.

The end of a baguette is a wonderful teething tool for a fussy baby. Forget fancy toys (unless it’s Sophie- who is French, as you know) and special biscuits. Just slice off the end of a baguette and hand it to your baby to gnaw. Then, slice two thin pieces of bread on the diagonal, and make yourself a fabulous ham & butter sandwich with cornichons. Close your eyes, pretend you are in Paris.

Sitting over a drink and watching the world walk by is the best medicine. Do it like this: order a cup of coffee or tea (or glass of wine if you can), and drink it, sitting down, facing the street. Not on the way to the office, or the playground, or anywhere. In fact, if you must use a to-go cup, take it to the park. There should be no reading. No text-ing. No checking the crack-berry or iPhone. Just sit and watch the people go by. The key is to try to do the two things without being distracted. Sip the drink, look out at the world.

The easiest entertaining/weeknight/weekend recipe is salmon baked in foil: turn the oven to 350. Brush salmon (fillets or steaks) with olive oil. Garnish with whatever you like (we like lemon, herbs, salt & pepper). Wrap in foil. Place in Pyrex dish. Bake for 20 minutes. Voilà! Plate and serve with salad and baguette and call it a day. It’s fool-proof.

There is no guilt in pleasure. So have the sole meunière, the dark chocolate truffle, the impossibly rich pâté. Stop and smell the neighbor’s gorgeous lilacs. Buy yourself that impractical silk dress that makes you feel like a silver screen goddess. Savor the Pinot. Play a little longer. Laugh, laugh, laugh.

Gorgeous, non?

Accessories are important! Shoes, bags, hats, jewelry: have fun with them! The French certainly do.

Magnolia got the accessory gene

It’s okay for babies to be noisy and messy. C’est la vie, non? A nice change from our country, where you can get a lot of dirty looks for a loud baby or toddler.

Loud but happy!

So what have you learned from the fabulous French?

** This post would not have been possible without the formidable savoir faire of Kim K. and Anne-Lise. (Gros bisous!)


8 Responses to “French Women Always Wear Lipstick (and Other Things I’ve Learned)”

  1. 1 Amy W May 12, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    I’m drinking red wine, sitting here thinking how great and shiny brite your blog is…and daydreaming about a trip to France!

  2. 2 Chrissy May 13, 2010 at 6:29 am

    Aww, thanks! I’m ALWAYS dreaming about another trip to France!

  3. 3 Melody May 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    I love this! 🙂 Going to France is one of my dreams for some day…

  4. 4 kimk May 16, 2010 at 9:29 am

    Just got back from a couple of days in Paris! Strolled through the Marais (boy are there some great shops in those little streets!) and thought of you gals. Pierre couldn’t understand why I knew the Metro St Paul so well! XO

  5. 7 suzan September 10, 2010 at 11:52 am

    i love your blog. thanks for feeding our curiosity &

    encouragement to be fabulous. I’m stay at home mom & mostof

    the time i wear old clothes. i dress up only in the evening

    when we go out. i save all my dresses for special occation.

    my question is what about french stay at home mom do. do

    they really wear good clothes even when they stay home.if

    they do how they do housework you know cooking, laundry

    etc etc. could you share any tips please.
    thank you

    • 8 Chrissy September 13, 2010 at 12:17 pm

      Nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by! The SAHM moms that I’ve seen always look casual but of course chic. Jeans, t-shirts, maybe a blazer or cute cardigan in the fall weather. Nothing fancy. Can’t say that I have a CLUE about what they wear when they clean house. I would assume is it the French equivalent to what we wear…and wearing lipstick, mais oui!

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