I can't speak French.
This may come as no surprise, considering the fact that I am not living in France. But the reason I feel like it must be a confession, is because I am a huge Francophile. I love all things French.
French movies (my favorite move is Amelie!)
|The iconic Jean Seberg in Breathless - another of my favorite movies!|
|Chocolate for Breakfast? Don't mind if I do!|
But what I'm here to discuss today are some French books, well, actually books about French culture. I'll save French authors for another post. I have read so many books about French women and their Je ne sais quoi. I am utterly obsessed with the topic. I think in large part, I feel like I would fit in very well in the culture. I have some French ancestors, and my mother always told me I was more French than Irish, which was not a complement by the way. But nonetheless, I am moody, generally opinionated, philosophical, romantic, I love food and wine, and life in general. While I am a generally happy person, I don't feel that we always need to be smiling. Brooding is okay sometimes, especially on a rainy afternoon. Mais bien sur
But I digress... Here are my top four favorite books on the topic of French women.
Fourth place goes to French Women don't get Fat. I know it's a huge cliche at this point, but it is a very good book. She doesn't talk about dieting, she talks about enjoying life. I flip through this whenever I feel like I'm starting to rush around, and loose touch with the finer things in life. It always helps me to slow down, sit down to eat. Take some time for myself. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to examine not only their eating habits, but all of their habits.
Third place goes to Ooh La la! French Women's Secrets to Feeling Beautiful everyday. Despite it's ridiculous title, this book is incredibly thought provoking. Jamie Cat Callan is very American, but she is completely fascinated with all things French. The best part of the book is that she has so many chic and amazing French female friends. They impart all sorts of secrets and she goes on all kinds of adventures with them. I find myself longing to learn more about these friends of hers, and wishing I could meet them! And her writing style is so playful and fun. A good romp through French culture, as told through the eyes of someone who loves it, but can never quite pin it down.
Second place goes to Almost French: Love and a New Life in Paris. It's been quite a while since I read this book, but I think that this was started my whole journey into reading books about French culture. The author is Australian, which makes it even more interesting, hearing a point of view from a non-american, yet still pretty similar. One thing I do remember was her realization that French women don't seem to hang out with other women that much. In big groups, I mean. They seem to prefer mixed company. I can't say that I blame them, if this is indeed the case. But even still, I do enjoy the occasional night out with the ladies. This is a charming book about the frustrations of trying to fit into a new culture. A good read.
Finally, my all time favorite at the moment has to be Paris Street Style. This book is mostly photographs of real people in Paris, some interviews, and a lot of discussion of classic pieces and finding your personal style. One thing I love about French women, and you hear again and again, is to find what makes you unique, don't try to be something you're not. Being beautiful is about being comfortable in your own skin. All of these books mention this at some point. French women seem to appreciate the art of being beautiful while still remaining natural. Although, it is easier for them, because their culture fortunately does not have the obsession with youth that we do here. Hopefully it will rub off on us! At any rate, if you want a truly great guide to style, this is it.