9 Ways to Frenchify Your Life

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I must start out by telling you that I’m not French.

And, I never will be.

In fact, after many failed attempts at speaking French (along with my constant smiling, which confuses the French) I’m SO grateful for who I am.

But, that doesn’t mean that I can’t admire other cultures.

There is so much that we can learn from each other.

France has been one of my many fabulous teachers.  And, I’ve been having a not-so-secret love affair with all things French for some time now.

What is it about the French that makes us yearn to know more?

… Is it because the French seem to turn ordinary moments into poetic works of art?

… Or, is it due to their leisurely pace and the fact that their language has a specific word “flaneur” to describe this action?

… Perhaps it could have something to do with their decadent, buttery croissants or their old world styled wines?

… Of course, it might be their chic and effortless style, like they rolled out of bed looking fabulous?

The reasons for intrigue are endless.

After my first visit to Paris followed by the French countryside, I knew I wanted to add a little French twist to my everyday life.

I wanted to spend more time embracing my “being” versus trying to compete with my doing.

I desired to infuse my daily life with more simple pleasures.

I wanted to stop looking like a frumpy mom and make the world my runway.

And, of course, I wanted to end years of fearing food and hiding my body out of shame and experience true pleasure.

Years ago, I started doing really petit things in my very normal life back home to mimic my days spent in France.

Over time, this practice has created little miracles, such as more joy, less overwhelm, peace with food, a deep appreciation for my daily life, more creativity and a sense of romanticism while doing very ordinary things like scrubbing the toilet.

How to add a French Twist into your Life

So, the moral of this story is this:

Anyone, no matter where you live, can add a little French into your life.

Here are nine possibilities:

1. Ease Into Your Day

Walk by a French cafe, and you won’t see people’s heads buried in their laptop or smartphones. Instead, you’ll see them sipping on café crème, savoring a croissant, reading the paper or a good book.  Or, they may just sit and watch the world pass by.

The French ease into their day. They do not skyrocket from their bed in a hurried frenzy.

As much as you may believe that perusing social media is fun or watching the news keeps you aware, it’s not the way to start your day if you want to have a sense of ease and beauty in your life.  And, if you’re being honest with yourself, it’s a habit that’s not supporting you.

While your life may require that you are in your office by 8AM or have the kids to school, easing into your day is possible for everyone.

Your French Kiss Life Challenge:

Spend a minimum of 15 minutes each morning this week doing something that nourishes you. Experiment with things such as journaling, a hot bath, a stroll around the neighborhood, stretching those stiff muscles. Whatever it is, practice easing into your day relaxed and intentional. BONUS: Want to celebrate your challenge? Snap a pic of your challenge and post to social media with hashtag #frenchkisslife

2. Display Your Love

When I saw a couple coiled together like two snakes on the beach at Cap d’Antibes, I realized how sheltered I’d been by the puritanical culture that often causes us to think or even say aloud, “Hey, take it to the bedroom.”

Isn’t it fascinating that we live in a culture that allows us to carry guns, but we get bent out of shape if we see people showing love and affection for one another?

There is a sensuality that runs through the veins of French people, and they are not afraid to openly display it to whoever may be passing by. But, this affection isn’t just reserved for lovers. It’s for friends too! I adore the double kiss on the cheeks that close acquaintances share with one another.

Of course, this may feel uncomfortable if you weren’t raised around physical affection. And, I’m not suggesting that you change. In fact, everything I share is a suggestion. I never assume that I know what’s best for you, but I do know that when you begin to question why you are the way you are, you may find that it was programmed into you without consent. And, the programming can be changed. Consider your beliefs around physical affection; you may discover that underneath that aloofness is a person who wants to tap into their sensual side and be a little risque!

Your French Kiss Life Challenge:

Hug your kids more often this week. Kiss your friends on the cheek when you see them this week. Lean over the table at the restaurant on your next date, and give your lover a kiss, with passion, yes, in public. BONUS: Want to celebrate your challenge? Snap a pic of your challenge and post to social media with hashtag #frenchkisslife

3. Eat for Pleasure

When I arrived in Paris the first time, I thought I’d be enraptured by the beautiful buildings or the designer boutiques, but what mesmerized me most was watching French people eat with pure enjoyment. For a woman who had battled with my weight and food for way too long, this was as miraculous and Moses parting the Red Sea.

The French seem to have their cake and eat it too. Yes, I’m talking about those slim physiques and rich foods co-existing in a pleasurable way of eating. Are they just genetically gifted? Mais non! They have just learned the art of dining, which includes moderation, fresh foods and no guilt.

This was the first thing I put into practice when I returned home. I read every book I could find on French food and their way of eating. Of course, I have a lot to share on this topic. I developed a program centered around this concept. 

But, the core of it are these 5 Rules of French Dining:

  1. Eat fresh, high-quality foods
  2. Eat three times a day. No snacking.
  3. Savor each bite.
  4. Learn to stop when you’re elegantly satisfied.
  5. Never, ever beat yourself up for eating food.

Your French Kiss Life Challenge:

Practice and experiment with the 5 Rules of French Dining (see above). BONUS: Want to celebrate your challenge?
Snap a pic of your challenge and post to social media with hashtag #frenchkisslife

4. Create Your Own French Sunday

When I book a trip to France, I make sure that it includes a Sunday. Why? It’s like showing up for a French holiday, except it happens every weekend. Most stores are closed and restaurants are open, forcing you to focus on the truly important things in life – family and friends with a side of delicious food and intoxicating conversation. It’s a day of doing nothing, except what you truly want to do.

With the American focus on productivity and overscheduled lives, I think it’s time we all create our own French Sunday. What do you think?

Your French Kiss Life Challenge:

Virginia Wolfe spoke about A Room of One’s Own. I want you to think about “A Day of One’s Own” that you set aside each week to slow down and enjoy your life. On this day, do what you love, whether it’s painting or sitting in a hammock reading Shakespeare. On this day, anything goes, except checking off your to-do list. That can wait until Monday!

5. Invest in Luxurious Lingerie

A Parisian style expert once told me, “Lingerie is important because it’s the first thing you put on in the morning and the last thing you take off at night. It sets the tone for your entire day.” Upon a visit to France, you’ll realize the emphasis that is placed on a woman’s intimates based on the number of lingerie shops that can be found in a city block.

While, most likely, not everyone will see it, you know what’s underneath those clothes of yours. And, if everything is energy (and it is), then your underpinnings are impacting you whether you realize it or not.

I encourage women to get properly fitted for their bra, and it’s always a delight to hear the joy in a woman’s voice when she discovers her right size and indulges in wrapping her most intimate areas in luxurious lace. Think what you will, it matters. Go try it for yourself!

Your French Kiss Life Challenge:

Invest in a great lingerie set and notice how you walk a little taller and saucier. You are worth the investment. BONUS: Want to celebrate your challenge? Snap a pic of your challenge and post to social media with hashtag #frenchkisslife

6. Look Your Best

The fashion in France (especially Paris) is a 24-7 runway show. It’s very obvious that the women and men here put thought and effort into how they present themselves to the world. It’s their form of self-expression and a part of their culture to look tres chic. Throwing on a pair of sweats and parading around the Promenade des Anglais simply does not even cross their mind as an option. They really do make the world their runway.

So, why does your dress matter? Well, I know when I’m having a rough day, a shower, great outfit and a little lipstick will pick up my spirits, and before you know it, I’m out of my head and back in the game.

Don’t forget: dressing your best doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Some of the chicest women I know dress on a budget. There is no price tag on true style.

Your French Kiss Life Challenge:

For the next week, consciously put thought into your wardrobe and commit to looking your best each day. BONUS: Want to celebrate your challenge? Snap a pic of your challenge and post to social media with hashtag #frenchkisslife

7. Revel in Your Body

While lying on the beaches of Nice, I saw women of every body shape, size and color, and what I noticed was women owning their bodies. They weren’t trying to cover up their perceived flaws or hide underneath a beach towel. In fact, some of them were practically baring it all.

For the record, I’m not a bare it all kind of gal, unless I’m skinny dipping in the moonlight. However, I’ve discovered a whole new way of being with my body, one of joy, deep appreciation, and understanding.

Watching those French women on the beaches gave me the courage to stop hiding my body out of shame and start embracing all that it allows me to enjoy.

Your French Kiss Life Challenge:

If you are a woman who tends to hide your body, just notice why. And, what do you gain from this behavior? Does it feel empowering and thrilling or defeating and draining? You may think you need to change your body before you begin to revel in it, but we have it backward. To change anything, you must stop fighting it. A woman who loves herself doesn’t hide; she radiates. BONUS: Want to celebrate your challenge? Snap a pic of your challenge and post to social media with hashtag #frenchkisslife

8. Make Movement a Part of Your Everyday Routine

The common myth is that French people don’t exercise, and it’s true that you won’t find a lot of gyms in Paris (although they are more popular now than when I first visited over a decade ago) Yet, French do exercise, but it’s not planned bursts of activity that needs to involve machines, class schedules and instructors. Instead, it’s just a part of their lifestyle. They walk … a lot, take the stairs, play sports, swim, dance and have sex (that couts, doesn’t it?). Movement is just a way of life, not something they drive to the gym for.

Your French Kiss Life Challenge:</u?

Explore ways to add more movement to your day. Perhaps a walk at lunch, taking the stairs, dancing or planning a game of volleyball or tennis on the weekend. Moving our bodies shouldn’t be a chore but a gift that we appreciate and indulge in daily. BONUS: Want to celebrate your challenge? Snap a pic of your challenge and post to social media with hashtag #frenchkisslife

9. Simplify Your Life

Why do the French seem to have more time to enjoy life? It’s because they haven’t inundated themselves with massive debt, overwhelming amounts of stuff and overbooked calendars. The more simple your life, the richer it becomes.
One of the greatest takeaways from my time in France is that I desire to simplify my life down to only those things that I treasure most, and what I’ve discovered is that it’s the simple things paired with the relationships I have with the people I love that feeds my soul.

Your French Kiss Life Challenge:

Try my “3 Things” challenge this week: Remove 3 things from your environment that you don’t love and say “no”to 3 things you don’t want to do. Start clearing the clutter and calendar to give you more space to enjoy your life. BONUS: Want to celebrate your challenge? Snap a pic of your challenge and post to social media with hashtag #frenchkisslife

I’ve learned that the French have a very different mindset around life, which makes it easier for them to relax and slow down.

You, on the other hand, may have a lot of fear around what might happen if you take a little time out to focus on enjoying your life.

But, remember this:

You only have one life.

And if you’re not enjoying your current one, perhaps it’s time to take a leap of faith and infuse your life with a little French twist.

Want more inspiration?
I have a gift for you.
“An Insider’s Guide to the French Way of Life”
I wrote this book to help you incorporate the best of the French way of life into yours.

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JOIN THE CHIC CONVERSATION: This whole “Frenchify’ing life” thing … it’s easier said than done. But I, along with so many others are proof that it’s possible. Of the 9 ideas, what is the ONE you’re willing to commit to trying this week?

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14 Responses to 9 Ways to Frenchify Your Life

  1. Love it, Tonya! These actions DO MAKE a tremendous difference in the way life is lived. As an aside the audio silenced after 16 minutes and picked up again around 22 minutes – not sure if that was just on my end with my ancient iPhone yet thought I’d give you a heads up in case it happens to anyone else.

  2. Actually, buying a small apartment on the French Riviera (Mine is in Nice, one block from the Mediterranean) is unbelievabley affordable. I bought mine for 140,000 euros. It’s right over a French bakery. I fly out here (I’m in Nice now) twice a year and try to stay for 4-6 weeks. It doesn’t have to only be a dream. But Tonya’s ideas are delicious!

    • Ooh…love this, Catherine! Crazy how our minds can make things seem soooo out of reach, when they are actually right there in front of us.

      On a side note, the Côte d’Azur is one of my fav places. Looking at a quick jaunt in June to see friends in Antibes.

  3. Hi Tonya,
    All great, simple things we can add into our day with ease! I have been working on my meals and choosing high quality foods over foods that do not offer much nutritional value.

    • Hi Sarah!

      I’ve found that it’s the simple that can be the most significant in our lives.

      And, high-quality food is at the core of living the French Kiss Life-style. Good for you!

  4. Hi Tonya! I am working with #9 Simplify Your Life. Doing only what brings me joy, saying no to what doesn’t. Clearing my calendar of 3 things I don’t want to do and, letting go of 3 things I don’t need. Somehow, when I am not mindful of it, my life gets a little overbooked. Making my life art and creating my masterpiece definitely requires that I chisel away what does not bring me joy. This is such a beautiful post! I cannot wait for the next round of SCS! XXOO

    • Hey, hey lady!

      Here’s the thing: it’s a lifelong process, so embrace and enjoy it.

      Even with all my simplifying, it’s never done.

      And, with mindfulness, keep practicing.

      Not about perfection, but progress (with a lot of play).

      Can’t wait for SCS, too!

      Coming soon.

      xo

  5. I appreciate these reminders and instruction on how to live your best life. I dress well now to go out..even if it’s a grocery shop… went through my recipes for fresh favs and I use my Lancôme red matte lipstick..in the daytime!! Tons of nice compliments when I’m out. Having fun😀

  6. I love France and I love your article! Thank you so much, Tonya! Knowing how french people live excites me! I am living in Indonesia and I hope I could do my master degree at France. Pray for me!

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