As a lover of anything lifestyle-related, I enjoy investing in a book that not only looks good on a coffee table (priorities, am I right?) but also has quality content with interesting discussions, funny observations and life hacks I didn’t know I needed.
Written by four creative and hilariously blunt Parisian women – Sophie Mas, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Anne Berest – How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are is an unapologetically honest insight into the culture, style and attitudes of its authors and what influences them.
I’ve always admired the Parisienne ethos – particularly its effortless class and belief in enhancing your natural beauty, rather than trying to restructure what you have (goodbye contour). The wonderful thing about this book is that it’s filled with candid Parisian thoughts on how to be happy in your own skin, embrace the parts of your personality that you’re less comfortable with, and how to be unapologetically you.
The book is divided into 5 sections with about 10 subsections, so I’ve summed up each one with my favourite quotation from that chapter:
- Get the Basics
– Establishing a day-to-day lifestyle that brings out the best version of you
The Parisienne retains her little imperfections, cherishes them even (the gap in her smile or her slightly crooked tooth, her prominent eyebrows or strong nose): these are the signs of a certain strength of character and allow her to feel beautiful without being perfect.
- Own Your Bad Habits
– What everybody thinks but no one discusses
When meeting someone for the first time, never say ‘What a pleasure,’ but rather ‘What a pleasure to meet you.’ (You never know what the future might hold.)
- Cultivate Your Allure
– How to ignore the pressure to look a certain way
Beauty in France is epidermal – nobody cares that much about makeup, it’s what’s underneath that matters.
- Dare to Love
– The authors’ (and their mothers’) advice on friendship, love, relationships and everything in between
At first glance, one might think that Parisiennes don’t get along with one another, because in theory, two of them in the same room is one too many.
- Parisian Tips
– How to spend time doing what you want, when you want
Have a Saturday night on a Wednesday.
As you can imagine, one of the book’s strengths is that you can pick it up at any time and on any page and you don’t need to have read the surrounding sections. It’s the perfect size for a handbag and brill for long commutes.
How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are is a handbook for women of any age (over 16, I’d say) and I would absolutely recommend it if you’re looking for a book that will give you a fresh perspective on finding a lifestyle you love, and make you laugh along the way.
‘Parisiennes will have you believe that they are born with perfect skin and delightfully messy hair. That from the cradle onward they exude a scent worthy of Chanel No. 5. That these ‘natural’ attributes are a heritage that cannot be explained. They are all lying.’