A new girl moved to our school during my senior year of high school. Her name was Caroline and she was from France. She was the coolest.
There was certain a nonchalance about her. The way she sashayed to class, the way she tossed her head and let those unkempt blonde locks fall around her face. Unlike the other girls Caroline didn't wear make-up, seemed effortless in her style (she rocked boxy t-shirts and cut-off jean shorts and always carried a tiny purse) and was so self-possessed she didn't care much about getting a boy's attention. It was the first time I had interacted with someone like her and I was fascinated.
What it is about French girls?
Gorgeous without much effort. Proud yet self-deprecating. Methodical yet chaotic. Tongue-in-cheek. Irreverent. Full of paradoxes. Funny. Curious. Ironic.
Maybe I needed to satisfy my inner-Francophile when I picked up a copy of How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are: Love, Style, and Bad Habits. This fun, not-to-be-taken-seriously manifesto invites the reader into a French girl's psyche. What it's like when she's in love, how she chooses to spend her days and nights, and why she'll "spend an inordinate amount of energy trying to spin every episode of [her] existence into a very good story."
What did I learn from Caroline and the women I saw when I visited Paris some 10 years ago? French is a state of mind.
Some of my favorite excerpts from the book:
on faux pas
on taking your time
Photos from How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are, Pinterest and Pixoto.
The Kiss by the Hotel de Ville by Robert Doisneau.