I don’t remember how I came across this book How to be Parisian Wherever You Are, but I remember being so eager to read it, I bought it online the same day and couldn’t wait for it to arrive in the mail. It turned out to be a quick and interesting read, which deconstructs aspects of Parisian culture with its authoritative and witty tone. It’s a bit of everything: food recipes, style, love, being a woman, as well as photographs and illustrations that capture the essence of Paris.
Interesting bits from the book:
- Be aware of your qualities and your faults. Cultivate them in private but don’t obsess.
- Be your own knight in shining armor.
- You don’t have to spend a decade’s worth of salary on your wardrobe, or flaunt designer brands the whole time. All you need is one signature item: the one you wear when you need to feel strong.
- Don’t follow trends. (Trends follow you.)
- Be friends with people of different generations. (Both young and old, but especially the old.)
- The Parisienne never gives too much away. When it comes to revealing herself, she follows one golden rule: less is definitely more.
- In Paris, the rules are clear: you anticipate, you prepare for the future, but you never totally correct.
- Experiences, and the ways in which we change, become our visual identity. Everything is laid out for the world to see. We are either born lucky, with a face that suits us. Or not.
- But life often rights wrongs.
- Better to look your age than look no age at all. By now we’ve learned that relying on excessive plastic surgery ages you more than real life. Sure, some women sometimes master the art of Botox, but most of the time, let’s be honest: instead of a face free of wrinkles, what you really see is the face of fear.
- Take the time to talk to the elderly lady next door, to read a book, to walk to work instead of riding the subway when it’s a beautiful day. Take the time to escape for a weekend with friends.
- Take the time to listen and to get to know yourself. Take the time to change, to grow, to rest. Take the time to say yes, take to time to say no. Take the time to be quiet. Take the time to look after your body, to eat well. Take the time to ask yourself who you are and what you want.
- Take the time to take time because nobody else will do it for you.
- And don’t forget to daydream in the bath, just like when you were little.
In short, taking good care and being the best version of yourself is what we should all be working towards, whether Parisian or not. Love and everything else will follow.