Author: Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret, and Sophie Mas
Release Date: October 1, 2014
Including 80 black and white and colour pictures, many taken by the authors, How to Be Parisian explains those confusing subjects of clothes, makeup, men, culture and lifestyle as only a true Parisienne can.” (randomhouse.com.au)
I received this as a birthday gift from my sister. It was a really nice surprise as it wasn’t something I’d specifically asked for, but I had pinned the book on Pinterest ages and ages ago as something to read because I love just about anything to do with France, and also because French women seriously seem like they just roll out of bed with cigarette in mouth and get. shit. done. (Pardon my French) As someone who likes to put in the least amount of effort possible when getting ready in the morning, this lifestyle really appeals to me (except for the smoking part – my lungs just aren’t made for that).
Unfortunately for me, the impression I get from How To Be A Parisian Wherever You Are is that a lot of effort goes into seeming effortless; and there appears to be a whole bunch of things you need to do. Such as:
- Having a very specific wardrobe and accessories;
- Taking care of yourself without making it look like you actually take care of yourself; and
- Being able to host the perfect dinner party with the right food and the right conversation.
Despite all this apparent effort, I still loved reading this little book and I’d be lying if I said I won’t pick it up and flick through it again. It’s just a cool read. The illustrations and photographs throughout were lovely to look at, and the writing was entertaining – a lot of it appealed to the sarcastic side of me, and I did laugh a few times. As birthday presents go, I definitely hit the jackpot with this one.
And although for the most part it appears I would be a failure as a Parisian, I did take note of a couple of things that will make my life both easier and better. Like:
- Apparently the only makeup Parisian women wear is moisturiser and mascara. So I decided to give it a crack, despite the fact that I am so fair skinned I need to wear makeup so that I look more alive and less corpse. I looked pretty haggard for the first few days, but it wasn’t long until I had that natural glow that can only come from getting an extra 10 minutes in bed in the morning. I’ve never been that big on makeup anyway, and I’m terrible with moisturising. So it seemed like a win/win.
- I also made crepes using a recipe in the book. I’ve never made crepes before, so that was exciting. It took a few attempts before I was able to get it right, including flipping them in the pan. But I am now the self anointed Queen of Crepes. I filled it with a Nutella/strawberry jam mixture that was sprinkled with roughly chopped walnuts. Here’s a picture:
I’ll wrap things up with some of my favourite quotes from the book, which I think sum it up perfectly, and are words to live by – regardless of whether you are Parisian or not.
A daily aphorism:
Be your own knight in shining armour.
On the gifting of a signature item to oneself:
It is a symbol of independence and freedom, which states, “I bought this for myself. I earned it and it makes me happy.”
On being the best version of yourself:
Better to look your age than no age at all.
And this quote is perfection:
“When you work to please others you can’t succeed, but the things you do to satisfy yourself stand a chance of catching someone’s interest.” —Marcel Proust, Pastiches et Mélanges