Embrace The Joys of the French Lifestyle

There is just something about how the French live life, isn’t there?  The French are masters at living with joy, paying attention to all the beautiful moments in life. “l’Art de vivre à la Française” is a way to take joy in your daily life. Here are my very best tips to incorporate the French way of life into your own daily life, no matter where you actually live. Read on to Embrace The Joys of the French Lifestyle.

Embrace The Joys of the French Lifestyle


Embrace The Joys of the French Lifestyle


Embracing the joys of the French lifestyle will give more meaning to your life.  It’s not difficult to incorporate more of how the French live life at all. It’s a way of really paying attention to the world around you, the beauty of it, the delights and blessings. The French lifestyle is all about living a simple life, it doesn’t revolve around money, work, or having the most beautiful or most expensive things. It’s about enjoying the best moments in your life, with your friends and family, enjoying meals, your surroundings and life in general, day by day.




For the French, meals are sacred. It’s not just that they pay attention to what they cook for daily meals, they actually dedicate time each day to sit down and enjoy a meal with their family. For generations, meal time has been embraced as very important.  Growing up in my European family, there was NO excuse for not being home for dinner, ever. If there was to be an excuse, it had better be super good one, arranged ahead of time.

Whether you eat with your whole family, the two of you, or by yourself, take time to make a meal that is good for you, and looks and tastes good.  Even if you are home alone, delight in your meal.  Play some beautiful music, light a candle – your meal will nourish your body and your soul. Hopefully you can share your day’s ups and downs with someone you love, and laugh.


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Europeans in general place a high value on etiquette and manners. Being raised by a European family, anything short of really good manners was a strict no-no. I think here in the US, our southern friends are a bit more gifted in this area {don’t hate me if you are not southern, I’m NOT either!} Really, daily life is much more pleasant if you interact with society in a polite way. But especially in France, manners count big time.
Embrace The Joys of the French Lifestyle
When traveling, good manners count.  Most Europeans still shake hands when they meet. {pre-pandemic, if you had met before, they kissed you on both cheeks} The French often don’t know what to do with me, I smile way too much, and use my hands when talking like “an American or Italian” according to them.  It’s been said that French people are very unfriendly, but I’ve had the opposite experience. When I am very polite  {and smile a lot!} they are so nice to me.
Even if you don’t speak French, you can say Bonjour {hello!} at the beginning of your conversation. Sprinkle in a lot of Monsieur or Madame {don’t mix these up!} and ‘s’il vous plaît‘ {please} and ‘merci’ {thank you} often.  When I was invited to a wonderful Italian antique show in Parma, many of the dealers there didn’t speak English, and I certainly don’t speak Italian. But the smile, the spirit of good will and my few Italian words got me really far in buying the most amazing antiques!




Daily life in France would not be the same without its cafés. It’s a glorious way to sit, sip, and begin your day.  All over in Europe, having a coffee en terrasse to watch people go by is a favorite past time. My grandfather was a master at this. He was the CEO of a big company, and worked long days. But whenever he was on vacation, he loved nothing more than getting up early, go to a cafe and order a croissant and a coffee and watch the people go by.

I try to emulate this somewhat, but here in the states it seems even while I’m trying to take it slow, after I’ve had my two cups of coffee {which I drink way too fast!} I’m ready to move on.  Note to self, try try try to slow down and experience every single thing life has to offer. {YOU too!}


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I admit it, there are times when my girlfriends have made fun of me for “dressing up” to go to the market to buy bread. Blame it on my Mom, who instilled in me to look my best no matter what. No sweat pants or baggy tops for me, I was to look my best no matter what the fashion was at any age. And honestly? She was right. I think being well-dressed is one of the reasons French {European} people look good and carry themselves with confidence. Every day, the French make sure they present themselves in the best possible way. They take time to look polished and refined in whatever they’re wearing.


Embrace The Joys of the French Lifestyle


Looking your best doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on clothing. French style is effortless, classic, and chic. It’s about finding the right balance between looking dressed up and casual.  French women buy the best quality they can afford, with high-quality fabrics and long-lasting, timeless clothing styles. Like them, you can curate a capsule wardrobe in neutral colors of black, grey, beige, navy blue etc. You don’t have to buy it all at once, either.  French women add one maybe two pieces per season, and build on that. A good fitting pair of black pants or jeans goes a long way to make you feel great each time you wear them. Only wear clothes that make you feel fabulous!




In France, walking is part of every day life. It’s not just a way to get those 10,000 steps in.  It’s something that I struggle with, I’ll be honest. But during the first pandemic year, we enjoyed walking around our neighborhood and actually met almost every single person or family on our block. Walking is an integral part of daily French life, the French walk because they like to,  My mother in law, even in her 80’s would walk to her local store and back, carrying a bag of daily groceries. I feel like we are missing out on that whole aspect of daily life, but I know not many of us have the time to go to the shops once a day.

But a walk in the morning or a stroll after dinner is so good for our body and our soul! I’m trying to adopt this one habit of French lifestyle into my daily routine.


Embrace The Joys of the French Lifestyle



Hosting wonderful, long dinners is at the heart of French culture. In France, it’s called the “Art de recevoir à la Française” {“the art of hosting French-style” in English}. French dinner parties are usually fairly elaborate, with different courses and paired wines, multiple place settings, and pre-and post-dinner drinks. French dinners have good conversations with a lot of laughter, good wines, and delicious food.  French dinner parties last forever.


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Here in the states, we can host dinner parties, but in our own way. At home in California, we host a lot of dinner parties outside in the garden, or have drinks in the garden and dinner inside. It is somewhat more casual, without the many courses, table settings and paired wines. There is good food, there is wine, and there is a table setting. But not as formal as the parties my parents had in Europe. They key is to host a dinner, if this is intimidating, host one other couple. Set a lovely table….and order the food if cooking is not your thing! But having people over for a meal is so satisfying,


Embrace The Joys of the French Lifestyle




One of the most challenging things for me, personally, to do is to have a more relaxed attitude about my daily schedule. {I will admit that two years of a world-wide pandemic has helped somewhat!} Europeans in general take it much, much slower than we do here in the states with their day to day schedule. We tend to pack our days full of errands, of running here and there and being busy, busy busy. Our life is too busy, and often there is just too much to do. Not so our French counterparts.


Embrace The Joys of the French Lifestyle


While they are as able as anyone to multi-task, they have a much more relaxed idea about what a full day should look like.  I always notice this the first few days I’m back in Europe. At a restaurant, for example, my Americanized brain is thinking “okay, come on with the food already! What’s taking so long?!” but my European family and friends are laughing, enjoying a drink, and enjoying every single minute of being out together. They take their time to embrace time, to socialize, to eat, to enjoy the ambience and each other. They take the time to enjoy each season to its fullest! It’s a great lesson to learn, because you really can’t embrace daily life if you are running from place to place, always in a hurry and thinking of the next thing!




One of the most apparent things about the French way of life is that my French friends know how to celebrate life! They practice the joy of living, and savor each simple pleasure in life. Not for them a dusty, dark and messy home. They surround themselves with colors and things they LOVE. They don’t eat on the run, in their car, or even carry out coffee and walk around. They choose beautiful fresh food and then take the time to share a meal seated at a table. They live their life with thought.

The most fundamental component of French life is this: practicing the joy of living.  Savor the simple pleasures in life, and find beauty in your surroundings. Try to simplify your life and your home only to those things that give you the most joy, and that you treasure and make you happy.
beautiful woman dancing in field
Finding beauty and joy in the things that are already around you is one of the most life-changing French habits that you can adopt.  Take joy in your neighborhood, take a walk, listen to the birds sing. When we lived in Europe our next door neighbor would open her back door if there was a tiny glimpse of sun {no matter what the temperature!} early in the morning, pull a chair just inside the door, and drink her first cup of coffee there. At the time, being from sunny California, I thought she was crazy when it was freezing cold, but now I see that she was living in the moment and enjoying her world. : )


You only have one life.  If the life you are living is not filled with things that make you feel joy, take a leap of faith and infuse your life with some French habits and embrace the joys of the French lifestyle.


More to read:

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Cook Like a French Woman

Embrace The Joys of the French Lifestyle

Live life like a French woman!


As for me, I realize LIFE IS SHORT. And I’m planning on dancing while the music is still playing! You?





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17 thoughts on “Embrace The Joys of the French Lifestyle”

  1. This is such a great reminder of what life is really about Lidy. I loved every moment in Paris when there several years ago. The pace is just as you say in Europe. Everything is slower which enables you to savor every moment. Even being retired it seems like there’s always a million things to accomplish every day. I’m going to drink my morning coffee slower and enjoy looking at all my treasures from dear family and friends that are here and passed. Life is a gift and we have to receive it as a blessing.

    Bisous, Edie Marie

  2. I so agree, life is a gift Edie Marie! I’m constantly trying to savor the moments and not fall in the “hurry up” trap. Let’s make our life one where we receive our blessings, I love what you wrote.

  3. Miki Anglea Cook

    Your writing this morning is full of wonderful advice which has already helped me have a better day. My memories of living in Northern France when I was a teenager are similar to some of your memories. Our garden brings us much relaxation and joy and appreciation of nature. Simplicity is elegance is usually my guide for food and clothing.

    I am still enjoying my Menton citrus fragrance. Thank you for your inspiration.

    1. Thank you so much, Miki. I think your simplicity is elegance is just right.

  4. Alice Genzlinger

    Oh Lidy, this is a post I will save and reread it when life gets hard. What you call finding beauty and joy in all we do, is what I call playing. Then it isn’t work. It must have taken quite a bit of your day to produce this post. Thank you.

    1. Alice, thank you for saving and enjoying this post. I love that you call it playing…so that it isn’t work!

  5. Lidy, this is such a beautiful post. I have long figured out that you live with joy. It is nice to be reminded of all the ways we can incorporate joy in our lives. I am one of those girls who appreciates the little joys around me like the song of a bird or a new bloom in my garden. The French surely know how to do this right. Merci, Lidy.

    1. Diane, it is the little joys that make life beautiful, isn’t it?

  6. Judy Wadsworth

    I thoroughly enjoyed this ! Thank you for encouraging others to relax and enjoy our lives- we are so worth it. Life is short and it was meant to be savored and shared .

  7. Beautiful post, my beautiful friend! What wonderful examples of living life more intentionally and elegantly! That is my tendency, but sometimes I get off track! This was such a wonderful reminder to get back on track! Thank you! ???

  8. I will travel to France very soon for the first time. I can see it will be very different from life in Texas.

  9. Gloria P

    Lidy, you came to my rescue. I needed to hear your words. I needed to slow down. You realize it when a medical issue appears. Enjoy the moment and everyday. I am going to make my coffee now and wait for the sun to shine on my garden.

  10. Gloria, I hope you are well and will enjoy every day. I think we all need the reminder to slow down and savor our life minute by minute. Wishing you a blessed day! Xo

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