Hello lovelies! It’s been a while since we shared stories here in this website. I missed you!
It has been stressful and crazy busy both professionally and personally for the past few months, but as I always say: aimer plus que l ‘amour meme. My love for sharing stories and insights has always been my lifesaver at times of stress, plus of course, yoga and meditation. Aside from these, it is also helpful that Netflix is easily accessible in our fingertips. I didn’t know I could obsess over Paris even more after watching Emily in Paris at Netflix.
Now this post is not a review about the series or the actors in it (who by the way were aallll gorgeous). Here I’d like to share why I love the French culture so much, and why I try to incorporate a bit of their lifestyle to my daily routine. For someone who hasn’t visited the country, learning anything about the French is obsessive. And deciphering their je ne sais quoi is something that I am crazy about! It’s my guilty pleasure! But more than the glamour, fashion, beauty, food, wine, and everything beautiful about France – especially Paris – learning a thing or two about the French lifestyle can be helpful during these times. Especially to some of us who have been forced to quiet down after being so used to hustling around, learning to love the art of doing nothing like the French can be beneficial to our sanity.
Here are some of my favorite concepts/ phrases/ words about the French (some of which I learned from the few classes I attended, and most I got from googling #howtobefrench and #howtobeparisian so much):
Content means happy. Gentil means kind.
I know a lot can relate to me when I say that French language can really be tricky. For years, I really couldn’t master when a word should follow the masculine or the feminine form (that’s why Episode 2 of Emily in Paris is so relatable!). But there are countless words in the French language that are just simply memorable. And for me, among these are content and gentil. I find it amazing that some of the hardest words to explain (figuratively) such as being happy and kind, can somehow be translated to being content and gentle.
Ah. This is something that I aim to do every day, especially Monday mornings. That gadget-free moment sipping creamy coffee in my favorite mug and watching the world is pure bliss! There’s just some peace brought about by watching people (or animals) going on their own lives, listening to sounds of nature, reading a good book or journaling. Instead of spending time with our mobile phones right away, why not greet the world a “good morning” first? (Then, take photos for IG. LOL!)
Flânerie is defined as “aimless or idle quality or state“. It literally means pointlessly wandering or strolling around which could sound counter-productive for some. But for the French, it is an art, in which they elevated by adding the act of closely watching the passers-by. I stumbled upon a Readers Digest magazine years ago while I was waiting for my dentist, and you can just imagine my joy when I saw the article online! Ah, the wonders of the Internet!
In this article, it was explained how the French practices flânerie, or the art of people-watching. On every corner, every shop, every street, they watch people intently and discover stories behind these places. “People-watching is, after all, among the most entrenched of Parisian pastimes”.
I wish I can fulfill my bucket list of vising Paris soonest and be a certified flâneuse. For now, my flânerie adventures involve watching people buying groceries, and observing customers lost in their deep thoughts as they sip their coffee – sights that inspire my fictional muse in one way or another.
je ne sais quoi
A lot of people go crazy about the effortless elegance of the French. And if you’re as obsessed as I am, I’ve read and watched countless articles on how to exude that je ne sais quoi. It’s hard to really point it out, but I know you can agree me that French beauty is timeless, classic, sophisticated. I guess it is really more about how confident the French are with their own skin, and it translates to how stylish they look, to how intelligent they sound, to how poised and cultured they appear to be. I think the reason why we can’t explain it is because it comes from within, and there are times that we are fixated on outer beauty.
I may not emanate that je ne sais qoui like the French does, but what I do is I try to incorporate such self-affirmation as much as I can. I heard a celebrity telling her ritual before (I can’t remember because I was too young) that she faces the mirror first thing in the morning and tell her reflection that she’s beautiful. I have been doing it since then. I think it is very important to feel good inside, and that level of confidence and comfortability will reflect outside.
C’est la vie!
This is also one of my favorite French statements. There’s still a lot like c’est bon, tres bien, etc. Now, you’ve probably heard c’est la vie somewhere. Some people though do not appreciate this expression because it somehow sounds like a defeat to the challenges of life. I think it depends on a person’s perspective. It can be positive or negative based on how how we’d like to use it on our personal circumstances.
I’d say it is negative if we stop at saying ‘c’est la vie‘; and then, just submit to all that’s happening and consider that everything is out of our control. But I’d say it is positive if we use the expression to somehow assess which is controllable vs. uncontrollable, and use the idea that life can really get messy sometimes, so why not let’s move on and focus on the things we can do something about instead.
And lastly, the message on my homepage…
Aimer plus que l’amour même.
I heard this from the song Vivre by Hélène Segara which was the soundtrack for the musical Notre-Dame de Paris. The sentence translates to “Love more than love itself”. Now this may not be part of the overall French culture, but I fell in love with France even more when I was blessed with this quote. It somehow defines my core value and sums up what I live for. It’s also a good reminder to choose to love, especially when it’s hard to choose love.
We live, we die, c’est la vie! Everything is effervescent. So while we are here on Earth, let’s love more than love itself.
So there! I could go on and on on how much I love France, and hopefully my next blog about it is my visit. Crossing fingers! For now. I may have another go at Emily in Paris, and sip some wine or go flaneuring with un cafe en terrasse.
Till then! A bientôt!
Stay loved and blessed! ♥