Spending time the Parisian way

By | Category: Travel tips & opinions

Can’t make it to France for Paris Fashion Week (23 Sept- 1 October)? No problem! Read on for the top secrets from authors Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline De Maigret and Sophie Mas on how to feel Parisian – wherever you are in the world


Greet the waiter in your local café with la bise on your way to work in the morning.
Don’t eat breakfast.
Read the newspaper by yourself on your lunch break.
Listen to the radio in the kitchen while making dinner.
Drink at least one glass of red wine between 7.30pm and 10.30pm.
Jot down in your notebook the charming turn of phrase you heard while doing your grocery shopping.
Always put on perfume before going out, especially on the nape of your neck and your wrists.
Never change your shoes – even if it means suffering on the Métro in five- inch heels.
Decide to rearrange your furniture.
Put it off till tomorrow.
Realise that, against all odds, you’ve fallen in love even though that’s simply impossible.
Go to bed with all your jewellery on, but having taken all your makeup off.

Travel to the provinces for work. Swear never to live there.
Watch an old film on the couch with your best friend, but never in bed. Parisians wouldn’t dream of having TVs in their bedrooms.
Host a Parisian dinner party.
Talk to everyone in the same tone of voice, whether it’s your parents, the taxi driver, your boss, a celebrity you met at a bar or the newspaper vendor on the corner.
Have a Saturday night on a Wednesday.
Treat yourself to some flowers to brighten up your apartment.
Take up an artistic hobby: play in a rock band, sing in a baroque choir, enroll in a Portuguese pottery class, sign up for a writing workshop.
Cancel your gym session to have a drink with your friend who’s just been dumped.
Decide it’s great to get dumped, because falling in love again makes you lose your appetite, and in turn eat fewer calories – which defeats the need for that gym membership.
See your psychoanalyst.
Sell a pair of shoes on eBay to pay for aforementioned psychoanalyst.
Contemplate the Lacanian relationship between your Oedipus complex and the fact that you sold your shoes on eBay to pay for your psychoanalyst.


Promise yourself you won’t go out on Friday, so as to get a good night’s rest.
Nevertheless, go for a drink after work, then get dragged to a restaurant, and end your night in a club, in spite of yourself.
Be thankful that you always wear nice lingerie – you never know what might happen.
Wake up on Saturday morning in bed with your best guy friend, before launching into a long discussion about the “stakes” and the “ins and outs,” as well as the “subtext” of the situation.
Alternatively, wake up on Saturday morning in your building, looking out at the same view as from your apartment, but at a slightly lower
angle. Realise you’re in your downstairs neighbour’s bed.
Eat croissants and buttered toast for breakfast – because it’s Saturday morning and you burned enough calories last night, damn it.
Agree to (at least a little) exercise but only in “beautiful” surroundings: a run in a picturesque public park or a swim in a historically listed pool.
Go to the market on Sunday morning with your wicker basket. Prepare a delicious lunch with vegetables, fresh bread and salted butter.
Take a nap on Sunday afternoon, because there’s nothing better to do. Preferably at the same time as your children or your new lover.
Invite your friends over for dinner to stave off the Sunday evening blues.
If they don’t come, eat a tartine of Camembert accompanied by a bottle of excellent Bordeaux – also to fight the Sunday blues.
Promise yourself you’ll spend next weekend in the countryside.

jacket cover paris

Extracted from How to be Parisian by Sophie Mas, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Anne Berest (Ebury Press, Hardback, £16.99)

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