The art of being a French woman

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I have known many French women in my life and not all of them have been French. I have read more books and blogs on the art of being a French woman than I care to share publically and I have also had a love affair with France since the age of thirteen, when Madame McPherson chasséd into our private schoolgirl lives with her tales of Paris and patisserie.

Coming back from Paris on Thursday after a week of networking and connecting with 105 other coaches from around the world, I could see clearly how lit up others were too by the energy and idea of Paris and experienced a different way of being in France. So I started thinking again of what it means to be female and French because seriously, who doesn’t want to be a French woman?

(psst stop pretending you don’t)

The French woman is an archetype. She is an idea; a state of being and a way of experiencing the world. As such, you can embody her wherever you are.

To cultivate your French woman there are three qualities to express :

1. Sensuality

This is the woman clasping a cup with both hands as she inhales the aroma of a creamy coffee at an outdoor café. She is the one savouring a crème brulée or the sensation of silk on her skin.

Sensuality involves being intentional and present. You experience something with all your senses. It means breathing in – sitting back and looking up to take in the world, smiling as you realise how much you are enjoying this. It’s about being conscious.

Yesterday morning I tidied up my home and it felt like a sensual act. I was putting my clothes away with care. I enjoyed it. One of my good friends at school used to eat her daily yoghurt super slowly and when we went shopping, she would wander around the store feeling all the fabrics. Now I realise this was her innate sensuality.

Anything can be a sensual act – how you hold a glass, the pause before you drink your cup of coffee, the way you eat breakfast or set the table, how you walk down the street, read a book, organise your wallet or do your weekly shop. All of it can be experienced rather than just ‘done’. It all comes down to how present we are. These small acts that seemingly mean nothing actually add up to create our life.

2. Pleasure

We crave long lunches and beautifully presented pastries, we long to linger over coffee, to think deeply, to lie down in the park on a picnic blanket and read all afternoon and to buy fresh flowers from the markets.

From having lived in France, I know that meal times are sacred and social. People wait to eat together – no note that the dinner’s in the microwave. Real people enjoying a meal together with the fuss taken out, cooking together even. No salad dressing on the side.

But the real secret to pleasure is to not let it be only about food. When I got into my creative pursuits (everything from painting to cross-stitching to jam-making to writing), the obsession with food dropped away. Starting my business, I again got too serious and now I have recommitted to seeking out opportunities for pleasure each day. I’m taking the time to enjoy everything from making myself up to dancing round the house.

Pleasure can be found in the most obvious and unlikely of places, but when we are rushing through life, we miss these experiences of pleasure that contribute to our joie de vivre. So ask yourself, what would you love to enjoy today?

3. Flair

Where is that woman confidently crossing the street with red lips and a knotted scarf around her neck? Regardless of whether this woman really exists, the secret to feeling like a French woman is to live your life with flair.

Flair means doing something in a way that is interesting and exciting. Today my nails are painted coral pink and I have come to a café to drink Italian coffee with coconut milk and write. This is how I choose to do my life. How do you choose to do yours?

What clothes make you feel good? What are your favourite flowers? How do you love to relax? What’s your drink? What scent do you wear? How can you bring more of what you love into your life?

Be more of you.

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I used to want to be a French woman and live in Paris and then I grew up and realised that I had access to both inside of me. It’s in the choices we make and in our intention to experience life with sensuality, pleasure and flair.

These days I love being a French woman. I love laying on the long chair by the window with a mango green tea and nothing else to do. I love stopping to inhale every rose I pass. I love tidying up and getting dressed and made up before I start my work. I love gesturing wildly with my nails done. I love wearing that knotted scarf around my neck as I walk the streets of Paris. And it feels wonderful to sit at a sidewalk café with a frothy espresso and a pistachio raspberry tart and watch the passing people as I whisk up their stories. Because what is life if not this?

So mes amies, I’d love to hear from you. Please tell me in the comments below :

What clothes make you feel good? What are your favourite flowers? How do you love to relax? What’s your drink? What scent do you wear? How can you bring more of what you love into your life?

If you would love to BE the woman YOU love while creating your beautiful life, click here to find out HOW.

Create your Beautiful Life

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