France | Life + Culture

10 French Lifestyle Tips To Steal For A Happier Life

France has a long-standing history of rich culture, delicious pastries, stylish clothes, and grand architecture…the list is endless. But perhaps what stands out the most is the French lifestyle and the very chic women of the country. Polished and confident at every step of the way, French women have a way of carrying themselves that sets them apart. 

Andi with book on French fashion

The French lifestyle is formed with tiny habits that are practiced every day from a young age, so much so that they become second nature. The allure of French women may be hard to beat but there are ways to borrow some of these habits and build your appeal over time.

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French Lifestyle Tips to Steal

If you’ve been to France, you already know the importance of people-watching, but you don’t need to travel to Paris to do this at home. Take some time out of your itinerary, or your day, to just sit down and look at the people walking by. There are so many details you can pick up by simply observing the way the people walk, where they shop, the way they interact with people around them, and most importantly, the way they carry themselves through their surroundings.

Andi Resting on Paris Bench
people watching on Le Ponts des Arts

While in Paris becoming an observer allows you to pick up tiny details and uncover the so-called ‘secrets’ that make French women fascinating. From all my previous rounds of people-watching on many terraces and benches, here are a few lifestyle tips I picked up that genuinely make a difference in my daily life.

Be confident in your own skin

Clothes, makeup, and accessories all come second. The most important tip to living a happier life is confidence. Yes, you have your flaws (who doesn’t?), but instead of running away from them, embrace them and live your life around them.

girl looking out from a table

One of the best ways to be more confident is to go to a cafe or a restaurant, without anyone accompanying you. Allow yourself to settle in your skin without anything to distract you like your phone or a book. There’s no need to feel awkward because there will be times when you’re all alone and you have to learn to be content with yourself.

Fix that posture

Have you ever noticed yourself walking with slumped shoulders? It’s often involuntary like we’re scared of occupying more space than necessary. A part of being more confident is not being afraid of taking up space in everyday life. Open up those shoulders and walk with purpose. There should be no shuffling, no slouching.

young woman making okay sign

Be mindful of your posture and correct it whenever you find yourself hunching into yourself. A good posture is sure to give you a confidence boost and will add a little bounce to your step.

Develop a Signature Style

Clothes are a big part of building your confidence, and as such, devote some time to developing your signature style. Think of it as your uniform – when you know what looks good on you and what fit flatters your body, the task of shopping and deciding what to wear every day becomes a piece of cake.

woman walking down the street with coffee

Create your signature style and make sure it’s comfy enough to wear every day and chic enough to work for different occasions. Now all you have to do is replicate your style day in and day out. Don’t hesitate to experiment as you never know what interesting finds you may stumble upon.

Invest in quality over quantity

Remember, quality over quantity. And yes, yes it is a cliche we all grew up listening to, but it stands true in this case. It is far better to have fewer good quality clothes that you will wear again and again rather than having shelves full of pieces that you barely even look at.

2 women shopping

French women have it all sorted, thanks to their small Parisian wardrobes, it is next to impossible to have anything other than a chic capsule collection where most things can be matched with several other pieces.

I have written more articles on this topic, find them here:

Build your life outside work

There is a big difference between simply making a living and having a life. The French are keen on ensuring a healthy work-life balance and know when to disconnect from their screens. The best way to practice this is by not living to work.

older woman walking with map

Take time off, avoid eating on the go, and invest in self-care routines. Have hobbies that you dedicate time to, get together with friends for casual meals, and learn to explore your city more.

Portions and movements

France has some of the most delicious pastries and fluffy croissants that quite a few people have for breakfast. I’ve seen a lot of Parisians eat full meals and drink a glass of wine and also stay fit with all this food around them. It is important to be mindful of what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. Moderation is the key, so if you’re having that pain au chocolat for breakfast, make sure you add proteins and veggies to your other meals.

girl on a bike

Another important factor is being on the move. French cities have a good public transport system and dedicated bike paths. This makes it easy to walk around the city and ride bicycles from one point to another. Walking or biking is grilled into their daily routine and sometimes, this high-intensity workout is all they need to burn off those calories.

Cook by the season

French savoir-faire has several traditions but one of the most important ones is to cook and eat by the season. In France, fresh produce is bought and sold based on the seasons which is why you would often see French supermarkets filled with a smaller selection of fruits and vegetables.

Paris Rue Poncelet Market

No matter what corner of the world you live in, take the time to learn what produce each season brings. Not only would you add quality and different tastes to your meals but also support your local community and farmers’ markets.

Prioritize Self-Care

Every French woman has a self-care routine that she strictly adheres to. It is baked into their culture and an important part of their daily lives. Take time out for yourself to do the things you enjoy, be it sitting and reading or hiking and exploring.

woman resting on a couch

Feed your mind and body, and let them rest equally. Sometimes, it can be as easy as getting out of your apartment and changing the scenery. Get a good night’s sleep, step away from the hustle and limit your screen time- it will do wonders for you.

Learn to say no

The French people know how to dress well and how to enjoy life, but if nothing else, they know how to say no. They know how to set boundaries and do not hesitate to just shrug their shoulders and walk away. It might seem off-putting but it is their way of playing it safe and protecting themselves.

female hands saying no

So, you need to learn to say no without feeling guilty. It takes some time but once you get the hang of it, see how balanced you feel in all aspects of your life.

Create your Sunday routines

The art of French Sundays is a notorious concept that often leaves travelers and tourists disappointed. Quite a few restaurants, supermarkets, and shops are closed because Sundays in France are reserved for families and doing nothing, aka relaxing at home. Many families have long meals together where conversations and drinks have a steady flow.

family eating a meal together

Make your Sundays slower than the rest of the week and catch up on some family time or self-care. Don’t make plans, so you can have time on your hands. Time to eat, time to sleep, time to just ‘be’.

If you enjoyed this article, check out How to Embrace Your Inner French Girl

How about you? Have you adopted lifestyle changes from other cultures (or maybe from your own family’s heritage)? I’d love for you to share!

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9 Comments

  1. These are all great tips. Some of them I even practice. I’m curious what other differences there are in other cultures.

  2. The French lifestyle is so beautiful! I do some of these but will have to work on incorporating some others! Thank you for sharing!