A Guide to Practicing Self-Love Like a French Woman

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How have French women nailed the art of authentic self-care?

With its morning cafes, slanted rooftops, and delicate pastries, the city of Paris is as charming as daily life can be. Visit once, and the sites and aromas will linger throughout your lifetime. There is something undeniably beguiling about the culture, architecture, and of course, the women. French women give meaning to the phrase je ne sais quoi, that one little something you can’t quite articulate. It’s what makes them confident, alluring, and downright enviable. Since it’s V-day, I’m gifting you the secret to the femme Parisienne. It’s called self-love. While we’ve only just discovered it, French women have been practicing it since girlhood. Here are some fun ways to practice self-love like a French woman.

Create your own retreat

Even if you live in a tiny New York City apartment, the easily accessible world of escapism is wide and plentiful. And before you grab your cell phone, I’m not talking about Instagram. The simple act of lighting candles and turning on soft music, for example, can instantly change your environment into one of sophistication and romance. Enhance the moment by connecting with yourself physically and mentally. Spray lavender on your pillow and acquiesce to equanimity; write in your journal; read a book. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something that makes you happy.

Embrace your imperfections

Bathrooms can be the worst if they’re only viewed as the place to cover up and hide blemishes on your face and skin. However, if you start treating them as a space where you worship yourself for the goddess you are, bathrooms become sacred. If you take a peek into the medicine cabinet of any French woman, you’ll find rows of luxuriant skincare products and perfumes. Their signature look is a red lip and mascara because they take care of their faces and bodies and prefer a simplified, chic look. Appreciate everything that’s unique about yourself, and you’ll be acting like a French femme in no time.

Just don’t give a d*mn

French women have created an art to subtlety. They make themselves known in a soundless, cat-like way. Their less-is-more clothing style translates to personality as well; they don’t overcomplicate things. French women are prudent, poised, and mysterious. Before agreeing to plans or doing someone a favor, allow yourself to take a beat in order to understand if whatever’s on the table serves your best interest. Saying no isn’t rude; it’s self-preservation, and it really is that simple.

Indulge without guilt

One stark difference between American and French women is guilt. American women are always complaining about their weight and shaming themselves for things they shouldn’t. If you want the extra piece of cake at the party, take it! And if you do, don’t feel badly about it. Enjoy every morsel of sweetness and forkful of joy. French women satisfy their cravings with croissants, wine, and chocolate, and don’t guilt-trip over it when they do. They eat what they want in moderation.

There are a myriad of beauty products, diets, and skincare routines that magazines promise will enhance our features, trim our waistlines, and make us flawless. While it’s fun to entertain these tips and tricks, nothing compares to the magic of inner beauty. Happiness is the secret behind every French woman’s mysterious smile because she pleases herself in all the ways she wants. There’s nothing sexier than that.

Header image illustrated by Marcy Gooberman

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