How to Adopt a French Lifestyle without Trying Too Hard

Living in France can sometimes feel like you’re living in a fairy tale. From the charming streets to the delicious food and wine, it’s no wonder that many people dream of adopting a French lifestyle. 

But how do you achieve that effortless chic and laid-back attitude without completely changing your entire life? Well, fear not my fellow Francophiles, I’ve got 29 French lifestyle tips for you to adopt a French lifestyle without trying too hard.

Having lived in Europe for over 10 years, I’ve been traveling to France quite often, and have picked up on some habits and behaviors that can help you embrace the French way of life, regardless of where you live or how much French you actually speak.

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1. Enjoy Leisurely Meals

Embrace the French art of savoring meals by taking your time to eat and appreciate each bite. Slow eating, as opposed to fast and rushed meals, is a key aspect of French culture. Not only does it allow you to truly enjoy your food, but it also aids in digestion and promotes healthy eating habits.

You don’t have to cook a fancy meal or have a three-course dinner every day to enjoy the art of slow eating! But try to make an effort to sit down and enjoy your meals without any distractions. 

Turn off the TV, put away your phone, and focus on the flavors and textures of your food. Bonus points if you have a glass of wine to accompany your meal!

2. Prioritize Fresh Ingredients

French cuisine is all about using fresh, high-quality ingredients. This means incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet and avoiding processed foods.

Take a trip to your local farmers’ markets or grocery store and choose ingredients that are in season. Not only will this improve the taste of your meals, but it also supports local farmers and reduces your carbon footprint.

Even if your budget or schedule doesn’t allow for daily trips to the market or daily fresh food, aim to have at least one fresh ingredient in each meal.

Foe example, you have have fresh baguettes and croissants for breakfast, a hearty salad with locally grown vegetables for lunch, and a simple yet delicious homemade ratatouille for dinner.

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3. Befriend Your Local Boulangerie

Since we were talking baguettes, let’s talk about the importance of having a local boulangerie (bakery) in your life. 

In France, bakeries are an essential part of daily life and serve as a community hub where people gather to catch up and grab their daily bread.Visit your neighborhood bakery for fresh bread and pastries.

So instead of grabbing a pre-packaged loaf from the supermarket, make it a habit to visit your local bakery for fresh bread and pastries. 

Not only will you taste the difference, but you’ll also support small businesses. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly baked bread in the morning! 

4. Art de la Table

Invest in quality tableware and arrange it beautifully when setting the table for meals. This may seem like a small detail, but it’s an important aspect of French lifestyle.

The way you present your food and set the table shows that you value the experience of dining and appreciate good food. Plus, it makes even the simplest meals feel more special.

Vintage plates and mismatched cutlery are a common sight in French homes, so don’t be afraid to mix and match your tableware for a unique touch.

So ditch the plain white plates and add some character to your dinner table with colorful dishes, patterned napkins, and statement serving trays. And don’t forget to light a candle or two for the perfect ambiance!

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5. Cook Homemade Meals

You don’t have to cook like a Michelin-star chef, but making an effort to cook homemade meals is another important aspect of French lifestyle. Not only is it healthier and more cost-effective, but it also allows you to be creative and experiment with different flavors.

Don’t worry if you’re not a master chef – there are plenty of simple yet delicious French recipes out there that you can try. And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not take a cooking class to learn some new skills and techniques?

Also, if you’re into hosting dinner parties, embrace the French tradition of potluck-style gatherings where everyone brings a dish to share. It’s a great way to try new dishes and bond with friends over good food.

6. Cheese Tasting

There is no denying that French cheese is some of the best in the world. And luckily, you don’t have to be in France to enjoy a delicious cheese platter.

Take a trip to your local cheese shop or supermarket and try different types of French cheeses – from creamy brie to tangy goat cheese. Pair it with some fresh bread, fruits, and nuts for the ultimate French cheese experience.

You can also attend a cheese tasting event or host your own with friends. It’s a fun and delicious way to learn more about the different types of cheeses and their origins.

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7. Wine Appreciation

You don’t have to be a connoisseur to appreciate a good glass of wine. In France, wine is an integral part of meals and social gatherings.

Take some time to learn about different types of wine and try new varieties. And remember, it’s not about the price or brand, but finding one that you truly enjoy. 

You don’t need to buy that fancy, high-priced bottle to have a great wine experience! Instead, visit your local wine shop and ask for recommendations based on your preferences.

Next time you’re at a dinner party or out for a meal, offer to bring a bottle of wine and impress your friends with your knowledge. Santé!

8. Culinary Adventures

I know, I know. It’s already point # 8 and I’m still writing about food. But trust me, it’s a big part of the French lifestyle, and it’s truly something you can’t miss out on!

One of the best ways to embrace French culture is through culinary adventures. Try your hand at French cooking with classic recipes like coq au vin or ratatouille. 

Attend a cooking class, visit a winery, or even take a food tour in France. Oh, and don’t forget to indulge in some French delicacies like macarons, croissants, and crêpes. You can thank me later!

Let yourself immerse in the local cuisine and culture for a truly unforgettable experience. And please, for a moment in your life, forget about the calories. Life is too short to not enjoy a delicious, buttery croissant! 

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9. Café Culture

Coffee and the cafés are a quintessential part of French culture. All the times I stayed in Paris, I’d make a point to go to my favorite café every morning for breakfast.

Not only is the coffee delicious, but there’s something special about sitting at a charming outdoor table, sipping your caffeine fix while watching the world pass by. So, I guess the key here is not just the coffee but also the experience of slowing down and people-watching. 

If you really don’t have time to sit down for a coffee, try making it at home. Get yourself a fancy French press and make your mornings a little bit more Parisian. And don’t forget a fresh croissant from your local bakery to complete the experience!

10. Dress with Confidence

Not all the time, but most of us can agree that Parisian women, or French women in general, have an effortless and timeless style. They may look like they just threw on a simple outfit, but it’s actually well thought out and put together. In an effortless-looking way, of course.

So how do you achieve that? First of all, invest in quality basics. A well-fitting white t-shirt, a classic trench coat, and a good pair of jeans can go a long way. And the key here is not to follow trends blindly but to find what works for your body and personal style.

Focus on quality over quantity. Instead of buying a lot of cheap trendy pieces, invest in classic and versatile items that can be dressed up or down, and don’t be afraid to mix high-end pieces with more affordable ones. 

And of course, invest in a red lipstick that makes you feel confident and chic. Because as they say in France, “a red lipstick a day keeps the bad mood away.” Or something like that. 

The quiet luxury and confidence that French women possess is something we can all strive for in our own style, no matter where we live in the world.

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11. Daily Walks or Bike

When possible, try to incorporate daily walks or bike rides into your routine. In France, it’s common for people to walk or bike to run errands, go shopping, or just explore their neighborhoods.

Not only is it a great way to stay active and get some fresh air, but it also allows you to slow down and appreciate your surroundings. Plus, you never know what hidden gems you may discover along the way!

Incorporate short daily walks into your routine, even if it’s just around the block, can have a positive impact on both your physical and mental well-being. Embrace the French way of life – take time to enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

12. Cultural Exploration

There’s no better way to understand a culture than by immersing yourself in it! But, if traveling to France and settle down there is on your list (yet) then don’t worry, you can still experience French culture in your own city.

Engage with French literature, films, and art to understand the country’s history and perspectives. Attend cultural events, such as French markets or festivals, to taste traditional food and listen to live music.

You can also join a local French conversation group or take classes to learn the language. Not only will it enhance your understanding of the culture, but it will also open up new opportunities for travel and friendships in the future.

And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not take a trip to a French-speaking country? It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in the language and culture while satisfying your wanderlust. Bon voyage!  

13. Sundays Off

Set aside Sundays for relaxation and spending time with family and friends. We all know so well the daily hustle and bustle of life, so it’s important to take a break and recharge.

In France, Sundays are typically reserved for leisurely meals, taking walks, and spending quality time with loved ones. So why not adopt this tradition for yourself?

Take a day off from your busy schedule and disconnect from the stressors of everyday life. Spend some time outdoors, have a picnic, or simply relax at home with a good book. Use this day to recharge and prepare for the week ahead.

And remember, it’s not just about taking a break from work, but also from technology. So put away your phone and enjoy some quality time with yourself and others. Trust me, your mind and body will thank you.

14. Embrace Imperfection

One thing I’ve noticed about French culture is that there’s a certain acceptance of imperfection. Whether it’s in their cuisine, style, or lifestyle, the French embrace imperfections and find beauty in them.

So instead of striving for perfection, try to embrace your flaws and imperfections. Embrace the messy hair day, the crooked eyeliner, or even a failed attempt at a French recipe. It’s all part of the adventure and makes life more interesting.

Plus, there’s something liberating about letting go of perfection and just enjoying the moment as it is. So go ahead, embrace your imperfections and live life to the fullest! After all, that’s what French living is all about – finding joy in the little things and imperfections of everyday life.

15. Outdoor Markets

Local outdoor market is really a French way of life. It’s where you can find fresh produce, cheese, bread, flowers, and other locally made goods. And it’s not just for shopping – it’s also a social event.

Take some time to explore your local outdoor markets and support small businesses in your community. Try new foods, interact with vendors, and enjoy the lively atmosphere.

Plus, you’ll feel like a true French local as you stroll through the market with your reusable bag full of goodies. You will feel more connected to your community and the environment by shopping locally and reducing waste.

16. Quality over Quantity

This may apply to many areas of French living, but it especially rings true when it comes to fashion and beauty. Instead of buying a lot of cheap and trendy items, the French value quality over quantity.

Invest in staple pieces that will last for years to come. It may seem like a bigger investment at first, but it will save you money in the long run and help reduce waste from constantly buying new clothes.

The same goes for beauty products, and even furniture! Instead of having a large collection of low-quality items, opt for a few high-quality pieces that will stand the test of time. It’s all about choosing carefully and investing in lasting quality.

17. Picnics

One of the very French things I spotted during my vacations there during summer is that picnics are very much a part of their lifestyle. Whether it’s in the park, by the river or in the countryside, you’ll find people enjoying a picnic with friends or family.

Pack some baguette, cheese, fruit, and wine (of course) and head to your nearest park for a relaxing afternoon. It’s a great way to enjoy the outdoors and slow down your day.

Plus, you’ll feel like a true Parisian with your chic picnic setup. It’s all about embracing simplicity and enjoying the little things in life. So grab a blanket, some snacks, and soak up the French way of life – one picnic at a time. 

18. Take Time to Relax

Prioritize self-care and relaxation, such as bubble baths or reading a good book. It doesn’t have to be on a Sunday, but find a moment in your week to unwind and pamper yourself.

In France, relaxation is seen as essential for maintaining a healthy and happy lifestyle. So take a page out of their book and make time for self-care routines!

You could also incorporate simple everyday routines and rituals into your routine, such as drinking tea in the morning or taking a walk after dinner. These small moments of calm can make a big difference in your overall well-being.

And remember, it’s not and will never be selfish to put yourself first sometimes. In fact, it’s necessary for a balanced and fulfilling life. So take care of yourself, because you deserve it! 

19. Linger Over Conversations

The French – they talk a lot and talk so fast that sometimes it almost sounds like they’re singing instead. But one thing I’ve noticed is that they never seem to be in a hurry when it comes to conversations.

Instead of rushing through small talk, the French take their time and truly engage in conversation with others. They value deep connections and meaningful interactions.

Engage in meaningful conversations with friends and family over a cup of coffee, and really listen to what they have to say. It’s a great way to strengthen relationships and learn from others.

So next time you’re catching up with a friend, take your time and enjoy the conversation. You’ll see how much more fulfilling it can be when you’re not in a rush. 

20. Visit Museums

Spend time at art galleries and museums to immerse yourself in French culture and history. It’s a great way to learn about the country, its people, and their values.

Depending on where you live, there may be museums dedicated to French art and history. You can also visit virtual exhibits or attend events at your local French cultural center.

And if you have the opportunity, why not plan a trip to France and visit some of their famous museums like the Louvre or Musée d’Orsay? It’s an experience you won’t forget! 

Étretat in Normandy (France)

21. Appreciate Nature

Nature is an important part of the French lifestyle. From their beautiful gardens to their love for outdoor activities, the French truly appreciate nature and its beauty.

Take a cue from them and spend some time outdoors – whether it’s going for a hike, having a picnic, or simply taking a stroll through your local park. You’ll feel more connected to the world around you and find inner peace.

And if you have the chance to visit France, be sure to explore the stunning French countryside and natural landmarks. It’s a great way to appreciate the beauty of nature and the diversity of our world. You’ll understand why nature is such a big part of their culture. 

22. Find Joy in Simple Things

The French have a saying, “joie de vivre,” which translates to “joy of living.” And this is exactly what the French do – find joy in everyday life.

Whether it’s savoring a delicious meal, enjoying a cup of coffee, or simply having a nice conversation with your neighbor, the French know how to appreciate the little things.

So instead of constantly chasing big achievements or material possessions, take a step back and find joy in simple things. You’ll be surprised at how much happiness it can bring to your life.

23. Use Natural Skincare

While France is the birthplace of many luxury skincare brands, they also value natural and simple beauty routines. Many French women opt for simple ingredients like honey or rose water for their skincare.

So, try to incorporate some natural elements into your own beauty routine, whether it’s using a homemade face mask or switching to natural and organic products.

Not only is it better for your skin, but it also aligns with the French philosophy of simplicity and appreciating natural beauty. Plus, it’s a fun way to experiment with DIY skincare recipes! 

But of course, if you’re not a big fan of DIY, there are many natural and organic skincare brands available that follow the French approach to beauty. So give them a try and see the difference it makes for your skin. 

24. Learn to Love the Rain

Have you heard the word “petrichor”? It’s the scent that lingers in the air after it rains. The earthy and refreshing smell that instantly lifts your mood.

In France, they have a word for this too – “l’odeur de la pluie” (the smell of rain). This scent is often associated with a sense of freshness, renewal, and the beauty of nature. 

It is a widely appreciated and nostalgic aroma, evoking feelings of comfort and connection to the natural world. Many people in France, as in other cultures, find this scent to be soothing and invigorating.

So next time it rains, open your windows and let the smell of petrichor fill your home. Or better yet, take a walk outside and embrace the beauty of the rain. 

25. Buy Yourself Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers are a staple in French homes. Whether it’s a bouquet of roses or a simple bunch of wildflowers, having fresh flowers in your home can instantly uplift your mood and bring some life into your space.

During winter, when there are fewer flowers available, the French often opt for potted plants or fragrant candles to bring a touch of nature indoors.

You don’t have to wait for someone else to buy you flowers – treat yourself! It’s a small act of self-love that can make a big difference in how you feel.

So treat yourself to some fresh flowers every now and then. It’s a small gesture that can bring beauty and joy into your home. Plus, it’s another way to appreciate nature and its wonders. 

26. Nap Time

Like many other countries in the Mediterranean, France also has a tradition of the afternoon siesta or “la sieste.” This is a time to rest and recharge in the middle of the day.

While this may not be feasible for everyone, finding time for a short nap can do wonders for your energy levels and overall well-being. Even just 20 minutes can improve cognitive function and productivity.

If you live in countries where they don’t have the tradition of an afternoon siesta, try incorporating a short nap into your daily routine. It can be a little break from your busy day and give you the energy to tackle the rest of it with renewed vigor. 

If you have to work or study during the day, try taking a power nap during your lunch break. Find a quiet and comfortable spot, set an alarm for 20-30 minutes, and allow yourself to rest and recharge.

Just be careful not to nap for too long as it may disrupt your sleep schedule at night. But finding time for a short afternoon nap can definitely improve your overall well-being and productivity. 

27. Invest in A Favorite Candle

Not just any old candle, but high-quality, luxury candles that fill the room with delicious scents. Adopting this French lifestyle habit will not only add an elegant touch to your home, but it will also help create a relaxing and cozy atmosphere.

One of the most famous luxury candle brands in France is Diptyque, with their iconic oval-shaped jars and unique scents like Baies (berries) and Figuier (fig tree). Other popular options include Cire Trudon, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, and Astier de Villatte.

Lighting a Diptyque candle instantly transports you to a Parisian apartment, sipping on a café au lait while enjoying the view of the Eiffel Tower. 

If you have a chance to visit Paris, drop by their boutique in Saint-Germain-des-Prés to pick out your favorite scent. And if not, many of these luxury candle brands are available online for purchase as well.

28. Age Gracefully

We women often dread the signs of aging – fine lines, wrinkles, gray hair. But in France, they embrace it.

The French have a saying “Jeune fille le jour, femme la nuit” (girl during the day, woman at night), meaning that women can still be playful and youthful during the day but embrace their maturity and femininity at night.

Instead of trying to hide or fight the signs of aging, embrace them. Let your age reflect your life experiences and wisdom. And remember, there’s nothing more beautiful than a woman who is confident and comfortable in her own skin.

So next time you see a wrinkle or gray hair, think of it as a badge of honor rather than something to be ashamed of. Aging gracefully is key to adopting the French lifestyle. 

29. Learn some French

Last but certainly not least, if you’re serious about adopting a French lifestyle, why not learn the language? Not only will it make your trips to France more enjoyable, but it will also give you a deeper understanding of French culture and help you connect with locals on a whole new level.

There are plenty of resources available for learning French, from online courses to in-person classes. You can even try practicing with native speakers through conversation exchange programs or language learning apps.

Don’t worry if you struggle at first. Learning a new language can be challenging, but it’s also incredibly rewarding. Plus, think of all the delicious French food you’ll be able to order without having to rely on Google Translate!

Before You Go…

Learning how to adopt a French lifestyle habits is not about trying to be someone you’re not. It’s about incorporating small habits and mindset shifts into your daily routine that can bring more joy, beauty, and simplicity into your life.

Next time you find yourself rushing around or feeling stressed, take a moment to slow down and breathe. Appreciate the simple pleasures – the smell of petrichor, the beauty of fresh flowers, the taste of a croissant. 

These are the things that make life in France so special and can bring a little bit of “je ne sais quoi” into your own life too!

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