Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What French Women Know

Sometimes publishers send me books about the French woman...Yesterday I took a second look at What French Women Know...thinking it would be another book telling unsavvy Americains how to tie our scarves and eat leek soup daily - mais non!I was completely engaged. Granted the French woman does think differently. Very differently.French women start thinking differently in kindergarden - books on philosophy for kids at the Paris Salon de Livre. I was amazed.French women look different from us and they get the training early... Why can they pull off messy hair better than anybody else? Because a hairdresser creates this, not sleeping in. They put on our jeans and look so darn chic! Parisianne Anne says I mustn't say chic, but rather 'c'est classe'. Chic is passe...French women put on OUR Converse (baskets) and look so much better! Heck
Being de classe isn't an age thing.
For the French woman
Debra Oliver's book is not so caught up in these superficial, surfacy details, but it's thought provoking. It just came out, so au courant.
There is one thing we women agree upon, French and Americain.
What do you think about French women? Are you in awe?


  1. Heather10:40 AM

    I ordered this and listen to it on my commute daily....I love this book.
    I am still here in New York for a year now:0)
    I am going to LA though for a few days next week and was putting on my Calendar to
    see her talk at Book Soup in LA next week literally as I received you morning gift.

  2. I have to read this now... learn to shrug a bit more, get more comfortable with my messy fact cultivate it...they seem to be born with a natural sense of c'est normal, unflappable je ne sais crois pas.. no matter what as long as the croissants are fresh and the clothes fit well....
    Hm. I am even looking for ballerina flats this season...hmph.

  3. I love Debra Ollivier... she really hits the nail on the head with regards to what give French women that je ne sais quoi. I love her book Entre Nous and am definitely ordering this one from Amazon. Thanks for the review and the lovely pictures!

  4. Hmm, I will have to check this book out. I'm obsessed with the French and French women - why exactly are they so much more chic and ageless?

  5. were the double-lettered misspellings intentional?
    great blog!

  6. recommend (reccommend) and obsessed (obbssessed)

    i'm not trying to pick nits... i thought maybe i missed something.

  7. Very cute post! (I'm glad that you kept the swearing to a minimum!)
    I love the messy hair shot - but that bike has to be the ugliest one ever seen!
    (I'll buy you a yellow marker - the recession is over.)

  8. Anne-Marie1:21 PM

    Hmmmm....yes I wanna be...
    But where are the Frenchmen to fully appreciate my transformation into a mature, wise elegant woman???

  9. My daughter who lives in Paris says they look that way because they eat like birds and drink water at a fast rate of knots. de classe or chic IT WORKS.

  10. Carol, you are so right about it being ageless. Last winter when I was in Paris, I was struck dumb by this elderly, white-haired French woman dressed to go out into the cold and rainy night. She was the personification of elegance in her long, fitted black coat; long elegant scarf (bien sur); fitted boots and little hat. I was wearing a black coat and long scarf and black shoes and I felt so unkempt next to her. That is so unfair. I will definitely get this book!

  11. I hope that you will take a look at pollyvousfrancais and read about how this author lifted an entire vignette on French flirting from Polly's blog.

    Perhaps Heather can ask her about this when she sees her at the book signing????

  12. Love these books. I also had some great macarons yesterday!

  13. Mon Dieu, reading your post, I feel ashamed to be a French woman!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. I'm going to order this book! I'm so trying to think like a French woman, they seem so healthy to me. I just finished a Leek detox and feel great. (can you believe 2days of leeks and I'm having a cup of the soup for lunch today with my salad, just because I'm craving it! I'm scaring myself!)

    I enjoy reading the 'how to be french books' so I think I will really like this one!

  15. How is it possible I've never visited you?

    Yes, I love Paris, yes I love Frenchwomen and yes they think differently than we do and that's what makes them sooooo fascinating.

    On our first meeting I probably shouldn't tell you this, because you might hate me and delete my comments in the future when I come back to visit -- which I will-- but, you asked above for French corrections (you haven't made any errors I can find, but then again I make mistakes every day so what do I know?) and from the point of view of speaking excellent, refined, bien élève French (everything IS a matter of "class" in France as you no doubt know) one never says one has "de classe" it's considered ordinaire which is the worst sin of all. If it's used to be branché, that's another story.

    Do you hate me now?

    Your blog is wonderful and your paintings absolutely lovely. Paris should be having a love affair with you.

    Best regards,

  16. I love this post!! As the American-born daughter of a long line of stylish and independent French women, I also think about this quite a bit. I feel lucky to have a bit of them in me (even when America turns against the French, as it does every so often).
    And you've piqued my curiosity...I'll have to look up this book.

  17. btw, that woman with the piled hair and gorgeous nose....just stunning. She's a greek statue come to life.

  18. OMG, I should never have sent my message above. I just start pressing buttons before my brain -- or good manners I guess in this case -- checks in.

    Never mind about what I said, except for all the good stuff of course.

    Your blog is wonderful.

  19. I think I am in awe of them because they can speak French and live in/near Paris :)

  20. Anonymous8:06 PM

    I must read this. When I was in France I thought the women were stunning.

  21. I loved Olivier's other frenchie book-- such a fun and interesting read. I must go get a copy of this new one! I'm so glad you posted about it.

  22. Hello Parisbreakfast!
    Thank you for this post. Yes, to saluting French Women! I'm waiving my flag here, beside you!

    We can learn from French women, I think.

    Will look into Debra Ollivier's book. The main thing is to be happy and Live WELL, no matter where we are on earth!! To have the beauty that shines from within, like you.


  23. I am a "book wrecker" as well and think that a marked up book is a great recommendation. What French Women Know sounds like a good read. Will get my pen ready. (My favorite pens to mark up a book are LePen by Marvy - available in lots of colors)

  24. I find always quite funny/interesting this French women perception (and yes I am one, but expatriate)...but you got me interested to find out about the book :)))

  25. Céline6:13 AM

    Hello !
    This mail to say that I love your blog.
    I am French and I'm very fond of your ideas.
    Thank you so moch for this !
    à bientôt !

  26. I returned from Paris and immediatley bought a pair of 'shoetees,' similar to what I saw several Parisiennes wearing. Magnifique!

  27. I can't tell you how lovely it was to read this post on such a gloomy day here in the States. I love Paris and always wonder what it is about the women that give them that extra something special.

    I'm going to go out and get this book immediately - thanks for the suggestion.

  28. And what you all think about French Men. Did Debra write a book about us?
    Waiting for your opinion. Maybe you could write one.....
    a bientôt

  29. Anonymous9:23 PM

    cute blog!!! xo.

  30. As I sit at my keyboard in my wrinkled t-shirt and baggy yoga pants, I suddenly feel...NOT de classe! :-(

  31. Yes, I loved "What French Women Know," on one level. On another level (completed independent of the blog copyright infringement issue about French Flirting!) when I finished it I felt more miserable as an American woman. As if the only remedy were to drain all my American DNA and substitute it with Frenchwoman DNA. Arrgh! Unless all American males read the book and got it! French women are gorgeous, chic, intelligent and alluring, but we American women ain't so bad either!

    It is highly intelligent and very well written. But it is pointedly NOT about how to tie your scarves or put on lipstick, or anything else superficial. Which is both good and bad.

    Thanks for a sweet blog post, though, and I know we'll all continue the fascination with French women.

  32. I suggest this book be required reading for every American woman. I just saw Debra Oliver on Rachel Ray, I've read the book(and I'm a man)and I now look at French women in a whole new perspective. Women seem to grow up in France with the same mindset as American men- they're not influenced by what is considered "popular"(there is no French word for popular), they engage in relationships with the journey in mind and not the destination(they're not so hung up on having every relationship ending in marriage), and they accept their physical appearance for what it is and they're not influenced by society(which is something American women should really learn to do!). What an excellent book with excellent tips for American women. Bravo!

  33. Hello,

    I couldn't put the book down. I am getting myself a yellow marker, and then I'm gonna read it again. The best part is that this woman knows her stuff. She sites history, philosophers, other novels. Wow. I discovered that I'm a closeted French woman, and not just cause I like men a lot, a lot!


  34. Anonymous5:24 PM

    A lovely post! I stumbled onto this site searching for reviews of Ollivier's book. Not quite what I expected, but I enjoyed it so much. Your pictures of les macarons are delightful (and fiendishly tantalizing).

    One little correction: c'est "au courant," non? "currant" is a small berry, in either language.


Love hearing from you