Friday, March 12, 2010

The French Way

I am staying with a Fr girl in Paris. We met 2 years ago in NYC.

Fr Girl writes to me:
Dear Macaron girl,
Oh btw, when you are here, we will do things The American way. You do as if you were in your home. You open the fridge, put in tons of macarons. Eat in the kitchen. Use everything you funny!!!!
American girl arrives Sunday morning.
 Fr girl announces her friends are joining us at noon for lunch in Chinatown.
At 12:06: American girl famished from long plane trip says,
"Where are your friends...ahem?"
At 1:06: American girl says,
" you think we should call your friends? Maybe they are lost?"
At 1:30:American girl is dying to look in the fridge for macarons.
At 2:15 friends arrive on time .
This is The French way.
American girl is leaving for Sonia Rykiel show.
Fr girl politely asks: "Are you taking that bag with you?"
The American Way:
"You are not leaving the house with that horror!"
Fr Girl has a snack The French Way: She eats 2 potato chips, with a naughty smile and folds the bag away.
The American way: Devour entire bag mindlessly instantly.
Fr Girl eats her petit dej' of two slices of toast slathered thickly with beurre de Normandie, honey and drinks some tea.
One has to wonder how Fr Girl fits into her complicated, witty skirts that only a French girl could wear? It's beyond me.

In the morning (5am) I'm at the computer, headphones on, working on my blog post, humming merrily away to Whatchasay.
Fr Girl is suddenly standing in the doorway in her PJs.
"Your singing is waking me up!"
Fr Girl does her blog posts the evening before like any sane Fr person.
Fr Girl is off to Carnaval in Limoux Thursday night, so she warns,
"French people sleep in on the weekends.
No loud singing SVP!"
On Thursday I go to my macaron class at the Ritz.
I see deux mecs/2 guys standing in chefs jackets yacking in English. I ask them,
"How do I find the class?"
They respond The French way,
then lead me down to the Ritz kitchen.
At reception 2 Fr women look at my facture and remark, giggling, "But your class is next week!"
Eeep...I did not read the fine print.

I remember author Elizabeth Bard is doing a reading/book signing of Lunch in Paris at W.H.Smith just up the street on rue Cambon.
Elizabeth has a delightful way of recounting her experiences of The French Way. She met a Fr guy in Paris and married him. Elizabeth's French mother-in-law/belle mere is eternally thin and fits into skirts she wore in high school. She never snacks between meals and at the beach only brings a bottle of water.

Elizabeth describes her French husband at breakfast:
He leisurely makes coffee, sits down, reads his paper perhaps, surrounded by chaos, yet ignoring it
The French way. I know you'll enjoy her book.
Wednesday night, Fr Girl says,
"OK I am going away tomorrow.
Tonight we eat The French way.
After, you can do what you want."
She takes away my soup pot, puts the computer on the floor, lays down a linen tablecloth and silverware. Soup is served in a proper bowl. Then she sits down and joins me for dinner The French way and heaves a sigh of relief.
Fr Girl's parting words:
"Don't burn down the house."
This is a universal sentiment.
So whatchasay? Have you experienced
The French Way?


  1. Ah, The French civilized, non? :)

  2. Wow, you have greater coping skills than I do :)
    That soup looks good, but perhaps a bit more of it would make it better!
    Have fun......

  3. Carol - thank you so much for coming last night. It was terrific to meet you! If I may, I'm going to steal one of your wonderful photos of the reading for the Lunch in Paris facebook page! EB x

  4. after a long exhausting trip from london to paris, we arrived in paris later than planned....but the owner of the flat we were renting for a week arranged for a friend of his to meet us that night at the flat, to turn over the keys....and there on the dining room table was the most beautiful and fragrant bouquet of fresh's THE FRENCH WAY.....

  5. Oh, so ur in Paris having fun !? Enjoy !

  6. Carol, I was so very happy to meet you last night! What a wonderful reading and an enjoyable time. (And wheeee! There I am, a tiny bit of me in the pic up there! :D) Many congratulations to Elizabeth Bard for a successful event in Paris to and for her wonderful book (I stayed up until the wee hours reading and then with a little more this morning, I am already halfway through. It is a thoroughly enjoyable book, and all your readers should get it tout de suite!)

    This post (the French Girl parts) cracked me up. French/Parisian Girls: I don't know whether I want to hug them or smack them, lol!!

    They are a unique breed, that is for certain. Thank you for this informative slice-if-life with a French Girl.

    À bientôt!

  7. great commentry and observation on French life (but perhaps I should say Paris as they are a breed apart)! must get back soon! great blog - what a happy find!
    a bientote

  8. Love looking through your blog: we made it our blog of the day here:

  9. Two slices of toast and a cup of tea is to balance out the Nutella and brioche she ate for petite dej when she was younger (and so she can get into that gorgeous skirt!).

    Is it getting warmer up there? It is down here.

  10. Loved to read this (*grins*) and love the skirt too.
    I don't live that far from Paris but I'm very Dutch (the tallest people in the world) and my size is eeeerrrr..... healthy(????) compare to the French.
    Maybe it's because I like a well buttered toast too ;)

  11. Sigrid- they do have very small bones...generations of small bones, I keep telling myself this bien sur...ahem

  12. I very much enjoyed reading this post! Fabulous skirt. I was cracking up picturing you rocking out at 5 a.m. and carrying that bag to French Girl's disdain.

  13. I think french girl and I have the same purse....that has to be a good thing..non?

  14. You visited Elizabeth! Fun. This was hilarious, Carol--so, French Girl didn't know you were a whirling dervish, eh? Sounds like you're having fun. Enjoy!

  15. Ummmmm. French butter.

  16. Great post. I always have to remind myself to say Bonjour before anything else (as you say, it is the French way). I remember being totally confused in Gare Montparnasse very early one morning. I approached the information desk, spit out my question, and the young girl just looked at me and calmly said, Bonjour, with a little smile and said nothing else. I realize my mistake and started again ~ with Bonjour ~ repeated my question and received an answer :-)

  17. William Ternay, Jr.10:34 AM

    (whoops) I meant "Bonjour."
    Yet another great post from our American girl in Paris.
    Thanks for so creatively sharing
    your day & nighttime adventures.
    As you may realize, Carol, you're the closest thing to a "French Girl"
    I have the pleasure of calling a friend.

  18. LOL
    Such a funny post.

    Tell me again when you are publishing a book of your own?

  19. I love this post--and that skirt, that I could never in a million years pull off.
    I love the different ways we do things and how funny it is when we get together!

  20. Yes. I'm much more the French Way than the American Way. And being here in America, this puts me out of step quite often. Maybe this is why I have French friends & others who live more more that way. (Though I am currently working on losing avoirdupois, eep indeed.) But the other stuff made me laugh in recognition. 5AM! Carol, non. Oh wow. I wish I could but no it has to be the evening. I love the skirt...though at moment, it would look terrible on me.

    Lol at the universal 'don't burn down the house...' Someone said that to me in Rome once. (I'm not the type to burn a house down, intentionally or not) but there you are.

    Now off to check out Elizabeth's blog, etc. Anything to delay finding a photograph for blogs.


  21. This was a scream. Plus ca change.....

  22. Fabulous today!
    I loved reading it, thanks again for sharing your Paris adventures :-)

  23. I just wanted to tell you that I love your blog. It is so thorough and inspirational! I have a blog, too, but it is just a few photographs I have been taking during my stay here in Paris. It's at It doesn't compare to yours, though. Great work!

    Best Regards,

  24. Oh my gosh!
    This is the cutest skirt ever! I do have to say that I think the butter does eventually catch up with them......but by then, they don't care ; )~~

  25. Shelley2:21 PM

    Love hearing about daily life, French customs, your schedule, chance interactions. A look into the vitrine of the French soul -- so interesting!

  26. fatbear2:26 PM

    A great post! 3-day guest stay limit, n'est pas?

    And burning down the house...?

    Still doing it, after all these years, with a non-self-reverential sense of style no less - but perhaps not Parisian - live in Italy, 2009

  27. THANKS Fatbear!
    Burning Down The House is now my new/old favorite song!

    Debbie in Toronto-you very well could have the same "City bag" I think it's called from NYC. French Girl said I HAD to have it, but then I just couldn't figure it out and now she is tickled pink :)

    Thank you Alice Media!!

  28. Corinne4:24 PM

    I absolutely love your blog and look forward to it every day. Honestly, it makes me smile every time I read it. What days in May will you be showing in NYC? A friend and I plan on attending your show and I'm trying to book some things around it. Any information would be great.

  29. I just loved this post. I so want to be "that" french girl - no even sure what it means - but your blog captures all I believe what being a non-chalant french woman is. And now thanks to you I want to eat a macaroon - can you believe I've never had one???? Should I wait until I go back to Paris?

  30. Vive la difference! Without it, your French posts would be just boring American posts.

  31. Shirley11:48 PM

    I stumbled onto your blog today when I was doing some reading on Parisian women and their fashion. Hehe! Anyways, I thought I'd let you know that I love your blog! It's very fun!!

  32. french girl: lovely post

    american girl: what???

  33. Deborah12:25 AM

    What a fun Life you have...
    er Way......!?

  34. I used to have a skirt similar to that once upon a time... ah, my skinny days, why did you abandon me? :D

  35. love the blog post, so funny.
    and that skirt is gorgeous.

  36. Saskia1:49 AM

    Dear Carol, I love your blog, it’s wonderful!!! I live in the Netherlands and spend a few weekends each year in Paris and I share your passion for Paris, macarons and …well……everything of the city.
    Many greetings from me, I read your blog with passion, thanks!!!

  37. As always such a fun post. Off to go check out Lunch In Paris.

  38. Ahh, the French butter diet. I'll have to try that one...;)

  39. Hi Carol,

    Glad you are having fun and that you are staying with French Girl!! How cool!

    Hey, I have TOTALLY experienced "Bonjour" the French way... LOTS of times, in fact!!! You know... we Americans (at least maybe me and you) sometimes forget that we must first great everyone with the Bonjour.. before we ask a question! I always forget.. because I always thing that saying, "Excuse me" is good enough... Isn't it like saying" Hello??? Maybe not, apparemment!
    Bon dimanche!

  40. What a great post I enjoyed every word of it!
    A la prochaine fois, desiree

  41. ;o))

    J'aime beaucoup ton blog! Tu me fais rire !

  42. Loved French girl's skirt! Oh for the days of my youth when I could where something like that!
    I spied the Alice in Wonderland music box in the fridge,like the one delivered to me last week! Your's must be filled with macarons,non?

  43. Soo funny! Yes, the French love to create rules ('No eating between meals') but if you notice, they are the first to break them. (One ALWAYS sees French people eating the end of their baguette or a scone or macaron as they walk down the street. I think it should be revised to "French people never eat between meals WHEN INDOORS!".
    Thanks for sharing your humorous French experiences!

  44. So entertaining! I bought Elizabeth Bard's book over the weekend and I can't wait to dig in...the Australian way! ;)

  45. I smiled all the way through this one!

  46. Bonjour!
    I've just found your blog thanks to Karin's post over on her blog (an alien parisienne) and wow! Great reading!
    I used to be like American way (only English way so imagine more prudish, quiet and too polite to say a word type English) and now slowly, I am being Frenchified!!
    I too love that skirt! Also the red coat, that's not very Parisian is it? Normally that all wear black?
    I will be back!

  47. You are so lucky to be able to share the French Way with your new French friend! Wish I could do the same!!

    What a fabulous time you are having!

  48. thanks for linking to this, i missed it the first time and it is was very entertaining. :) p.s. love your red glasses.

  49. Thank you for this blog which is very informative and useful. I can see that you have a real passion for all french things and like sharing it with others. Your paintings are fantastic too! thanks

  50. I was a military wife for many years, and wish the computer/blogging had been available to me then when we lived in Germany/Korea/England. What a wonderful diary I would have had!


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