THE GOOD LIFE BLOG
THE GOOD LIFE BLOG
Picture from article about Audrey Tautou on Wikipedia by Georges Biard
It’s no secret that I love watching movies. When it comes to French movies, Audrey Tautou is one of my favourite actresses. And these are my favourite Audrey Tautou movies.
I have tried making this list without too many spoilers, but there are some – so read on at your own risk.
Movie # 1. Amélie (or Le Fabuleux Destin d’Amélie Poulain)
Many of you may know of this movie, and it may be an obvious choice. But I think it’s a perfectly quirky and charming movie.
Audrey Tautou plays the role of the waitress Amélie Poulain, who has a very active imagination. She is also a bit mischievous, but means well with her actions.
Throughout the movie she tries to help change the lives of her neighbours and others around her for the better.
I don’t want to give away too many details if you haven’t seen the movie yourself, so I’ll just recommend to watch it.
Movie #2. Hunting and Gathering (or Ensemble, c’est tout)
I love all kinds of movies, but I may have a soft spot for romantic films. This is one of those movies I could watch over and over again.
It stars Audrey Tautou as Camille, an artist and cleaning lady, Guillaume Canet as the chef Franck, and Laurent Stocker as Philibert, a postcard salesman.
They all live in the same building and this is how they meet. Camille lives alone in an attic apartment, while Philibert is taking care of an apartment that belonged to a deceased relative. Franck is Philibert’s tenant.
When Camille gets the flu Philibert makes her move in out of concern for her health, to the dismay of Franck. Franck and Camille are a classic example of a "will they or won’t they" couple, and it’s wonderful to see the changes in the characters throughout the movie.
I couldn't resist including the scene below, which I find very sweet.
Movie #3. Beautiful lies (or De vrais mensonges)
This is a good comedy with a touch of romance. It starts with Émilie (Audrey Tatou) passing on a love letter from a co-worker to her mother. Émilie does this to give her mother a little boost after her divorce.
Which of course would be harmless, if it was not for her mother getting excited and expecting more letters.
This means Émilie turns to writing letters herself, and funny intricacies ensue as she has to navigate the entanglements this creates.
Movie #4. Coco Before Chanel (or Coco avant Chanel)
A biographical film starring Audrey Tautou as a young Coco Chanel.
The movie tells the story of how Coco Chanel worked herself up from being an orphan to becoming a successful business woman.
This is simply a great movie. In addition to being a great story, it’s wonderful to see the effort that went into the costumes.
The movie has received critical acclaim, and won the Oscar for Best Costume Design.
Movie #5. Thérèse Desqueyroux
The movie is set in south-west of France in the late 1920s. Audrey Tautou plays the role of Thérèse, the daughter of a wealthy landowner.
She agrees to an arranged marriage to Bernard Desqueyroux, another wealthy landowner. Soon, it is obvious that her new life bores Thérèse, and she needs something to release her from it.
Since I don’t want to give away too much, I recommend that you watch the film yourself to see what happens, but I can tell you that it is an interesting movie. The trailer of the movie that I've included, will certainly give you an idea.
I hope you found this article interesting. If you did, feel free to leave a comment below, and of course share it with someone else who might be interested, too.
Picture from Pinterest
We all know that French women simply nail it when it comes to fashion and beauty, and if you're like me, you would like to know all their secrets about that. But I suspect that you might be just as interested in how they manage to make their homes look so effortlessly chic and comfortable, so that's what we'll take a look at today.
To make it really simple, I'll share with you some design rules that the French live by, and Parisians in particular. Their style is just astonishing. Because they've got it down to a science: Their decorating style is one part casual and one part monarchly elegant. Voilà!
The best part is that you don't need to be rich or live in one of those beautiful old buildings on the rive gauche in Paris to achieve that same look.
But what exactly is a Parisian style?
There's really nothing flashy about it. The walls are mostly painted white or at least in a light color, and the rest of the color palette is also mostly light, but also includes a few darker colors. Examples of light colors that are used the most, are white, beige and grey, and dark colors can be black or blue, but also other colors. Many Parisian apartments also have fishbone-patterned wooden floors, and the French are not afraid of keeping both their walls and floors minimal. If there's any art on the walls at all, it might be one single piece of some size, and it's very often contemporary art.
That being said, the Parisians often decorate their walls with pictures from their travels, or use souvenirs from their travels as beautiful decor elements.
Even though you may say that there's really not ONE particular style that is a Parisian interior style, there are a few very important rules to the Parisian interior decorating style, and these are:
Rule # 1: Quality over quantity
The French generally pay high attention to detail and opt for good quality. They're not afraid to give the furniture "space to breathe", and generally go for a few items of good quality rather than overloading a room. Parisians in particular tend to follow this rule and have less furniture, but the items they do have are of the highest quality that they can afford.
Rule # 2: Don't try too hard!
French interiors are never too curated or perfect. They like to mix vintage with new, and they often bring in elements that bring good memories, and let these items shape the interior. This can for example be something they treasure from the past or something they brought home from a travel.
Rule # 3: The interior must work with your lifestyle
The French create their interior with great attention to how they live their life. It should be both practical and homely. They make sure there are nooks to relax in, space for great meals and gatherings with family and friends, good storage space for their things, - in short: Every space and every item has a function. They are well planned according to their lifestyle.
So how do they put it all together?
Well, let's focus on the Parisian style, but you can easily apply the same decor tips for a more general French look.
The Parisians make sure they include some very specific decor elements, and these are the most important ones:
Decor element # 1: Vintage Rug
Picture from my own apartment
The French like to mix new and old, and one of the things you'll definitly find in a Parisian apartment is a vintage rug. It can be one they've inherited, but most likely it's one they've bought in an artisanal flea market. France is full of brocantes where you can find vintage furniture and other decor elements at reasonable prices. If that's not an option for you, there are plenty of home decor companies that sell vintage-looking rugs nowadays, as it has become a very popular home decor element no matter what style you go for. Stick to the color scheme you have chosen for your home, or choose a color that will bring a beautiful contrast and at the same time complement the rest of the interior. Color is one way to bridge the gap between old and new in a beautiful way.
Decor element #2: Gold mirror
Picture from arhouse.com - Amelie wall mirror
Many Parisian apartments have a vintage chimney in the living room, and you'll most likely find some kind of gold mirror hanging above it. They come in many styles, of course, but the one in the picture above has a very vintage looking style that is very popular and also very elegant. The mirror in the picture at the top of this article is very different, but has that touch of monarchy elegance that the French are so good at implementing without overdoing it. I'm sure you'll be able to find a mirror that suits both your style and your wallet if you look around on the Internet or in your local home decor stores. Here are some links to online stores where you might find some more inspiration for mirrors:
Decor element #3: Chandelier
Picture from my own livingroom
The chandelier is really the magic decor element in many Parisian apartments and has long been a staple of elegance. This doesn't mean that you need to buy one of those crystal chandeliers, if that's not your style, but you can choose from a variety of styles and it might just as well be a very contemporary one. Like I said earlier: A nice mix of old and new - vintage and contemporary - is what the Parisians are so good at, and it's really not difficult at all to copy that style and at the same time make it your very own.
Why not take a look online, for example at Anthropologie, to find some more inspiration for both vintage and contemporary chandeliers. (This is not an affiliate link, so I don't get any commission if you buy anything from their website. I just include it as a service to you.)
Decor element #4: Contemporary art
Picture from Decoholic.com
Many Parisian apartments have ornate architectural features like you can see in the above picture, and the Parisians love to mix those architectural features with contemporary art. Very often, these art elements are left sort of "undone", which means they are not hung on the wall, but propped against a wall or on some piece of furniture, which gives the apartment a very casual, relaxed style which at the same time is very elegant.
When it comes to choosing artwork it's a good idea to buy something that reminds you of your travels, like different trips to Paris, Italy, Greece, or maybe the Middle East? Parisian apartments are often full of travel photography, and I'm sure you have some pictures of your own that you can easily turn into wall art for your home.
If you don't, why not check out some of my pictures that are available as prints and canvases? You'll find them over at my photo webstore at https://else-kosberg.picfair.com/
Decor element #5: Iconic Armchair
Picture from Pinterest - unknown photographer
Like I mentioned above, the French know the value of minimalism and are not afraid of empty spaces. The fact that many Parisian apartments are also very small, makes one or two armchairs a wiser choice to go for than a sofa. That's why you'll always find at least one iconic armchair in a French living-room, and in a Parisian living-room in particular. If this is something you want to adopt in your home, I'd reccommend that you go for something contemporary like a design velvet or some Danish mid-century piece, because a contemporary piece of furniture will help balance out any older and more antique-looking furniture that you might have.
Which brings us to
Decor element #6: Something antique
Picture of my very own inherited antique piece of furniture.
As I'm sure you've learned by now, the French love to mix modern furniture with some antiques, and that's why this is something you'll find in any Parisian apartment. Of course, the French have a lot of flea markets and brocantes to choose from, like Les Puces at Clignancourt (Paris), where they can find almost anything they want for their home. If that's not something you can take advantage of where you live, Etsy might also be a good place to look for some antique and vintage furniture online.
Or maybe you've been lucky enough to inherit some antique furniture that has been in your family for a long time? Then by all means: Use it! It can easily become the focal point you need in your living-room and maybe that particular piece of furniture which gives the room the extra touch of elegance. Something that has been in your family for a long time will also give your home that special connection to your roots and give it an extra homely feel, don't you think?
Another thing that will give your interior that homely feel, and which is something you'll find in any Parisian apartment, is ...
Decor element #7: Candles
Pictures: Left: Product picture from nordstrom.com and Right: picture from www.editionnoire.com
In fact, no Parisian apartment is complete without candles. Parisian women just love scented candles, and the most popular brand of all is Diptyque. According to blogger Katarina Fischer at EditionNoire the brand was founded by an interior designer (Christiane Gautrot), a painter (Desmond Knox-Leet), and a theatre director & set designer (Yves Coueslant), which (again according to Katarina) well explains the elegant product design of Diptyque’s assortment. This is probably why the elegant Parisian women love it so, and why it's become a "must have" decor element in any Parisian apartment. But they are undeniably very decorative and cozy elements that makes any space feel more "lived in", so there's no wonder they have become so loved by anyone who wants to add that cozy feel to their home.
Decor element #8: Vintage inspired vases
Picture: Product picture from www.anthropologie.com
There's some kind of vintage-inspired vase and / or bottle in almost every Frenchie's home or Parisian apartment. Often left empty, and sometimes filled with either fresh or dried flowers, like lavender or larkspur.
If you want to add this decor element in your own home, I suggest you collect an assortment of different vases (typically ceramic or glass) in a range of colors and shapes. This will give it a more collected feel and look very pretty.
Decor element #9: Coffee table books
Picture by thepotterybarn.com
The French find it very valuable if you're able to talk about various topics and have some kind of interesting things or knowledge to share. They like to keep themselves up to date on things and enjoy playing the "intellectual card", if you like. That's why you'll always find books in a Parisian apartment, on the coffee table, in book shelves, or on the bedside table. Books about fashion, home, design, food and wine are definitly something that you need to add to your coffee table if you want to keep up with the French in those areas.
I'm sure there's a lot more to be said about French interior style, and Parisian style in particular, but this was just to give you a certain idea about what the most important rules are. Let's recap before we wind it up:
Rule # 1: Quality over quantity,
Rule # 2: Don't try too hard!
Rule # 3: The interior must work with your lifestyle.
Voilà! It's really as simple as that!
I hope you found this article interesting. If you did, feel free to share it with someone else who might like it too.
And in case you missed it: You can find some nice contemporary art for your living-room over at my print-shop at https://else-kosberg.picfair.com/
Picture by Olya Kobruseva via Pexels
Christmas is soon upon us, and if you’re in need of some gift inspiration, I’m here to help. Whether you’re buying a gift for a Francophile or simply wanting to buy gifts like the French, I have the gift guide for you.
Keep in mind that some of these gifts can be a bit pricy, but there are gifts for every budget on it. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be luxurious!
And, a little tip: never discuss the price of a gift. The French find it both uncouth and uncivilised, and I think we should stop focusing on the price of gifts. You should never feel like you have to spend more than you can afford, or that a gift isn’t nice enough if it was cheap. It’s the though that counts!
So, without further ado, let’s dive into some tips for cadeaux your Francophile friends will enjoy (and for anyone really, there are some lovely gift ideas on this list)!
1. French food
Picture by Leah Kelly via Pexels
Even though you maybe aren’t currently in France, you can still find French food items in many shops, and especially if you go to a specialty shop. Suggestions for French food items to gift are French cheese (some suggestions are Brie, Saint Agur or Saint Albray), French macaroons, Madeleines or some luxurious French chocolate that will make the receiver say “Oh la la!”
2. A cheeseboard
If you have a Francophile friend, why not help them Frenchify their dinner parties? A French dinner party rarely ends without getting the cheese out. So, what’s more perfect than giving them a cheeseboard?
You can find cheeseboards in all shapes and sizes at any price level. If you want to splurge you can include a set of cheese knives or some cheese to go with the board.
Picture by RODNAE Productions via Pexels
3. French wine, liquor or champagne
Picture by Sabel Blanco via Pexels
Continuing the “food-theme” we move onto French alcohol. If you want to give someone alcohol you should always look into two things in advance: 1) do they actually consume alcohol? 2) Do they have any preferences?
Once you know that it’s safe to get them alcohol as a gift, you can look for a nice French wine, some French liquor, or, if you really want to splurge: Champagne from Champagne.
4. French perfume or cologne
Picture by Valeria Boltneva via Pexels
If you know the persons taste in scents, a French perfume or cologne is a great gift.
From Chanel to Jean Paul Gaultier, there are a lot to choose from. Some classic French perfumes include Chanel n°5 and Miss Dior. If you need more ideas, have a look at this list of The most Iconic French Perfumes Of All Time.
For colognes Dior Homme, Dior Eau Sauvage or Jean Paul Gaultier La Male would be a good choice for a French classic.
5. French make-up
Picture by Romina BM via Pexels
It’s something about those French brands … By Terry, Chanel, Dior, Givenchy, Lancôme … just the names ooze luxury and class.
Most of us will never be able to afford a classic Chanel bag, so the next best thing is their makeup. A nice lipstick or nail polish is a small, but luxurious gift most women will appreciate.
6. A subscription to a French magazine
Picture by me
If we can’t be in France, we can dream of it, can’t we? So, why not give your Francophile friend a magazine subscription? This is a gift that keeps on giving, since the recipient will get a new magazine at regular intervals.
Some classics to choose from are Marie Claire, Vouge and Elle. If you want something more “outside the box”, there are plenty of others to choose from, like Télérama (which covers TV, music, cinema and more) or LiRE (which covers books and literature). ("French Cottage" in the picture above is published by Victoria Magazine / Victoria Classics.)
To find subscriptions available in your country, you can visit Unipress who (according to them) deliver 650 different magazines to more than 190 countries.
7. French lessons
If your friend is a Francophile, but doesn’t know the language very well, it could be nice to gift them some French lessons. If there aren’t any classes available in your local area, you can gift them a subscription to a language learning service like Babbel or Duolingo.
8. Crêpe Pan (and a wooden batter spreader)
Crêpes are a French dessert classic – but you can also make them with a savoury filling. The sweet ones are called crêpes sucrées, while the savoury galettes are called crêpes salées. A proper crêpe pan will be a perfect gift for Francophiles and French expats alike!
And you have plenty of options. You can buy anything from the easy to use non-stick ones to electric griddles. Just remember to also get them a wooden batter spreader so they can get a professional finish to their crêpes!
Picture from amazon.com - photographer unknown
Whether you choose to get something by a classic poet or a more contemporary book, books are a nice gift for just about anyone.
Try to find something in their favourite genre, but if you don’t know any of their favourites, a book about French food or French lifestyle is a safe choice. One example is the book Bright Lights Paris: Shop, Dine & Live...Parisian Style.
10. A classic piece of clothing
Picture from amazon.com - product picture for VTGDR (link in article)
If you want to gift someone a piece of clothing, choose classic pieces and neutral colours. Pieces like these will never go out of style and is therefore a safe and sustainable choice.
Classic pieces can include: a Breton stripe top, a black jumper, some nice wool gloves, or a scarf. If you’re buying for a man in your life a nice wool tie is also a stylish option.
Whenever you are looking for clothing, remember that natural fibres like wool, linen and cotton are best. They are more breathable to wear and keep better. In addition, they do not release microplastics in the wash.
11. Candles or a reed diffuser
Picture from amazon.com - product picture (link in article)
A scented candle or reed diffuser can be a nice touch in any home, and can help you relax. It’s no secret that a high-end candle can be expensive, but it is a really nice gift. Among the high-end brands, Diptyque might be the most famous of them all. They are known for quality and beautiful designs. Another well-known high-end brand is Ladurée.
However, there are (luckily) many budget friendly candles and reed diffusers to be found. Some of these even produce candles that are good dupes for Diptyques scents.
Some brands to look for are Brooklyn Candle Studio, Tussie Mussie and Maison Marie Louise.
An alternative to scented candles is a reed diffuser. These create a long lasting scent in your home. One advantage the reed diffuser holds is that you can leave it wherever you want, and don’t have to keep an eye on it like you have to do with a burning candle.
Many candle brands carry both candles and reed diffusers. Reed diffusers are generally easy to find, but some nice ones to mention are the ones from The White Company and the Danish brand Meraki.
12. Something for the bath or shower
Picture by me
I think most people would like to receive a nice quality bath or shower product. Most of us don’t splurge on these items in our everyday life, but there is nothing like a good spa-like product. It can elevate any mundane Monday morning shower.
Some brand suggestions are Le Petit Marseillais, Durance or Bioderma. Another well know brand is Yves Rocher.
13. Savon de Marseille
Savon de Marseille is a soap with long traditions. It has been produced in Marseille for around 600 years. Traditionally it was made by mixing sea water from the Mediterranean Sea, olive oil and alkaline ash from sea plants. The mixture was heated for several days before it was poured into molds.
Today there are two main varieties: one made with olive oil and one made with palm oil (or a mix of palm and coconut oil).
Savon de Marseille is often used for washing delicate garments like wool and silk. It’s also used as a hand soap, but then mostly in it’s liquid form.
14. Christmas ornaments from Paris
Picture from amazon.com - product picture (link in article)
You can find many Christmas ornaments shaped like famous landmarks from Paris. These can be really beautiful on any three, and will remind the receiver of one of their favourite places in the world.
You can find ornaments like Arc de Triumph or the tour Eiffel in the online shop Christmas Company or on Amazon.
Product picture from mariagefreres.com (link in article)
For the tea lovers in your life, this is a great gift. Teas from the famous Mariage Freres will always be popular. This tea company sells everything from Darjeeling to Earl Grey and different fruit and herbal teas.
I hope you found this article valuable! Feel free to comment below and also share the article with someone else who might be interested. And if you're interested in reading more articles related to France, check out the French Lifestyle and Everything French categories in the menu bar of my blog.
Picture by Moose photos via Pexels
French women are experts on how to look effortless and chic. To them, it seems almost second nature. Today, I’ll dive into how you can create a simple, yet elegant makeup look. And: the best thing about it is that if you use makeup already, you will probably have all the items it takes to make a French makeup look.
Less is more
In almost all instances you can “frenchify” your life by thinking “less is more”. What I mean by this is that French women have tuned in on what is important to them and removed everything that’s unimportant.
French women use makeup to enhance their features, not hide them away or alter them in any big way. That’s why you will rarely see a woman with full contour and smokey eyes on the streets of Paris. It’s all about looking like the best version of yourself, not turning into someone else.
So let’s dive into what makes French makeup so effortless and “I woke up like this” chic.
8 steps to create a French makeup look
Picture by Andrea Piaquadio via Pexels
It all starts with skincare
To make the most out of your canvas, you should always prep it. French women prep their skin by taking care of it. If you need some tips on how to best take care of your skin, you can read my article on French skincare.
And if you just want to jump right in: always let a moisturizer be the first step in your makeup routine.
Skip the foundation
Remember, less is more. French makeup is all about discretion. So you won’t see French women wear a ton of foundation. What they’ll do is dab a little concealer on, or maybe use a BB-cream. A BB-cream is perfect for a French makeup look as it is a three-in-one product. A BB-cream will moisturize, give you light coverage and, most importantly, has SPF.
French makeup is basically there to enhance. The idea is that no one should notice the makeup before they notice the woman.
A hint of blush
French women love to glow and accentuate their healthy skin. In order to get this look, you need a good blush. However, it should never be too bright.
You can brighten up the face by applying a touch of rose or pink coloured blush to the apples of your cheeks.
Cream blushes are more popular because they are easier to blend to get a natural look.
Tip: to make your look even fresher and more sunkissed, you can throw a little bit of bronzer into the mix. Just be careful to not use too much.
Keep your brows full
Picture by Andrea Piacuadio via Pexels
You’ll find no perfectly sculpted brows in a French makeup look. Rather, the brows will be kept full, and never overly filled in. The French look is all about looking clean and groomed, but not overly polished. Stay away from eyebrow pencils and pomades. Keep it simple with some eyebrow mascara.
For a natural brow, apply the mascara in short upward strokes. Make sure to follow the natural curve of your eyebrows.
Just a touch of mascara
If you want a French makeup look, you should keep your eye makeup simple. Give your lashes a good curl, treat them with a good lash conditioner and add just a hint of mascara.
Skip the eyeliner and focus your attention on a good mascara that will give your eyes dimension.
Picture by Andrea Piacuadio via Pexels
Most French women will not wear a lot of eye shadow on an everyday basis, but if you want to add some colour to your eyes, go for neutral tones. To achieve a French makeup look you should dab on a minimal amount. It does not have to look perfect, but it should be well blended with no sharp edges.
The signature red lip
To go with the very simple eye makeup you can add the staple of any French makeup look “la pièce de résistance” if you wish: the bold red lip. The red lip can be worn with any outfit, whether it is a t-shirt and jeans or an evening gown. The red lip will add drama where you need it.
Just remember that the french will most often wear this bold colour with the rest of the makeup being very minimal.
When you wear a red lip, nothing should steal attention away from it.
Picture by Milena Hasvil via Pexels
Focus on one feature
If you want one simple piece of advice you can take away from this, it is to keep it simple. Focus on one feature at the time. If you wear a red lipstick, make everything else discrete. If you wear a bold eye makeup look, keep the lips natural.
Focusing on one feature at the time will make your face look brighter and fresher.
Keep it relaxed
Casual makeup application has become a popular trend which emphasizes French women’s relaxed approach to makeup. The point of this type of application is to make it less perfect and more lived in.
Do a smokey eye by blending out your eyeliner with your finger or use your fingertip to apply lipstick by dabbing it on (only with clean hands of course!)
This helps you achieve a more natural less polished look. Just like French women!
Did you like this article? Then you might also like my article on French skincare.
I'd love to hear from you, so if you want to leave a comment below, I'll be thrilled! Also feel free to share this article with anyone else who might be interested in it.
By Studio Harcourt - RMN, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=76212655
Ever since I first discovered some of Marcel Pagnol's books in the shelves of the local library, I have absolutely adored his work and wanted to know as much about him as possible. I have yet not visited his birthplace or walked in his footsteps in Provence, but I will definitly do that the next time I visit.
Here and now, I just want to share with you a little bit of what I've learned about him, and introduce you to some of his wonderful novels, which have also been adapted for cinema. If you follow the links, you'll be able to enjoy some of the newest adaptions to film, and once you've watched those, I'm quite sure you'll want to see more, especially if you love everything French and Provence in particular.
So let me tell you about ...
Marcel Pagnol (28 February 1895 – 18 April 1974):
He was a French novelist, playwright, and filmmaker. In 1946, he became the first filmmaker elected to the Académie française. Although his work is less fashionable than it once was, Pagnol is still generally regarded as one of France's greatest 20th-century writers and is notable for the fact that he excelled in almost every medium, - memoir, novel, drama and film.
Marcel Pagnol was born on 28 February 1895 in Aubagne, in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, which is situated in the south of France, near Marseille. He was the eldest son of Joseph Pagnol, who was a school teacher, and Augustine Lansot, who was a seamstress. Marcel grew up in Marseille with his younger brothers Paul and René, and his younger sister Germaine.
According to Wikipedia, the family rented a house in the sleepy Provençal village of La Treille in July 1904. The house was called the Bastide Neuve, and was situated in the hilly countryside between Aubagne and Marseille. The family spent many summers there, and it was a very happy time for Marcel.
But about the same time, his mother's health, which had never been robust, began to noticeably decline. Sadly, on 16 June 1910 she died of a chest infection ("mal de poitrine") at the age of only 36. Marcel's father remarried in 1912.
In 1913, at the age of 18, Marcel passed his baccalaureate in philosophy and started studying literature at the University in Aix-en-Provence. When World War I broke out, he was called up into the infantry at Nice, but he was discharged in January 1915 because of his poor constitution ("faiblesse de constitution'').
On 2 March 1916, he married Simone Colin in Marseille, and in November the same year, he graduated in English. He became an English teacher, teaching in various local colleges and at a lycée in Marseille.
Career in Paris
In 1922, he moved to Paris, where he taught English until 1927. He then decided to devote his life to playwriting instead. He belonged to a group of young writers during this time, and wrote a play, Merchants of Glory, in collaboration with one of them, a young man called Paul Nivoix. The play was produced in 1924, and was followed by Topaze in 1928, a satire based on ambition.
Feeling exiled in Paris, he eventually returned nostalgically to his Provençal roots, and made this his setting for the play Marius. This play later became the first of his works to be adapted into a film in 1931.
He separated from Simone Collin in 1926 and formed a relationship with the young English dancer Kitty Murphy, even though he was not divorced from Simone until 1941. His and Kitty's son Jacques Pagnol was born on 24 September, 1930. (Jacques later became his father's assistant and subsequently a cameraman for France 3 Marseille.)
In 1929, on a visit to London, Pagnol attended a screening of one of the first talking films. He was so impressed that he decided to devote his efforts to cinema. He contacted Paramount Picture studios and suggested adapting his play Marius for cinema. This was directed by Alexander Korda and released on 10 October 1931. It became one of the first successful French-language talking films.
In 1932 Pagnol founded his own film production studios in the countryside near Marseille. Over the next decade Pagnol produced his own films, taking many different roles in the production – financier, director, script writer, studio head, and foreign-language script translator – and employing the greatest French actors of the period. On 4 April 1946, Pagnol was elected to the Académie française, taking his seat in March 1947, the first filmmaker to receive this honour.
Themes of Pagnol's films
In his films, Pagnol transfers his playwriting talents onto the big screen. His editing style is somberly reserved, placing emphasis on the content of an image. Pagnol relied on film as an art to convey a deeper meaning, rather than just as a tool to tell a story. Pagnol also took great care in the type of actors he employed, hiring local actors to appear in his films to highlight their unique accents and culture.
Like his plays, Pagnol's films emphasize dialogue and musicality. The themes of many of Pagnol's films revolve around the acute observation of social rituals. Using interchangeable symbols and recurring character roles, such as proud fathers and rebellious children, Pagnol illuminates the provincial life of the lower class. Notably, Pagnol also frequently compares women and land, showing that both can be barren or fertile. Above all, Pagnol uses all this to illustrate the importance of human bonds and their renewal.
Pagnol as a novelist
In 1945, Pagnol remarried, to actress Jacqueline Pagnol. They had two children together, Frédéric (born 1946) and Estelle (born 1949). Estelle died at the age of two. Pagnol was so devastated that he fled the south and returned to live in Paris. He went back to writing plays, but after his next piece was badly received, he decided to change his job once more and began writing a series of autobiographical novels – Souvenirs d'enfance – based on his childhood experiences.
In 1957, the first two novels in the series, La Gloire de mon père and Le château de ma mère were published to instant acclaim. On a personal note, I must say that I simply adore the film adaption of these novels! I first borrowed them at the library, but decided that these were films I just had to have my own copy of so I could watch them again and again. So far, I've bought La Gloire de mon père, and as soon as I can get hold of Le chateau de ma mère, I will buy that, too.
My DVD of La Gloire de mon père (top picture: Norwegian title).
The third, Le Temps des secrets, was published in 1959, and the fourth, Le Temps des Amours, was to remain unfinished and was not published until 1977, after his death.
In the meantime, Pagnol turned to a second series, L'Eau des Collines – Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, which focused on the machinations of Provençal peasant life at the beginning of the twentieth century, and were published in 1962.
Pagnol adapted his own film Manon des Sources, with his wife Jacqueline in the title role, into two novels, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources,
collectively titled L'Eau des Collines.
Marcel Pagnol died in Paris on 18 April 1974. He is buried in Marseille at the cemetery La Treille, along with his mother, father, brothers, and wife. His boyhood friend, David Magnan (Lili des Bellons in the autobiographies), died at the Second Battle of the Marne in July 1918, and is buried nearby.
Pagnol was also known for his translations of Shakespeare (from English) and Virgil (from Latin).
For a complete list of all of Marcel Pagnol's work, go here.
(Main sources for this article: Wikipedia and YouTube.)
Find out more
If this made you want to find out more about Marcel Pagnol and his work, you can find lots and lots of film clips and documentaries on YouTube, but as a start, I suggest you listen to this French documentary. Not only will you learn more about Marcel Pagnol, but it's also a great opportunity to practice your French! :)
I hope this article was of interest to you. Please share it with someone you think might like it, and of course you're more than welcome to follow my blog for more articles, including the French lifestyle and La Vie Adorable in general!
Picture from GoodReads
I don't really know which came first: My love for books or my love for everything French. All I know is that I've been equally passionate about both since my early childhood, and the combination of the two is simply perfect, in my opinion.
When I discovered the local library at the age of 11 or 12 and understood that I could go there and borrow ANY book for free, I felt like a whole new world opened up to me. To walk among the bookshelves, take in the smell of the books, touch them and read their titles in golden print, and enjoy the silence of the place, the serenity ... that was - and still is - one of my favorite activities in this world. I will never get tired of it.
The library is like a treasure chest, full of diamonds just waiting to be discovered. I've found so many gems there over the years, and I've brought them home with so much anticipation and joy, and seldom - if ever - have I been disappointed.
That's how I disovered Pierre Magnan. I was an adult then, and I think it must have been in the early 90's. When I saw those books sitting there on the library shelf, his name immediately caught my attention, since it was unmistakenly French. That alone was enough to catch my interest, and when I took a closer look at the books and found out that they were crime stories, set in Provence, I knew that I just had to read them. I borrowed all of them at once, and could hardly wait to get home and start reading.
Thrilling detective stories from Provence
I wasn't disappointed. The books I read were the ones that were translated into Norwegian at that point, and whose original titles are Le sang des Atrides (1976), Le Commissaire dans la truffière (1978), and Le secret des Andrônes (1982). The main charachter of the books is Commissaire Laviolette, who is a Detective Inspector in Alpes-des-Haute-Provence. The stories are exciting, the charachters quirky and intriguing, and the books describe perfectly the taste, smell and feeling of Provence. I simply loved them from the moment I started reading!
I've later discovered that several of the books have been adpated for cinema and TV, and you can catch a glimpse of some of them on YouTube. My next project will be to seek out and watch all of them!
HPhotos from Goodreads.com
Who was Pierre Magnan?
Pierre Magnan was a bestselling Frenh author of detective novels, born on September 19th 1922 in Manosque, France. He died on April 28th 2012, aged 89. He went to school in Manosque until the age of 12, and from the age of 13 until he was 20, he worked as a typographer. He started writing at the age of 15, and was greatly influenced by another famous writer from Manosque, Jean Giono, to whom he later dedicated a book.
During World War II, he had to go into hiding in Saint-Pierre d'Allevard in Isère, to escape the service du travail obligatoire. He later joined the French resistance for the rest of the war. In Saint-Pierre d'Allevard, he met Thyde Monnier, a well-known female writer, and finally took the courage to show her some of his writing. She persuaded her editor to publish Pierre's first novel, L'aube insolite, in 1946. It wasn't a great success, but he followed up with 3 more novels, which were equally unsuccessful. He kept on writing, though, and to earn a living, he worked for a transport company, where he stayed for 27 years. He wrote a number of novels during those years, but none of them were published.
Finally, in 1976, he got his break-through with the book Le Sang des Atrides, for which he even obtained Le Prix du Quai des Orfèvres in 1978. At the age of 56, his new career opened up in front of him, and a number of books followed. He wrote more than 30 books altogether, and has been translated into 7 languages.
His most famous book is La maison assassinée, which he wrote in 1984, and for which he obtained le Prix RTL grand public. This book has also been made into a movie, like so many others of his novels. The stories about Commissaire Laviolette have also been adapted for television. You may say that Commissaire Laviolette is just as linked to "the land of lavender" - Provence - as Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse was to the colleges of Oxford.
Pierre Magnan won several awards for his writing. According to Goodreads.com, he was never afraid to experiment, and shifted easily from fiction to non-fiction. For example, he wrote (among many other publications) a gentle portrait of his great influencer Jean Giono - Pour Saluer Giono (1990), a study of Provençal novels (Les Romans de ma Provence, 1998) and two volumes of memoirs. In The Essence of Provence (1998) he followed L'Occitaine from roadside soap stand to globally known brand, and his editor at Robert Laffont, Marie-Laure Goumet, has said that Provence was present in all of Pierre Magnan's books.
Pierre Magnan lived in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, in Fourcalquier, all his life. In his last years, he devoted himself to another police novel, called Chronique d'un château hanté, in which the story takes place in Manosque and Fourcalquier in a period stretching from la peste noire (1349-1350) up to the present time. It was published by Denoël in 2008, and was followed by a last book about Commissaire Laviolette, Élégie pour Laviolette, in 2010.
Photos from Goodreads.com
Novels by Pierre Magnan:
As mentioned above, his novels have been translated into 7 languages, and the English titles are (as far as I know): The Murdered House, Beyond the Grave, The Messengers of Death, and Death in the Truffle Wood. You can find most of his books on amazon.com, including both his fiction and non-fiction works.
For a complete list of all of Pierre Magnan's work, check out this French Wikipedia article. It also contains a filmography of his work, which I myself find very interesting. I simply love a good crime story, whether in a book or on film, and the works of Pierre Magnan is something I take a particular interest in.
I hope you've found this blog post interesting! You're most welcome to leave a comment below, and I also hope you'll share the article with someone else.
Look out for my next article in this series about my favorite authors from Provence, which will be about Marcel Pagnol.
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Why is it that French women never seem to get fat? Have you ever wondered how they can be surrounded by all that delicious food and wine and still not put on weight? It doesn't seem fair ...!
Do they exercise like crazy at the gym every week?
Non. Absolument pas! In fact, you don't find many gyms in France compared to other countries. It hasn't been as popular with the French to "sweat out" in a gym, although there has been a certain development in this area in the last 15 years or so.
The French traditionally prefer sports, like football (soccer), tennis and cycling. Among women, I'd say tennis and walking are the more popular activities. If a French woman goes to a gym on a regular basis, she doesn't really talk about it, and she definitly wouldn't be seen on the streets in a gym outfit! Jamais de la vie!
Do they eat only green salads and deprive themselves of cakes and other delicacies?
Nope. In fact, they eat cakes with great pleasure!
So what's the secret!?
If you've ever wondered about this and want to be like those French women, I would think that you're just as eager to find out as I was ....
Well, today is the day to rejoice, because I'm on a mission to tell you everything I know about the French Lifestyle! Not just because I'm a "Francophile" who have had a fascination for everything French since my childhood, - the language, the food, the style ... the "joie de vivre" that the French are so good at ... - but because I truly believe that the French life-style can be life-changing for you, just as it's been for me.
However, telling you everything in one blog post is practically impossible, because there's so much to be said about the French way of living. The best way to really take it all in, is to digest it the way the French digest their food: Slowly, really enjoying the meal, savoring the moment. But I'll go deeper into that in a later blog post, - I promise!
Today, I'll be focusing on telling you how you can become slim and chic like a French woman without even breaking a sweat.
Photo by bruce mars from Pexels
So here's how you can do that:
# 1) Develop a positive body image and stop
following the trends.
This is at the top of my list for a reason. In today's world we hear and read daily about weight-loss and dieting. Magazines show us pictures of what "the perfect body" should look like, what the latest fashion trend is, and why it's a "must" for anybody who wants to be "à la mode" ...
A French woman couldn't care less about this. She knows that her worth as a woman doesn't depend on how much she weighs or whether she follows the latest fashion trends or not. She knows that the most important thing is how you feel about yourself, and that you learn how to "play with what you've got" and wear clothes that look good on YOU, in shape and color. Your clothing should bring out your best features and be of good quality.
So a French woman has a very relaxed body image. She doesn't complain about her body or comment on whether she's thin or fat. She just doesn't give it much thought. Just as the French have a positive attitude toward eating, they have a positive attitude toward the body and fitness.
And remember: less stress is one of the keys to losing weight, or at least to stop gaining more of it.
# 2) Slow down and enjoy every moment.
I won't claim that all French women are completely relaxed and never show any signs of stress. Paris in particular can be very stressful for a working woman, so I guess you may find some examples of stressed women there. But in general, French women have an attitude towards life that is very laid-back and uncomplicated, and they seem to have understood the importance of savoring each moment.
For example, they always sit down to have a meal, - or even if they only intend to have a drink. You wouldn't see a French woman walking on the street with a hamburger in one hand and a bottle of soda in the other. Jamais de la vie! She would go and sit down in a café or restaurant and take her time to really enjoy the food or her cup of coffee, or whatever she's having.
And meal-times at home are holy. You won't see a French family stand at the kitchen counter and eat "on the go". They sit down at the table and enjoy the food. Digest it slowly. Have a relaxed conversation together. And they eat small portions and stop before they're too full. They take their time to feel satisfied by the food.
And it's like that with any activity, really. French women are in the moment and not just rushing through or thinking about what's coming up next. When they're with friends, they sit down and have a real conversation. If they're doing an activity together, they engage in it.
You get the picture. There's so much to gain by adopting the French woman's way of doing things. So from this day forward, I suggest you start savoring every moment of every day. Take notice of your surroundings. Talk to people. Sit down and relax, and just BE.
And what does this have to do with becoming slim and chic?
Remember: Stress can make you gain weight, so slowing down and being more present in the moment will have a great impact on how you digest your food and the effect it will have on your body.
# 3) Incorporate exercise into every aspect of your daily routine.
Exercise is good for you. There's no doubt about that. But you don't have to spend thousands on a membership at the local gym and torture yourself through an hour-long hard work-out routine 3 times a week to get enough of it. In fact: Spending an hour at the gym may do your body more harm than good if it’s not an exercise you like, or you don’t have the right technique.
20-30 minutes of daily exercise can have a far better effect in the long run, and it's also much easier to incorporate and therefor more likely that you'll actually see it through.
So instead of going to the gym, do like the French woman: Make your daily routine an exercise. When you wake up in the morning, stretch your body a little bit. If it appeals to you and you have the time: Go for a brisk walk around the block. And if you don't have the time (because you're going to work), or you simply don't feel like it early in the morning, just incorporate more walking throughout the day.
# 4) Park further away.
If you need your car in order to get you to work on time, at least park further away and make sure you get that quick walk every morning and afternoon. If you go by public transport, get off at a different stop so you get a few minutes longer to walk.
# 5) Walk the stairs.
If you live or work in a building with several floors, walk the stairs instead of using the elevator. If there is no elevator, - so much the better! Then you don't have a choice, and you already have a certain amount of daily exercise in your life. If you don't feel that's enough, you can always walk the stairs an extra time up and down, or run them.
Photo by Agung Pandit Wiguna from Pexels
# 6) Make shopping part of your exercise.
Depending on where you live, you can walk to more than one store to buy your groceries. This is not only good for your legs, but can be good for your arms, too, if you don't carry too much.
If that's what you have a tendency to do and therefor always go by car to do your grocery shopping, do it like a French woman instead: Bring a trolley bag to put the groceries in, plan your shopping beforehand and stick to your list. In this way, you get more exercise AND you prevent unhealthy shopping habits. Two good things in one, that will help you to become slim and chic like a French woman!
If there's a market where you live, buy your food there instead of going to the supermarket. Fresh food is always better, and good quality meals that are prepared from scratch are much to be preferred to ready-made meals that you just heat in the microwave. A French woman would prefer to buy her food at the market, whenever possible.
It's also much more enjoyable to have that personal contact with the vendors. Take your time and chat with them. It will be good for your social networking, your mood, your stress level and maybe even your wallet, if your friendship with a vendor happens to give you the occational discount.
# 7) Explore your neighborhood.
Of course, if you live in a big city, exploring your neighborhood is rather easy. There will always be some place you haven't seen yet. But if you're living in a smaller place, it can be a bit more challenging to find somewhere new to explore. However, it's not impossible.
Try to be creative about it, and really use your eyes when you're out and about. You might find a tiny new shop, or maybe you'll discover a path through the woods that you haven't noticed before.
Make it an adventure. And why not extend what you call your neighborhood a little bit further out of "your zone"?
If you don't normally go to the library, - do that. And walk there, or go on your bike, so you get the intended exercise. I'm sure you can think of more things along the same line.
# 8) Create an active challenge for yourself every day.
Tailor this to your everyday needs. If there's an elevator in your building, challenge yourself to walk the stairs if you normally use the elevator.
Or challenge yourself to walk for at least 10 minutes, even if you don't feel like it.
# 9) Make your household chores into an exercise.
-Do the cleaning yourself, instead of hiring someone. Try speed-cleaning a
a little bit every day to keep your home looking presentable. Give yourself
a time limit, like 10 minutes, and put on some motivational music while
you're doing it. Really go for it. Scrub, push, straighten... whatever it is
you need to get done.
- Dance or make lunges while you do the hoovering.
- Do squats when polishing or dusting legs of chairs and tables.
- Wash the toilet in an energetic way.
- Change the beds more often.
- Use your hands and arms when you prepare food, if possible, instead of
always using kitchen appliances....
... and so on. If you do this, you'll burn calories and keep your house looking great at the same time. Try to make the experience as pleasurable as possible. Put on a lovely apron or some colorful rubber gloves. You get the picture.
Little by little you'll get leaner, stronger and fitter, simply by doing your daily routines.
# 10) Make your leisure time more active.
In today's society it can really be a challenge to stay away from your mobile phone or your computer and not constantly check your social media, play games, etc., - or just lie on the sofa and binge-watch TV-series while eating potato chips or some other "goodies". Because we CAN.
A French woman wouldn't do that. She'd prefer to be active. She'd go out, meet friends, socialize, go for a stroll along the river, visit an art gallery or a museum (where she'd be walking around, of course), go to the library ... that sort of things.
Even socializing at a café, which might sound like a less active way of spending time, is - I can assure you - much better than sitting around the house and just spend time on social media. At least going to a café means that you have to get out of the house and probably walk a certain distance to get there, and you'll be spending time with real people - friends! - which will be ten times better for your overall wellbeing.
But even if you should prefer to stay at home, you'd be doing yourself a favor if you'd spend more of your time either reading a book, working on a creative project (like sewing, arts & crafts, painting...), or having a good conversation with a friend or family member, rather than just checking your social media and eating potato chips.
You don't see the difference? Well, even if all of those activities are being executed sitting down, I do believe that the kind of activities I mentioned will do your heart and soul far more good than getting bombarded with all kinds of news - good or bad - on social media, - some of which aren't even true and might just make you feel bad or inadequate, - and spending your time on more creative activities will also lower your stress level and make you feel more fulfilled.
The French woman has understood this. She'd much prefer taking an active part in something, whether it's reading a book that will stimulate her intellect or her emotions, having a conversation with another human being, or taking part in some physical or creative activity that will do her good in other ways, - rather than sitting passively around, doing nothing.
I'm not saying that "just sitting around" is a thing you should avoid at all cost. Sometimes it's absolutely necessary to relax completely and do nothing.
What I'm saying is that on a general basis, being active in some way will benefit you more, and especially if your aim is to be slim and have a stimulating and happy life together with the people you love. So I suggest that you try to make your leisure time at least a little bit more active, if sitting or lying on the sofa every night is what you tend to do at the moment.
Photo by ELEVATE from Pexels
# 11) Dance!
This is another great way to exercise. You don't need to be a pro, and you can do it in the comfort of your own home, without anybody watching (if that's what you prefer). You can incorporate it into your domestic work, or dedicate 10 minutes to it now and then. It's up to you.
# 12) Do leg-lifts or some other exercise while
Do 12 leg-lifts while watching TV, or do a "90 degrees" challenge against a wall for a certain amount of minutes (If you don't know what that is, it means sitting in a 90 degree angle against a wall. I promise you that you'll feel the burn within a short time!). Or do the plank for 1 minute... or some other exercise.
You get the idea. There are so many things you can do while you're being passively entertained in some way or other. Find something that you find inspiring. Come up with your own unique challenge.
If you incorporate these 12 rules in your daily life, I feel confident that before you know it, you'll be slim & chic like a French woman, without even breaking a sweat!
If you want to have the 12 rules easily at hand, you can download this printable version.
And if you want to learn more about how you can live «the French way», I’ll be more than happy to teach you step by step how you can make it happen! Even if you don’t live in France, it’s not difficult at all. It’s a way of living, an attitude towards life, that you can incorporate wherever you are.
Why not start right now?
#1) Get my FREE GUIDE: «12 Ways You Can Become Slim & Chic Like A French Woman Without Even Breaking A Sweat», and start with #1 TODAY!
# 2) Join my community of Female Life Designers!
Having a community of likeminded women to support you and share your thoughts with, is absolutely GOLD! So join today!
When you join, you’ll get a downloadable version of The Female Life Designer’s Manifesto, which is a great way of getting into «the French way» of living right away!
You'll also get access to our closed Facebook group where you can get to know other members, share your thoughts and take part in ongoing conversations, and also be a part of the show whenever I do a Facebook live, etc.
And this is just the beginning!
We will study and go deep into all aspects of living «the French lifestyle», for sure. But slowly, with ease and elegance. Effortlessly! Comme une femme francaise!
If you enjoyed this blog post, feel free to leave a comment below and share it with someone else who might enjoy it, too!
I've always been what you may call a "Francophile", which means that I've always been drawn to everything French: The language, the food, the culture, the style ... the "joie de vivre" that the French are so good at.
I don’t really know why I got this fascination to begin with. I guess I just heard the French language and fell in love with it, and then I watched some French TV-series and movies and read more about France in various books, and for some reason the French way of living just appealed to me more than anything else, and I dreamed of living there.
MY INTRODUCTION TO THE FRENCH LIFE-STYLE
And then I got a French friend. I was 14 years old at the time, and a French girl came to my hometown during the summer holidays to visit her father, who was working in Norway at the time. She came with her mother and younger brother, and by chance we met and became friends.
At 14 she already had more style than any Norwegian girl I knew (including myself). Her mother was effortlessly elegant and relaxed, and very down to earth.
They were living examples of all that I wanted to be. They were not trying to live up to anybody's expectations or pretended to be something they were not. They were just confident in their own skin and wanted everything in life to be of good quality, whether it was food, clothing or spare time activities.
I learned a lot from my French friend. I observed her and her mother in their day-to-day activities, - the way they talked, the way they conducted themselves. And I knew I wanted to be more like them.
They only stayed for 2 brief summer months, but we kept in touch through frequent letters, and this contributed greatly to my knowledge of the French language, which I'll be forever grateful for.
My longing for France didn't exactly diminish with this experience. I felt so drawn to the French lifestyle, because it seemed to be the perfect fit for me and my personality.
I waited for many years before I was able to get myself to France to see my dear friend Brigitte again and be able to breathe in the French air at last!
When I was 24, my friend was getting married and invited me to her wedding. Quelle joie! I could tell you a lot about that trip, and I'll come back to that later, but long story short: The 2 weeks I spent there rooted France firmly in my heart forever.
Going back home after that trip felt strange, as if life had just played me a trick. As much as I love my country, I felt like I had finally gotten a glimpse of Heaven, only to be rejected at the gate. The French lifestyle had gotten under my skin, and I knew I’d go back some day.
I guess my friendship with Brigitte and the atmosphere I had sucked in during my visit to her country, influenced me in such a profound way that I had gradually adopted a French attitude to life. At least the "French light" version. It had become a natural part of who I was and the way I lived.
So how exactly did I live «the French lifestyle»?
- I had a very relaxed attitude towards life.
- I had confidence in myself and my own capabilities.
- I had a positive body image.
- I enjoyed good food.
- I exercised without really thinking about it.
- I had a great social life, with lots of friends around me.
- There was plenty of fun and laughter, and social activities
like going to a café, the movies or a concert.
- I engaged in great conversations with my friends.
- I was very active.
- I engaged in activities that stimulated my intelligence (like reading).
- I engaged in creative activities, especially writing and Arts & Crafts.
- I sang in a choir and listened to music a lot.
In short: I really, really enjoyed my life!
And I was slim! Effortlessly. I didn't have to think about it at all! No dieting. No strict exercise regimes. No depriving myself of good food. No stress!
I WAS A SLIM (AND QUITE CHIC) WOMAN
When I was in my twenties, I never had to think twice about what I put into my mouth. I was always slim, n'importe quoi! I enjoyed moving my body and did a lot of walking, running, cycling, skiing, hiking, etc.
In short: I was very active. I had a flat stomach, and I was in the best shape of my life. I had no trouble finding clothes that fit me perfectly, and going shopping was fun and exciting!
I actually had a great style at that time. I knew which colors and shapes looked good on me, and I enjoyed finding clothes that not 9 out of 10 other girls were wearing.
Looking back now, to my life the way it was in my twenties, I can see that I really lived "the French way" back then.
So what happened?
Well, I guess LIFE happened. Somewhere along the way, things slowly changed. After a few wonderful and happy years back in my hometown, our group of friends dissolved. One by one we moved on.
Some went away to start a higher education; some left because they got a new job. Others left because they wanted to go back home.
Soon, I felt that it was time for me to move on, too. I wanted to go to college, like so many others.
This naturally meant a change of environment, and the next year was in many ways quite challenging for me. I went through a period where I felt very lonely and suddenly lost all confidence in myself, and other issues became more pressing than keeping up the French lifestyle.
However, things did improve. I found new friends and had a much better time, but I had in some ways lost myself along the way, and I felt that I had to try and blend in with the people around me.
This feeling got rather rooted in me, and the next years of my life was more about blending in than being true to the person I felt that I was deep inside, and it became harder for me to live the way I really wanted.
I guess I wasn't confident enough to "stand my ground", so to speak. So I blended in and tried not to provoke anyone. The "French lifestyle" sizzled away...
And after college I got a job. Met a man. Got married. Got 2 wonderful kids. In short: I had a good life in many ways, and looking back on it now, I wouldn't have been without those years. They gave me some of the best experiences in my life, first of all giving birth to and raising 2 great children, who to this very day are my pride and joy.
And all these years, I was slim. I even stayed slim after I'd given birth to 2 kids, and of course I was very pleased with that.
But then, just as I turned 40, something happened that made me gain almost 20 kilos of weight.
FROM SLIM AND CHIC TO THE NOT QUITE SO CHARMING VERSION OF ME.
So what was it that suddenly made me gain this weight?
Well, I had an accident. I got a head injury.
Now, you wouldn't immediately think that an incident like that would make me gain weight. But the fact is that the accident had physical consequences that forced me to be less active for a while, because of heavy migraine, dizziness and other symptoms.
If you want to learn more, I’ve written about it all in my article “Coming Out Of The Closet With PCS. Could You Possibly Have It Too?”
But the biggest consequence was the stress. The stress around not being able to live the way I'd always lived: Physically active and enjoying life.
Slowly, without even noticing it at first, I started putting on weight.
Have you ever experienced that, - how things slowly change over time, without you noticing it?
Well, that happened to me, and after a while, I realized that I had become overweight. Not obese, but I definitly wasn't slim anymore!
It was devastating to me! I suddenly didn't like the woman staring back at me in the mirror anymore. I started to cover myself up in baggy clothes to hide my tummy, and I didn't even realize that it just made me look even bigger.
I didn't like to be photographed anymore. I didn't like to shop for clothes. I didn't enjoy eating the way I did before.
I was constantly thinking about the fact that I had become a version of me that I didn't like. And it really, really stressed me out.
This went on for years, until I realized that I couldn't go on like that. I wanted my life back! That's when I came across several books that helped me shift my thinking.
I realized that I was good enough just the way I was, but I also learned that it was all up to me to make the changes I needed in my life.
I've written and talked quite a lot about mindset and how your thoughts create your reality, so I won't repeat that here right now. Let me just say that I started to make some changes that slowly put me back on track, back to the woman I wanted to be. And the main shift was changing my thoughts.
Many years had passed at this point, and I was no longer consciously thinking about "the French lifestyle". I just knew that I wasn't living in accordance with who I really was, anymore. And that had to change.
FINDING MY WAY BACK
I've spent almost 2 decades sort of fighting my way back to a "normal" life after the head injury. But in so many ways I've been happier this last decade than I was for quite a few years, because I learned how to shift my thinking and understood that I had to start living in accordance with who I really am again.
But for a long time, I wasn’t really sure how I could do that. I felt sort of restless and a little bit "out of place", and I wasn't quite able to establish WHY. I’ve had a vision of what I want, and I've been moving towards that, little by little, but I've been searching for MY way.
And then, suddenly, I had an epiphany:
"I have to go back to living the French lifestyle again!"
Suddenly everything fell back in place for me. My mood instantly got a boost!
I need to go back to living «the French lifestyle» again because that’s the lifestyle that has always felt natural to me and my personality. That’s the way I lived in my twenties, and that’s when I felt good in my skin and was at my healthiest in every way.
So that’s what I’m doing.
Even though I’m not living in France, I’m finding ways to live «the French lifestyle» where I am, and it’s not difficult at all.
And I want to teach other women "the French lifestyle", too. I want to teach YOU how to live "comme une francaise". Because I truly believe it can be life-changing for you, as it has been for me.
I hereby declare:
From this day forward, my focus will be on
sharing with you everything I know about
the French lifestyle,
and make sure we both live with as much "joie de vivre"
as humanly possible!
So if you want to learn more about how you can live «the French way», I’ll be more than happy to teach you step by step how you can make it happen! Even if you don’t live in France, it’s not difficult at all. It’s a way of living, an attitude towards life, that you can incorporate wherever you are.
Why not start right now?
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- Make sure you don't miss out on my next blog post: "12 Ways You Can Become Slim & Chic Like A French Woman Without Even Breaking A Sweat»!
- Join my community The Sisterhood of Female Life Designers on Facebook!
Having a community of likeminded women to support you
and share your thoughts with, is absolutely GOLD! So join today!
When you join, you’ll get a downloadable version of The Female Life Designer’s Manifesto, which is a great way of getting into «the French way» of living right away!
And this is just the beginning!
We will study and go deep into all aspects of living «the French lifestyle», for sure. But slowly, with ease and elegance. Effortlessly! Comme une femme francaise!
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