Is it just us, or do French women seem to have it all figured out? They can eat cheese and bread and drink wine while maintaining their health, they look effortlessly chic in the most basic ensembles, and they make natural beauty look good. It's no wonder as Americans we're constantly trying to figure out how to make this work in our lives, especially as it relates to well-being. Ironically, a Frenchwoman would say, "Enough! No need to try so hard." And it's true.
There's something about that je ne sais quoi that goes beyond "stop trying," of course. So we rounded up our all-time best wellness content from French women and saw one foundational truth: lLiving like the French doesn't happen until you start seriously paring down. If you're anything like us and aspire to take a page out of the proverbial Parisian book, here are 10 excellent tips that will have you feeling beautiful, chic, and effortlessly at-ease in no time:
1. Take your coffee black.
"As a coffee lover, I always have a cup of my favorite blend prepared with a French press. I love it black, no sugar, no milk. Try it! People don't like black coffee mostly because it is not prepared the right way. Invest in a small French press and in good-quality coffee—freshly ground is best! Find what suits you best."
—Emilie Durand, a French woman on what she eats in a day
2. Prioritize skin care over makeup.
"In France we’re about glowing, great-looking skin, so we can have this no-makeup makeup look, and it works.” Thomas says. “In the U.S., I find women looking for quick fixes that leave their skin dry, peeling, or damaged, so they’re buying more makeup, and the difference is that American women find skin care complicated, with many steps, and the French secret is more about simplicity."
—Mathilde Thomas, founder of skin-care brand Caudelie, on French versus American approaches to beauty
3. Walk literally everywhere.
"The French walk everywhere. They walk to work, to the markets, to run errands—and it's part of their daily routine. They're not doing anything excessive, so if they don't do high-intensity exercise, it's because they're already active.
My husband and I did the very same thing—one day in Paris we actually walked over 40,000 steps. Yes, we were sightseeing, but I'm sure the average French person walks more than 10,000 steps a day."
—Dr. Bindiya Ghandi sharing what she learned from French women on her recent trip to France
4. Live by your rules (not your kids').
"In Paris, children follow the adults' schedules on the weekend. In New York, on the other hand, schedules are jam-packed and centered around kids' activities."
5. Embrace aging gracefully.
"Better to look your age than look no age at all. By now we've learned that relying on excessive plastic surgery ages you more in real life. Parisian women never try to appear to be something other than what they are. In truth, wanting to look young—which is but a fleeting illusion—they want above all to become the best possible version of themselves...at any age."
6. Invest in a good makeup remover (to save your skin!).
"You'd be hard pushed to find us a makeup artist who doesn't use this makeup removing, skin-brightening, toning water. Why? Because it takes makeup off the gentle way, so it's ideal for sensitive skin, and in particular those models whose skin is made-up, and then undone, numerous times during the shows." (Bioderma Sensibio H2O Solution Micellaire)
—mbg's beauty & style editor Kayla Jacobs on the French beauty products she can't live without
7. Don't deprive yourself.
"There's no denying that a lot of French people have a sweet tooth, but the difference is in the way they satisfy it. One of the greatest revelations I had in Paris was that when a yearning for something sugary hit me, I could satiate it by eating just a small amount of something sweet—a square of chocolate, a teaspoon of honey, a slice of peach—rather than an entire dessert or confection. While it took some discipline at first, my body felt much better for it."
—Mikki Brammer on what living in France taught her about healthy eating
8. Buy your groceries locally.
"Parisians value quality over quantity, so supermarkets are outnumbered by specialty stores. Most Parisians shop daily for fresh local ingredients. You go to the boulangerie for bread, the fromagerie for cheese, the patisserie for dessert pastries. These foods don’t contain preservatives, so Parisians are able to avoid heavily processed foods, which are a major cause of health and weight issues for many Americans."
—Jocelyn Steiber on what she learned from Parisian women during her stay in France
9. Ditch Instagram and ask your grandmother for her best beauty advice.
"While here in the United States we tend to follow fads on Instagram, the French rely more on their grandmother's beauty advice. "We have a no-nonsense approach to beauty that's been instilled in us from the matriarchs in the family, but we are inquisitive when a new trend appears. Understanding the why and how is important to us."
10. Practice pleasure rituals.
"Feeling good is as important as looking good. Long baths, facials, massages, any type of treatment for the body are not luxuries; they're essentials—no matter how busy your life is."
—Rebecca Plantier, a French wellness expert, on 13 ways French women treat themselves right