The French have it. In terms of style and fine living, it is hard to top the French, and the Parisians in particular. So how do they do it? And how can you fit in while traveling in Paris, or bring a little French style into your own life at home? Here are some ideas.
- Wear scarves. Not just women. Not just on your neck. Use then as sashes for your waist. Fashion-forward French women tie scarves to their handbags. Men wear scarves around their neck for more than warmth, coordinating colors with their ensemble.
- Coffee and pastry for breakfast. Find a neighborhood cafe, and become a regular. Start your day with noisette (macchiato) or cafe crème at the bar. Or sit with your cafe au lait at a table while flipping through a magazine or newspaper and watching the world go by. But do get your dairy fix early, as the French don’t drink coffee with milk after meals. Consider tea in one of the Marais’s lovely tea rooms.
- Wear black. Dark colors are a given, but black is your best bet. Dark gray is just as good. Up-to-the-minute sunglasses are also essential. Red lipstick is an easy solution to dress up your look. Keep it simple and stylish. Well cut clothing is expected in this style center, despite what the tourists wear. The French dress well, even when they go casual in jeans.
- Talk politics. Read the papers. Both Le Monde (which is center-left) and Le Figaro (center-right) have international editions in English that you can read online. Also, check out the New York Times coverage of France. Read up on French current events, take an active interest, and ask questions. Be easy on the opinion front, and use good humor, especially with scandals. The French care about these things!
- Be kind to waiters. This is good advice everywhere, but in France, servers are professionals, paid, treated, and trained well. They deserve your respect. Chat with them and leave a few coins as a tip for good service.
- Take an aimless stroll, with no set agenda. Pick a local neighborhood favored by Parisians like the Marais, Canal Saint Martin or République. Window shop, people watch, sit at a cafe with a drink and take in the scene. While the Champs Elysées has its appeals, you will mostly find tourists strolling there.
- Find a pied-à-terre, a charming central apartment homebase in Paris. Ideally you will have a balcony from which to sip your wine and watch the street or courtyard below. Plug into the neighborhood and find the local street market, cheese shop, bakery, and wine shop. Move in, if only for a week.
Details: Apartments and private local guides can be the key to an authentic Paris experience. Private Access Journeys offers luxurious apartments in desirable neighborhoods throughout Paris. We can arrange a personal shopper to help you style yourself like a local and connect you with other local specialists for exclusive access to the things that interest you most.