How To Be Parisian – A Book Review


Dressing Table

Last week, I promised that I would review the recently published ‘How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are – Love, Style and Bad Habits’. And today, I’ve finally got around to doing so. Now, before you continue reading, I should warn you that this hasn’t ended up being a ‘real’ review – it’s more dot points of what I liked and didn’t like so much about the book. But I’ve decided that’s ok, due to the fact that if you are after an in depth review, you can find heaps on the internet. Which is unsurprising, given the title and the popularity of the ‘How to be French’ genre.

Title: ‘How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are – Love, Style and Bad Habits’.

Authors: Anne Berest, Audrey Diwan, Caroline de Maigret and Sophie Mas.

English Translation Published: 2014, Hardcover, 255 pages.

What I Liked:

  • The photography and illustrations – some of them are just gorgeous. I also really liked the colour chart which related back to all things Parisian (although I’m not sure how it would come up in the electronic version of the book).
  • The fact that, for the most part, it is very lighted hearted – don’t expect it to be life changing. This book doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is easy to read. Having said that, there are some deeper parts to the book that did get me thinking.
  • It provides some good, although not necessarily new, tips on Parisian style and on Paris itself.  For me, the consistency of always seeing silk scarves, ballet flats, jeans and trench coats on a ‘Parisian Essentials’ list brings comfort.
  • The (not very difficult) recipes and the numerous quotes – they both added something a bit different.
  • The feel of the paper in the hardcover copy.  I read most of my books on my iPad these days, but chose to buy a hardcover copy of ‘How To Be Parisian’ and have it sent out from the US, as the book hadn’t been released in Australia. I’d forgotten how much I enjoy reading ‘real’ books, and nice the paper felt under my fingertips.

What I Wasn’t So Sure About:

  • The translations. These books that are orignally written in French and translated for the English speaking world always seem to come across a little blunt for me.
  • The fact that the authors suggest you cut out a couple of pages of the book so that ‘you can take a bit of Paris with you’. Seems a bit silly to me to hack into a brand new book. That’s what used magazines are for.
  • The book jumps around from topic to topic. It doesn’t really detract – but some points do come across as a bit random at times.

All in all, I think if you enjoy reading about all things Parisian you will definitely enjoy this book. I’ve dipped into it numerous times since it arrived, and found an entertaining snippet each and every time.

If you’ve read ”How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are – Love, Style and Bad Habits’, I’d be keen to know what you thought of it.

Until next time – au revoir.

About Janelle

I believe that everyone can bring French elegance and inspiration to their life, no matter where they happen to live in the world. They only need to learn a secret or two to be on their way. When you join the Distant Francophile community, you’ll have access to the secrets that allow you to bring the best of the French lifestyle into your everyday life. I’m talking about things like style advice, recipes and book reviews. And you’ll also receive regular doses of French inspiration, as well as travel and packing tips galore.

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