10 Things I’ve Learned About Elegance From The French

10 Things I've Learned About Elegance From The French

Do you ever get the feeling that someone or something is trying to get you to think about a certain topic?

It happens to me all the time – although I admit that I’m often a little slow on the uptake. Sometimes it takes a while before I get the message.

The most recent example revolves around the concept of elegance.

The idea of an elegant life kept popping up everywhere. On the blogs I read. In a book about simplicity that I picked up on a whim. In my inbox. Even at work, of all places.

Eventually I took the hint and started to consider what elegance really meant to me, beyond the dictionary definitions which include words like graceful, dignified and tasteful.

It didn’t take a lot of reflection for me discover that my own perception of elegance has been heavily influenced by my love of France and her culture.

So today I thought I’d take a moment to share 10 things I’ve learned about elegance from the French.

But before I get into this list, I have to provide full disclosure. When I look at my own life, I feel I am a long way off elegance – in fact, elegant might be the last word I’d use to describe how things operate in my life on a day to day basis. (Especially right now, when I am battling a cold while getting ready to travel for work.)

Having said that, everyone needs something to aspire to.  And I’ve learned these lessons – all I need to do is apply them! Easy right?

10 Things I’ve Learned About Elegance From The French

Elegance is:

  • Living a big life in a small space. And that space is clean, tidy and uncluttered.
  • Having time. To spend with family. With friends. Or at the park. Or people watching from a café.
  • Green tea sipped from the perfect cup.
  • A perfectly curated, well fitted, capsule wardrobe.
  • Glowing skin.
  • Short, well groomed nails.
  • Home cooked meals made with the freshest ingredients.
  • Being prepared to speak your truth.
  • Inner confidence.
  • Being able to say no when you need to, but being able to say yes when you want to.

Do you feel like you are living an elegant life? Do you have any lessons in elegance you’ve learned from the French? If so, please share them in the comments section below.

And 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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4 thoughts on “10 Things I’ve Learned About Elegance From The French

  • Taste of France

    Don’t try too hard. Natural and comfortable is more elegant than artificial and silly (i.e., tottering on too-high heels or clothes too tight). Of course, that doesn’t mean being a slouch or not making an effort. It’s all about what kind of effort one makes.
    And no, after more than a decade, I still don’t feel elegant.

    • Janelle Post author

      You are right about the being natural and comfortable- it is such an important part of being elegant. And maybe we all judge ourselves a bit too harshly when considering our own elegance.

  • Kathryn Bechen

    Love this article, and yes, according to your definition list of elegance above, even though I have never been to France, I do feel my husband and I live a consciously chosen elegant lifestyle, and have always strived for that. I like your list of what elegance means, and I heartily agree.

    You have a lovely Francophile blog. 🙂