How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are: A Review

“Always be fuckable.”

I snap the book shut with a breathy gasp, glancing over my shoulder in the petite section of Anthropologie. I’m a size six and have no reason to be shopping in the petite section. The sales associate sizing pleated pants across from me thinks so too. Like a guilty teenager, I become suddenly distracted by a pair of overpriced stilettos and make my escape to the sale section. With one finger between the pages to keep my place, I read on:

“…when standing in line at the bakery on a Sunday morning, buying champagne in the middle of the night, or even picking the kids up from school. You never know.”

So continues the tongue-in-cheek hardcover for 272 pages, each more deliciously defiant than the last. It’s a coffee table gem I had not expected to ever find.

Hiding behind my oversized sunglasses, I politely slide the book across the counter and place $25 in the associate’s palm, ashamed to be spending my grocery cash on a book. She wraps it gently in tissue paper and sends me on my way.

This book will drown your sorrows in visions of vespas, croissants, wine and romantic strolls along the Seine. You might even forget about the election for a few hours. Because apparently even in the real world, we can all be Parisiennes.

Caroline de Maigret said it herself, “The most famous Parisiennes are foreigners. Yes, the Parisienne often comes from somewhere else. She wasn’t born in Paris, but she’s reborn here.”

You could spend a lifetime trying to embody her aesthetic, that effortless and natural state of being that is not effortless or natural at all (Maigret even admits as much).

The book is thrown together in much the same way—a blurred, cheeky compilation of essays, recipes, lists, poetry, photographs, sketches, even a trimmed down English to French dictionary (only the necessary words), sprinkled with Parisienne secrets. From the minds of four French women: writer Anne Berest, journalist and screenwriter Audrey Diwan, model and author Caroline de Maigret, and movie producer Sophie Mas, the book is the only guidebook you’ll ever need in Paris.

Should you only ever find the time to skim a copy at your local bookstore: See pg. 46 for a list of bad habits so relatable you might laugh or cry,  pg. 222 for a list of must-see films, pg. 32 for a Parisienne style guide to au natural skin, hair and bodily extremities, pg. 112 for a think piece on navy blue and pg. 129 for the same on vintage jewelry, pg. 208 for drinking games you never knew you needed, pg. 90 for a list of wardrobe essentials should never be without, and pg. 230 for a list of communal words shared by the French and English language that will leave you with the realization that you were never as far from Parisienne as you thought.

3 thoughts on “How To Be Parisian Wherever You Are: A Review

  1. I’ve always wanted to go Paris! This book sounds absolutely amazing and I will definitely pick up a copy whenever I get the chance. Thank you for sharing this review—it was beautifully written.


  2. Leave it to my favorite wordsmith to say you loved a book without even saying you loved the book! Now, even I–a small town, middle aged, dream squashing mother of 3–feel the need to drive the minivan to my nearest Barnes & Noble to spend some school lunch money on a tempting morsel of a life I will never have.


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