More French Habits, aka "Frenchitude"

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What is “Frenchitude” you may ask?

I coined the word several years ago, and it goes like so: French + Attitude = Frenchitude

Yes, I invented this word.

Yes, I invented this word.

To keep the Frenchitude going, I'm picking up the gauntlet again in my blog series "french habits to adopt" with Volume number 4. Here are Volume 1, Volume 2, and Volume 3 if you need to catch up.

I don’t think the french way of doing everything is necessarily better, or that these suggestion work for everyone. They are merely ideas I have picked up in France and felt added value to my life over the years.  On y va!  

1. Live with A Few Pieces of Family Furniture

This is commonplace in France - you go over to someone's house and the entire place is furnished in sleek modern lines, except for one dark, massive, and ornate armoire that has been passed down through generations from their ancestors in Brittany.

Almost everyone in France has family furniture like this. Most importantly, these antiques are not just there to stare at, they are used.

Dishes are stored in the armoire, or the great-great grandmother’s kitchen buffet. The long oak table is eaten upon twice a day, the carved wooden Louis XVIII chair is used and reupholstered every decade or so...

An old buffet that used to serve in a bakery in Chalon which now graces La Maison des Chaumes.

An old buffet that used to serve in a bakery in Chalon which now graces La Maison des Chaumes.

In my house here in Canada I have my great grandmother's old potting table from her shed on Saltspring Island which I painted a teal blue and use as a front table hall. I bought the armoire in the top photo in France. It now lives in La Maison des Chaumes for a future family piece that I hope my girls - one of them anyway - will want to live with. 

Family furniture infuses a feeling of history, continuity, and connection that I believe enriches our environment. Using older things instead of buying particle board pieces from IKEA is also earth-friendly. It’s a welcome counter-point to that generic decorating style that looks like it was lifted verbatim from a furniture showroom or decorating magazine.

Family furniture gives our homes a soul.  

2. Celebrate the Big Things...and the Small Things...and Everything

The French generally have a bottle of bubbly in their fridge. It’s pulled out to celebrate engagements, promotions, divorces, Fridays, or just having friends drop by. This eagerness to celebrate the moments of life - big and small - is probably one of my favorite things about living in France.

As much as we adore good champagne (but frankly I would rather drink water than bad champagne) our bubble of choice is the wonderful Crémant de Bourgogne. This glorious drink is made from grapes harvested in Burgundy and vinified with exactly the same method used to make Champagne.

Because the grapes are not harvested within the geographic boundaries of the Champagne Region the drink cannot be called Champagne, which means it is just as good (if not better) but less expensive.

It comes in either regular or rosé. Behold below.

Our favorite bubble of choice right now chez Germain.

Our favorite bubble of choice right now chez Germain.

I think it is an excellent rule of thumb, as the French do, to always have a bottle of your favorite bubbles (and this can be a Pelligrino Spritzer or a St. Croix) on hand in case the need to celebrate arises.  

This achieves two wonderful things. First, it makes you anticipate the next reason to celebrate, so you will find yourself looking for the triumphs in your life both big and small. Secondly, the fact that you have a plan to recognize these celebratory moments and fête them means that they will proliferate exponentially.

Trust me, it’s magique.

3. Start the Day Slow

This one is easy for me. I love my bed and hate getting out of it in the morning. When I do finally emerge, I stumble around like a troglodyte, incapable of forming coherent sentences.

The French tend to start their day slow, and resist going on their computer or their phone immediately. Instead they linger for a while over a coffee and maybe a toasted tartine with some lovely jam.

I’ve found when I avoid technology until I am actually sitting down at my desk to start work, I begin the day less frazzled. I make this easy by keeping my laptop on my desk and my phone plugged in downstairs. I’ve established a rule for myself about no phone in the bedroom. For an alarm, I have an old-school turquoise clock on my bedside table.

This way you can enjoy your coffee (a sacred moment for me) or whatever else you like for breakfast without already stressing about the oppressive to-do list that emails and social media can trigger in your mind.

Starting slow paves the way to a smoother day - always a win in my book.

Stay tuned for more Frenchitude ideas on here. In the meantime, profitez-bien!

Interested in learning more about how France changed me?  Check out my bestselling Grape Series books - both digital and paperbacks.

Interested in learning more about how France changed me? Check out my bestselling Grape Series books - both digital and paperbacks.