Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Decidedly French Way of Living

I must say that one way I can happily live in New York is by pretending I'm Parisian. France is, after all, only an ocean away and its cafes, language, fashion, film, food and savoir faire has pervaded our little island like the fragrance of lavender en provence. My heart was stamped with the hexagon of France even before I was born, and I am partial to a kind of living that prizes the sensual delights of the everyday and reveres the beautiful. What can I say? Whatever their faults, I do believe that the French know what's important.
What does it mean to live a la francaise? I'd say to slow down, first of all. Breathe slower, eat slower and walk slower. Take in the sights and sounds of what is around and enjoy the details that have gone into the making of all that you see. The buildings of New York are phenomenal in their structure and design. Great care, skill and attention has gone into the architectural feats all around us. Not every city has been so fortunate to have the wealth and talent that make the city such a joy to walk around in. Moreover, history gives each building a specific feel that is worth taking the time to enjoy.

Relish the buying, preparation and eating of food. What a great joy it is to look at fresh fruits and vegetables, breads and cheeses that we have in abundance. Tasting it all takes the ecstacy to another level. Farmers' markets are feasts for the senses and how wonderful it is that we have so many of them. Recipes abound on the internet. Trying new dishes in the kitchen is such an adventure. Invite some friends over, dine over boeuf a la bourguignonne and pick a nice wine to go with it all.

Dress to celebrate yourself. Take care into what you put on every day. Feel good about your appearance and express your personal style. Adding color into your wardrobe gives you added zest and energy that makes everyday living such a pleasure.

Make work less of a priority and enjoy friends and family. Though it is nice to have enough money to pay the rent, one doesn't need to go off the deep-end. Regulate excesses and know what you need to balance your life. This may mean taking more leisurely walks in the park or indulging in a melon gelato. Sensuality and pleasure are actually essential to our vitality.

To be French is to be present in the moment and happy within it. Life and its abundance is here right now.

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