5 Books You Need to Live Like an Effortlessly Chic French Woman

5 Books You Need to Live Like an Effortlessly Chic French Woman

Ah, la magie des femmes françaises. The magic of French women. How are they so wildly chic while making it look like they aren’t even trying? Elegance seems to happen so effortlessly for them. In truth, it isn’t effortless. By reading five different books dedicated to uncovering the secrets of how French women, I’ve learned that there is actually a whole lot of effort involved. But French women make it look effortless, and therein, I think, lies their charm.

What makes a French women so different? Is it their beauty? Their clothes? Or their attitudes?

To all: Yes.

French women have different ideas about what makes a woman beautiful, smart, and alluring. The French woman isn’t afraid to invest a lot of time and money in her beauty because she believes she is worth it. French women live differently, love differently, eat differently, dress differently, and most importantly, think differently. I did a deep dive into 5 books that unpack exactly why and how French women live the way that they do. Here are my 5 favorite books for learning to live like a French woman.

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Dress Like a Parisian

Written by French woman Alois Guinut, Dress Like a Parisian is a thorough guide on exactly how French women shop, dress, and curate their wardrobes. Full of beautifully curated images and illustrations, this guide is timeless rather than trendy, and will remain relevant when most magazine style guides are long expired. This book functions more like an encyclopedia than an easy read: you would rather keep it nearby as a reference guide to skim through according to need, rather than read straight through. With well-organized chapters and sections, you can find everything you need to know about color, patterns, textures, styles, and accessories. Want to know how to style animal print flats? What shade of lipstick to wear with that navy dress? What kind of shoes to wear with an a-line skirt? Dress Like a Parisian is exactly what you need to feel chic every day.

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All You Need to Be Impossibly French

My favorite book of the bunch, All You Need to Be Impossibly French was written by a British expat living in France. Helena Powell’s British roots give her a unique take on the French mystique, and acted as a confirmation for me that it isn’t just American women who are fascinated by their French counterparts. Through interviews, friendships, and her own experiences in the country, I think Powell gets that broadest and clearest picture of what French culture is really like. Powell writes about how French women approach dating, marriage, motherhood, and friendships, including a peek into the French attitude towards sex and infidelity. French women have a deep value for investing in their beauty, which I admire. The French woman is truly unparalleled in her commitment to her own beauty, through regular beauty treatments, careful eating habits to remain trim, and investing in high-quality style (in particular, lingerie). This book is the perfect combination of story and practical advice for how to add some French magic into your life. Like I said, this book was my favorite in the stack. If you want to read about how French women live and you’re only going to read one of these books, pick this one.

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How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are

Written by four French women, How to Be Parisian Wherever You Are is a collection of quips, essays, and funny dialogue that illustrates the many paradoxes in the French way of living. You’ll learn how these French women feel about everything from clothes to cooking, how they balance motherhood and their careers, and why they believe French women are the most magical beings on earth. Full of lots of silliness and bad advice, this playful read isn’t for those who take themselves too seriously. Beautiful photos and short snippets make this a great book to keep on your coffee table for delightful skimming. The best part of the book is the “Address Book” at the end, full of recommendations for the best places to eat, shop, and explore. Très magnifique.

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French Women Don’t Get Fat

Mireille Guiliano is a Frenchwoman who studied abroad in the States for a year and, upon her return home, realized that through her time in America, she had gained a bit of weight. When she got back to France, Guiliano had to rediscover her French practices around eating in order to shed the weight and keep it off. Since then, she has been unraveling exactly what it is that helps French women to stay trim. French women do not cut out entire food groups like many American dieters, but rather seek to uncover great pleasure in eating with mindfulness and moderation. French women would never remove bread, chocolate, or champagne from their diet, but rather practice a respect for more decadent foods by consuming them less frequently and in smaller amounts. French women buy and cook only the freshest ingredients, in season, and mostly locally grown. They honor meal time rituals, eating slowly and mindfully, and never, ever in front of a television. In short, French women respect their food, and in turn, it seems like the food respects them back. Guiliano’s writing in French Women Don’t Get Fat is straightforward, simple, and purposeful, much like her advice on food. For a more in-depth look at this book, read my blog post all about my experience eating the French way.

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Forever Chic

A fun and fascinating read, Forever Chic was written by an American woman who moved to France for a temporary job, fell in love with a Frenchman, and never left. Unlike the others, this book focuses on how French women age. How do they age? The same way they do everything else: mindfully, gracefully, and with a lot of great style. I really enjoyed reading a book that explained the lives and habits of older French women, since the other books in my stack seemed to focus mostly on younger women. The habits of extravagant selfcare they develop throughout their lives in the realms of work, style, eating, exercising, and skincare, need only be tweaked slightly to fit their new needs as they age. French women don’t cry over aging, but rather embrace it, with the same fervor and dedication. Forever Chic is a beautiful and honest picture of what it looks like for a woman to love and care for herself in every season of life.

Thank you for reading about the 5 books you need to live like an effortlessly chic french woman. To read my review of a beautiful novel about artists living in Paris, click here. To keep up with all of my reviews, join my email list below.

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Disclosure (Let’s be honest)
This website contains posts with affiliate links, meaning that I receive a small commission if you purchase a book I’ve linked— at no extra cost to you. I’ll always be upfront with you when a post is sponsored or a book is gifted. All books I recommend are books I actually read and enjoyed.
No joke.