Sign up for our newsletter.
10 Things French Women Know

10 Things French Women Know

1. You have to love men - a lot.
As French author Marguerite Duras put it: “You have to love men. A lot, a lot. Otherwise, they are intolerable.” And indeed, French women love men - a lot. They prefer them to be in the picture, not out of it.

2.  Love is about nuance.
As girls, French women do not grow up picking flower petals and pondering love with the standard American refrain : “He loves me, he loves me not. He loves me, he loves me not.” Rather, they grow up picking petals with this standard French refrain: “He loves me a little. A lot. Passionately. Madly. Not at all. » In other words, they don’t grow up thinking in the absolutes of total love or utter rejection. Love is not black or white. Au contraire, French women think in nuances and degrees of passion.

3. There is art (and freedom) in not giving a damn.
There is freedom in the fine art of not giving a damn. French women don’t care about being liked and being like everyone else. They have no desire to be "all things to all people.” 

4.  Say “non” to Cookie-cutter Beauty.

French women embrace the virtues of “jolie-laide” – or “ugly-pretty.” They do not believe in perfection. Instead, they believe in the beauty of imperfections and tend to exalt the authentic.

5. Life is short. (Ergo: Enjoy it.)
French women have a keen sense of the brevity of time and the immediacy of pleasure.

6. Question authority.
French women do not believe in relationship experts, love gurus, how-to dogma, and tools or techniques for finding love.  When it comes to love and sex, one size does not fit all.

7.  Contradictions Co-exist.
French women embrace contradictions. They can simultaneously be
feminine and a feminist, sensualist and a traditionalist, classic and
libertine, submissive and powerful, compliant and defiant.

8. “Date”? There's no such thing.
French women (and men) have no word or concept for “date.”  

9.  Grown-ups have all the fun.
French women do not believe in being forever young.  You will never  see a French women wearing a t-shirt that says “Life begins at seventy" (because it doesn't).

10. Have a Life.
French women are more interested in having a life than making a living.

Adapted from What French Women Know: About Love, Sex, and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind with permission from author and Penguin Random house. 

August 11, 2015 
Sign up for our newsletter.