One French phrase we all often hear is
joie de vivre. There is something so poetic about the nature
of the term in French, that it just doesn’t feel the same translating into another language. The “joy
of living” doesn’t have that same feeling, able to imply the philosophy and art that
joie de vivre
encompasses. I’ve come to understand over the years
joie de vivre
is as much a part of Lancôme
as it is a part of French culture on the whole because to both, happiness is beautiful. It’s about
cultivating joy, living slowly, and appreciating things big and small.
The French have taught me well in my nearly nine years here, but in more recent years there
seems to be some international speculation that the French have lost their
joie de vivre. I assure
you, anyone who tries to tell you so is very wrong. Sure, the French also have a humorous
reputation of complaining, about work or whatever may rub them the wrong way in the current state
of the world. But therein lies the magic of French
joie de vivre — it’s true essence is deeply
personal, individual and apart from the greater problems of the world, a sort of precious space of
mind and way of living that brings one back to the things that matter, the things before your own
eyes in the here and now. And so here is what
joie de vivre
means to me and many of the French
so that you too can see that
la vie est belle...
Take your time.
Ah yes, the proverbial stop and smell the roses. But the French really take this to
heart. They lunch longer and drink slower for one. They’ll rarely speed down the highway, or run to
catch a train or a bus. One comes to understand when they stop rushing around, that there is very
little reason in life to actually do so. So much effort and stress for very little gain. The French know
that slowing down allows one to appreciate and live in each moment more fully.
When it comes to food and festivities, the French are masters of living
seasonally. Embracing something different about each season means there is always something to
look forward to, even in cold and grey winter month
s there are annual trips to the snow, holiday
parties to throw, raclette to cook and so on.
Put friends and family above all.
The French know what’s really important in life, and that friends
and family always come first over work and other mundane responsibilities. This may be annoying
for those who want to call on people late at the office, but it’s one of the greatest things about life in
France. The French love having big families and have very active social lives because they make
time for both.
Surround yourself with beauty.
When it comes to design, the French will rarely put function over
form. They believe living a life that is aesthetically beautiful is not just nice, but essential to
happiness. They seek out beauty in their everyday lives, from their homes to their vast appetite for
culture-enjoying art, theater, dance and more. They find beauty in small things like reveling in the
smell of a beautiful fragrance and so on.
Find the humor in things.
Some people misinterpret this as the French being negative, but the
reality is that the French can find humor in almost everything. They don’t worry too much about
being politically correct or stepping on someone else’s toes, they speak freely and have perfected
the art of teasing people, not to be mean but rather as a sign of affection and reminder not to take
anything too seriously in life and that there is always cause for laughter.