Habitudes: Simple Parisian Pleasures for Your Daily Life

I owe much of my decision to move to Paris to the allure of a simple life. As seductive as all of its glitter and glamour can be, it wasn’t what sold me on living here.

A two week stay in a small studio apartment below the Jardin du Luxembourg on one of my first visits convinced me that one doesn’t need a lot to be happy in Paris. Paris in my opinion is almost as much a mindset as a destination. The Parisian habitudes I’ve adopted allow me to savor little joys throughout each day. Wherever you are, try out a few aspects of the Parisian way of life and see for yourself…

Paris Rendezvous

• Mornings at the boulangerie - Many Parisians first stop before work is the corner bakery for a croissant or pain au chocolat. Can you imagine a better way to start the day than the smell of fresh baked goods?

• Proper greetings - The French ease into the work day starting with properly greeting colleagues. Say hello, ask them how they are and wish them a great day. We don’t just barge in on colleagues and ask for something we need. We show a friendly interest in their well being with a bit of conversation before getting to the point. It may seem tedious, but it goes a long way to create a pleasant community at work.

• Walking whenever possible - Parisians prefer to walk than ride. The city is beautiful, and best appreciated up close and personal on foot, finding joy in the beautiful details and amusing little encounters we stumble upon.

• No working lunches - You will rarely find a Parisian eating over their keyboard. The lunch hour is sacred whenever possible. Do as the Parisians do and step away from the office, savor your food with colleagues and talk about anything other than business. It’s not just more agreeable, but you’ll find yourself happier and more focused the rest of the day.

• The coffee pause - I love that we call coffee breaks a pause in French. Putting life on hold a minute (or an hour or two!) is exactly what they’re for here. It’s an afternoon ritual enjoyed in good company or alone and should never be rushed.

• The apéro - When work is done, we celebrate. A small drink out with friends or colleagues or at home before dinner while cooking is a little indulgence the French never deny themselves the pleasure of.

• Fresh markets and traiteurs - Rather than one stop shopping at the supermarché (supermarket), Parisians take great pleasure in their quartier’s farmer’s market and each individual traiteur. From the butcher to the cheese monger and so on, it’s a delight, not a hassle to get the regular’s welcome at each stop they make in search of the perfect ingredients for dinner.

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