I've learned the art of the red lipstick, to celebrate one feature at a time, and the pleasure and benefits of self-care.

Rendez-Vous with Carrie Anne James: French Lessons with the Founder of "French is Beautiful"

I fell for the darling Carrie Anne James the way many modern romances begin nowadays…on Instagram. Her daily posts teaching darling French phrases to her aspiring francophile followers are always a favorite in my feed. Like me, she is an American in Paris, and I knew her la vie en rose approach to daily life in France would make us a wonderful friend match. Carrie Anne has in fact made a career out of teaching French with her friendly and approachable flare through her online French school. I had a rendez-vous with Carrie Anne on a summer day in Montmartre to talk about learning the language of love, life in Paris, and French beauty…

Paris Rendezvous

Why do you think French is called the language of love? French not only sounds sensual, but it looks sensual. It’s produced in the front of your mouth and articulation takes place mainly via the lips. Notice how many different sensual contortions French people's lips make while speaking and you'll see what I mean!

What’s different about your approach to teaching French? I teach my students what they need to know to feel fluent the fastest. We tackle whatever intimidates them the most about the language first to ensure their journey feels effortless and joyful. In my first lecture, we practice the difficult French R to make pronunciation effortless like a true Frenchie. We also tackle the present, subjunctive, and most popular forms of the past tense right away in my Level 1 course, while typically these are taught much later.

What are some of your favorite French phrases? Some of my favorite phrases are just little things I use every day among friends, and others that really inspire me as words to live by, remembering to see the beauty in the world and leave room for surprises in life…

J’adore! → I love it!
Merci, ma beauté. → Thank you, my beauty.
La vie est belle… → Life is beautiful…
Et si tu te laissas surprendre? → And if you let yourself be surprised?

What have the French taught you about beauty? In fact, my mother was my first lesson in l'élégance française. She taught me as a little girl to always take care of my skin. I remember her at her vanity before bed applying her Lancôme creams, and how thoughtfully displayed them in front of her mirror. It was her daily ritual. But the French have taught me less is more and no beauty routine can overcome the veil of insecurity. I've stopped blow drying my hair. I've learned the art of the red lipstick, to celebrate one feature at a time, and the pleasure and benefits of self-care. Simply valuing and taking care of yourself, inside and out, including treating yourself to your favorite beauty products.

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