“French elegance lies in the balance of romance and restraint.” -Sarah Turnbull
Lately, I’ve had France on my mind. Perhaps due to the recent conclusion of the French Open or the festivities in Normandy to honor those who gave us the future we have today. I’m not quite sure why this sudden urge to dive back into the French culture has inundated my thoughts, but regardless, I am loving it.
And it is by no mistake that last month while reading Sarah Turnbull’s memoir Almost French, the above quote found its way into my journal. The essence of the quote is what lies at the heart of my absolute adoration of the French culture – quality being preferred over quantity. Having an eye and the knowledge to know what is enough and what is necessary takes practice. Some people have an innate ability to discern this beautiful balance, but anyone can become skilled with such knowledge following attentive practice.
There are so many aspects of life that when keeping the understanding of this balance in mind can amplify the experience, beauty and potential of any occasion. Such as:
Knowing when to say what you desire to convey the appropriate feeling, appreciation, or rebuttal without saying too much and appearing the loquacious, ignorant fool
Being aware of the appropriate amount of accessories, make-up, prints vs solids, all the while keeping the proportions in check reveal an effortless tasteful understanding of how to allow our true beauty to shine without drowning it with excess
Enjoying quality food – fresh seasonal produce, rich olive oils, actual butter, a glass of decadent wine, organically raised proteins, and an amazingly concocted dessert should not be something to shun, but rather something to luxuriate in. And as such foods are made to satiate one’s palate, not tease, moderation is simple to keep in check.
~Our Personal Life
Valuing the privacy of one’s personal life and revealing just enough to present an appropriate, honest image is often disregarded in our social media love affair. However, simply because we each have a megaphone (our social media sites, etc), doesn’t mean everything should be shared. I for one, am drawn to individuals who I know each moment spent with them won’t be broadcast to everyone else.
One signature piece of decor is a memorable and magnificent choice when choosing how to style a room, a tablescape or any vignette. To bring in too many elements drains the power of that singular special element. Choose items that complement, rather than compete, with the stars of each room. And when in doubt, choose less rather than more because with time you will realize the precisely perfect piece that can be added.
So you have a week in Paris. What should you do? Depending upon whether you’ve visited before, you will want to take in a few tourists sights, but most importantly, blend leisure with beauty, schedule time to sit and savor, and remember to let the city lead you where it will. In other words, find a balance of “must-see” with “will see” what happens, that is. The beauty of any travel occasion is the journey that unfolds, not how much you can cram into your schedule.
~The Art of Seduction
More is merely more when it comes to exposed skin, sexual rendezvous and well, I think you get the idea. Creating an air of mystery, prolonging the electricity charged moments of “courting” and simply engaging in scintillating conversation create that beautiful balance of foreplay and true intimacy that add up to more brilliant potential down the road. Some of the best evenings unfold when everything is left unexpected and as though paused before the next episode can begin.
~The Contented Life
The life we seek that will be filled with genuine contentment materializes when we become clear about the life that will truly fulfill us. It is the ability to let go of expected behaviors that we follow merely because of others’ prompted and rather devote more time and energy to those people, projects and careers that capture our undivided attention without having once requested it. Knowing what to welcome into our personal worlds and what to let go takes time, but in knowing which should go and what should stay is the key to the magical life we seek.
Whether every French citizen embodies these qualities, one can never be sure, but I know at least from my experience is that it is their ability to say “no”, to not always deferring to the requests of what is asked that is appealing to me. While being friendly is one thing, being a push-over and perpetual people pleaser eliminates any possibility of others truly getting to know who we actually are.
While seeking this covetous balance requires of us each to be living consciously in each moment, I can’t think of a better way to live, no?
~SIMILAR FRANCOPHILE POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~33 Lessons Learned in Paris (2013)