It’s 2021 and you’re still starting on a fresh new page — tomorrow. This is good because you can really do anything you please and also because you’re ready to be filled with some motivational resolutions. At some point last year when you were languishing during the worst of the pandemic, you definitely said, “I don’t read enough,” “I wish I watched more Godard movies,” “I am watching Garfield at 11 AM and this is not a good thing,” or… you get the point…
It is now time to complete those with a bit of a French flair (you are a Francophile, after all). The French joie-de-vivre is filled with everyday activities that we often skip stateside, but are quite commonplace across the Atlantic. Here’s your ultimate compilation of French-inspired resolutions to follow in 2022.
Just looking at the amount of bookstore and bouquinistes there are in France makes it obvious that it’s a country that reads a lot. (An average of 20 books a year.) In fact, you’re more likely to see a Métro passenger reading than listening to music in their headphones. Read more: magazines, newspapers, books (aim for 10 a year) and you will be a step closer to a true Frenchy.
Coffee and contemplation is a staple of French living. Sit down, take a café-crème and think. Try not to read or look at your phone, just take an hour to yourself. If you can’t do an hour, start with 15 minutes and work your way up. Even in the cold, a coffee outside during the pandemic can do wonders for clearing your mind.
Cinema is a religion in France, one you should follow as well. Even if blockbusters are not your scene, New York has some great theaters like the Metrograph and Angelika that show some classics and even offer a side of beef tartare if you’d in the mood (Metrograph). It’s also a great way to take care of yourself, show some self-love if you go alone, or solidify your social life. Don’t forget your mask!
Your skin is one of the most sensitive organs and it’s really never too early to start anti-aging treatments or at least use hydration masks — the French know this to be true. Whether you grab a set of masks from Vichy to try or book a full treatment, you’ll be living à la Parisienne.
The French don’t work out, they do sport (direct translation from French). The full truth is that they don’t love to go to the gym or to workout classes, but they do find an alternative. They walk a ton, they run to the wine store before it closes, and they get fresh air by using the new electric scooters scattered all around the city. American cities are yet to widely introduce this alternative mode of transport, but D.C. and a few other cities do have it. Conclusion: get a trottinette (scooter) or a bike.
Joe Dassin sang about the Champs-Elysées and Serge Gainsbourg and the gang never left the Parisian jazz caves, which are truly a national treasure. Live music is often a preferred choice of leisurely activity for the French, instead of clubs or rowdy bars. When was the last time you listened to live music? You may, of course, get that for free in Central Park, but your local jazz bars might pleasantly surprise you too.
The French are not interested in added sugar. Make your own orange juice — there’s no better way to wake up than with a healthy dose of vitamin C without the concentrate in the bottled version. Make your own yogurt, it’s easy (we promise). Buy fruit from a farmers market. It’s not as tasty as in France, but it’s undeniably better than grocery store fruit.
You don’t have to be a major chef — a light apéro will do. Houseguests are a staple of French living and it is time you up your social life beyond after-work drinks. Binax-now tests stacked in the hall, ready to go!
Sunday lunch with famille is commonplace in France, but while you may not live near your family you can also make an attempt to see them a bit more than in 2022–rapid antigen tests stocked, and ready to go. And if you can’t, never underestimate a good phone call.