French Women Live the Seasons

“In the twenty-first century, we can no longer expect to receive lifestyle as an inheritance; it has become a matter of active choice,” writes Mireille Guiliano.

Guiliano’s French Women for All Seasons. is my first book for Rose City Reader’s 2017 European Reading Challenge.

This book is the sequel to French Women Don’t Get Fat, Guiliano’s guide to the secrets French women know, and many in the West have forgotten, about enjoying life without overdoing things.

As president and CEO of Clicquot, Guiliano knows more about food and wine than just about anyone. Her extensive advice on them (complete with seasonal menus) reads like a conversation with a friend you trust.

But it’s her philosophy of enjoying life through intentional balance that is a delight in French Women for All Seasons. She explains how to live a full life precisely by enjoying small things in all their details–and each in season.

Here are some of the passages I tape-flagged for remembering:

“…[A] full experience never feels hurried….[T]he plan for life involves us in the perpetual cycle of adjustment that is the seasons of the year. The art of living is pacing yourself in the long run.”

“The world is no longer set up to furnish such occasions [as regular family rituals]; we make them for ourselves. We must: life would lose all satisfaction without the time we set aside–the days and hours and even the odd moment–that we reserve to enjoy it. This is not selfishness; it is just living, an opportunity too precious to waste.”

“If you work at it, you can almost manage never to make the same soup twice.”

“Have you noticed that people tend to chomp on apples without even looking at them? No wonder we were kicked out of the Garden of Eden.”

“As the fox in Saint-Exupéry’s Little Prince says, ‘One sees the essential only with the heart. The Essential is invisible to the eyes.'”

I love that Mireille Guiliano is more concerned with how to live than with how to “diet.” It puts things in order and in proper perspective. French Women for All Seasons reminded me to make the most of the natural seasons, and to enjoy their differences, as they happen.

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2 thoughts on “French Women Live the Seasons

  1. I loved this book! Until I just didn’t. Finally I got to the point where she seemed just too perfect. I felt like her next lesson was going to be that I really only needed to eat half the strawberry to enjoy the full strawberry experience. That’s what a Frenchwoman would do.

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