An observation of an everyday Parisian woman from an everyday American female expat
As an American, I remember a time when I fantasied about living in Paris and thinking how amazing it would be to be a “Parisian woman”. First off, it seems like they magically never get fat. Secondly, their sense of style and fashion is on par and they don’t even need make up to look beautiful. Thirdly, they never get old (which is beyond me since half the population smokes cigarettes!) It seems like everything a Parisian woman does is just so effortlessly chic.. a sense of.. je ne sais quoi.
After 2.5-3 years of living in the city if lights, I’ve grown accustomed to the daily life of an everyday Parisian woman.
Forget the cliché black and white striped shirts, and the rich socalites walking the streets of Paris with their thousands of euro outfits. Many everday Parisian women like to feel comfortable and free in their clothing – even during nightlife. Many of the girls end up going out in jeans (normally black) and a top that they feel comfortable in. Another nightlife style would be to wear black tights, a good length sized skirt and another comfortable nice top. Essentially, they dress appropriately for the occasion. And on many occasions, what you see them wearing during the day is usually worn going out at night as well. Depending on who you are talking to, you can find many younger girls shopping at vintage stores and going to a, what they call “vide dressing”, which is a large expo of fashion designer clothing, being sold for very cheap (even as little as 5-10€ per clothing item!)
The theory that French women do not get fat is, at least in Paris, essentially true… For the most part. I’ve met many women who could eat an entire farm (exaggerating of course) and not gain an ounce of fat. But with this being said, it all comes down to genetics and the quality of the food. Compared to the food in the United States which adds various amounts of chemicals and preservatives, the food here is, by a long run, much healthier. Also, do not let us forget that Paris is walkable. Not many people own a car. If they do take the metro, they plan on walking at least 2-5 minutes underground to get to the next station or the exit. It goes to say that women in Paris are more “active”.
You’ll see everybody eating a baguette because… obviously. The bread here is amazing. But they love to experience new foods as well due to the plethora of different restaurants to discover in this city.
From what I’ve seen in my years here in Paris, Parisian women DO wear make up… but subtly. With the occasional few who really cannot be bothered. They’ll put on the usual foundation and concealer – but maybe with some natural eye shadow, mascara and some faint blush. When it comes to being bold, they tend to love their lipstick: reds of different hues, a natural colour, or even sometimes a dark purple. You will never see the everyday Parisian woman wearing a flashy bright pink lip colour (well maybe.. but definitely not many Kylie Jenners). The more natural they look, the better.
This category really depends on the specific Parisian woman. For instance, people say all French people smoke. That just simply is not true. Many of the everyday Parisian women do not smoke and take really good care of their health. And even those who do smoke, usually look 10 years younger than their actual age.
You’ll find most all Parisian women (and men) in NON-TOURISTIC areas, as most French people avoid this at all costs. It’s quite annoying for them to be going to work and having a group of tourists block the entire sidewalk/metro entrance. This is typically when people say French people are rude… In which in this case, I guess I’ve always been a French woman.
When it comes to socialising with friends, I’ve found that many of them prefer to have an intimate gathering at someone’s home or at a restaurant. For those who enjoy the nightlife scene, they’ll have a larger get together next to ‘la Seine’ and then migrate to a club or bar of some sort.
Like I’ve mentioned before… the lifestyle depends on the persons and their interests. There is no “specific” thing a Parisian woman does that other women around the world wouldn’t do. Every country has their own way of style and living. In Paris, I guess it’s just part of their “je ne sais quoi“.
By Ehryl O’Rourke