That was a cute piece of advice a girlfriend gave me before I left Byron Bay, Australia for my new life in Paris, which captured my imagination and immediately became my cheeky intention.
Far from being just a greeting, I’ve discovered bonjour to be a way of being. It opens doors to all kinds of communications throughout the day, fosters a positive attitude with others and basically says Oui ! to life … french-style.
FIVE FUN WAYS TO ADD BONJOUR TO YOUR DAY
The French take time to enjoy life, not rush through it. In Byron Bay, I was always running on the beach or at yoga class by 6am, downing a kale smoothie by 8am then rushing to work by 9am. Not in Paris! Because bedtimes are so much later in summer and mornings are darker in winter, it’s too damn hard to rise at that kind of hour. I have girlfriends in Paris who take until 11am to get out the door. Some favourites :
· Make love before getting out of bed for work.
· Wake up naturally without an alarm.
· Brew a Nespresso and take it back to bed with the newspaper.
· En route to work, savour your coffee where you buy it, in a real cup, sitting down, sans portable (without your mobile).
... alongside (or dunked into) your Nespresso shot, or chocolat chaud. Food takes precedence over everything in France and is part of what accounts for the joie de vivre. Don’t feel guilty about skipping the five food groups; that’s what cheese (protein) and wine (fruit) are for later in the day.
Such as the nutty Comté cheese you’ll enjoy later with your champagne (or wine). Or fragrant flowers to brighten your apartment. The marchés in Paris are even better than the farmers markets I used to visit in Byron Bay. They’re scattered all over the city and you can smell the aromas of fresh baguettes, cheeses, flowers, crêpes, charcuterie and pâtisseries before you even see them. The French love to shop fresh daily and it’s one of the nicest ways to slow down and appreciate la vie.
In France, everything closes on a Sunday except restaurants, museums and markets. The perfect excuse whilst having a lie-in to adopt one of the above indulgences. Or several at the same time.
The French faire la bise (kiss) everyone they encounter, on both cheeks, when saying hello and goodbye. It’s so touching to witness, because historically it’s a symbol of peace and trust dating right back to the French Revolution. And it's so much warmer and friendlier. Men do it to eachother too. You don’t actually touch your lips to someone’s cheek, you simply make a small smacking sound as you gently brush cheeks. So no chance of ruining your perfect Parisian-red lipsticked lips.