Thursday, May 13, 2010

i want to live in france

I've been reading Joie De Vivre this week because my friend, Denise, recommended it. Like Denise, I had never heard of joie de vivre.

The essence of the book is so simple -- enjoy the everyday -- yet it can be such a difficult goal to achieve depending upon your interpretation of that simple statement.

Today as I was reading during my lunch break, I thought how wonderful it would be to live in France and enjoy their customs. They seem to have a much more relaxed culture than we as Americans. Americans are always busy -- breakfast meetings, work through lunch, work late. When do we rest? When do we celebrate the everyday?

Let me just say that the French have it figured out -- a 2 hour lunch which includes a meal and a rest (not a nap, a rest) and then knocking off about 4:30 for a la pause gourmande which includes a treat, both food and drink. The author says it's the "perfect solution for the afternoon blahs."

Several paragraphs in this book have resonated with me. The first one was in reference to the potager (gardener).

The spirit of the potager is to grow a few things to eat fresh. It is not that hard to have enough fraises des bois so that everyone has two handfuls. That's really all you need.

Considering my little garden plot is quite tiny, two handfuls for each of us is about all I may produce. And that's fine. Just call me a potager.

Another aspect of the French that intrigues me is their love affair with coffee. I'm not a coffee drinker but I do like hot chocolate and hot teas and cider during the cold weather months. The French drink their coffee from a bowl. A bowl. What I love about it is that it allows you to wrap your hands around the warmth. The photo included made me think of the little bowls the Asian culture uses for teas. I think I'm going to see if I can find a couple of bowls for us to enjoy our hot drinks from next winter.

Such a lovely book. I think you might like it.


Anonymous said...

oh, I am so glad you like it. Makes you want to just pick up and move. Although, someone from yoga class this morning just came back from France. It is not all that it seems. They have their share of difficulties and their culture is changing. Oh well, I still loved the book.

Nancy said...

denise, i am loving it. i'm lucky in that i have been to france. at the time, i was much younger and didn't appreciate all that it had to offer. i did think paris was a dirty and unfriendly city but i'm going to be the optomist and think that life in a small french village must be as picturesque as the book portrays it.

Jenni said...

I'm going to add this to my to read list on Shelfari. (Are you on Shelfari?) I think I may already be living in France from your description, though. I take my time at lunch and I have my little mid to late afternoon snack and coffee. I don't drink out of a bowl, but half the pleasure of a cup of coffee is wrapping both my hands around the mug and enjoying the warmth. Today I will not think of myself as being slow or unmotivated; I will think of myself as being French;o) At least I will until about noon when I have to get out of here to pick up Jo.

Did I tell you I finished Olive Kitteridge? It was very different, but I really liked it, particularly "Incoming Tide" and "Starving".

Anonymous said...

i did check it out from the library and still have it. i read little bits of it when i want to relax. isn't it lovely. can you imagine a 2 hour lunch, and its expected, not just a treat. i loved the idea of the bowls too. have a great day!


i looove the french customs of the long lingering lunch and an afternoon respite...reminds me of my parents who still have 'tea' time at 4pm everyday (so english!).
i am gonna look for this book at the library today!

RecipeGirl said...

When we stayed in France, we had wine, cheese, baguette & fruit every day at 4pm and then didn't need any dinner. It was so wonderful :) I'll have to check out the book. In my current blog post, I muse about wanting to live in Italy!