Eight Ways French Women Treat Themselves Right
French culture evokes a range of emotional responses from visitors around the world: delight, curiosity, envy, wonder, admiration, and perhaps on occasion, laughter. Yet somewhat surprisingly, no facet of French culture is as enigmatic—and fervently desired—as the seemingly effortless beauty and style of French women. It is as though they have access to an old secret, handed down generation after generation, that no other culture can quite seem to uncover. Their grace, class, and sophistication have inspired poetry, art, and even architecture and interior design, and they are among the many influences behind the feminine-inspired aesthetic of the Hôtel Des Arts Saigon. Guests who experience the hotel’s sophisticated Indochine Chic interiors will see signs of powerful female figures from East and West, including Vietnam, London, and of course, France.
What is it about French women that gives them such a radiant glow, a confident gait, and a healthy physique? Here are the eight key characteristics that will help you understand how French women live their best lives, and unveil the secrets of their effortless beauty and style.
A recurring theme in French culture is an enduring reverence for the body and self-care. Small, local specialty stores are far more popular than supermarkets in Paris. French women buy their bread from the boulangerie, their cheese from the fromagerie, and their sweet pastries from the patisserie. Ingredients are fresh, local, and without the excess fats, sugars and artificial additives found in processed, mass-produced food. This same philosophy is what inspires the cuisine at Saigon Kitchen Restaurant and Social Club Restaurant, which sources its ingredients from the best local farms, as well as importing high-quality products from around the world.
The open kitchen at Social Club Saigon
2. Prioritize Skincare Over Makeup
A key characteristic of French women’s appearances is the “no-makeup” look, which essentially minimizes the amount of cosmetics used to add small enhancements to their natural features, rather than radically transforming their entire face. While many women opt to hide their blemishes with concealers and chemical-heavy products that cause dryness, irritation, and even skin peeling, French women focus instead on nourishing and brightening their skin, which enables them to go for a more “natural” makeup look that doesn’t involve layers of cover-up and foundation.
Another critical part of naturally healthy skin is a sensible and nutritious diet. But unlike other Western countries where eating processed and prepared foods is often the norm rather than the exception, French women focus instead on measured, healthy eating habits that focus on the enjoyment of food, rather than “yo-yo” dieting that lends itself to binge-eating and overindulging on guilty pleasures.
Madi Ross chooses fresh pressed juice at Saigon Kitchen
Moderation governs the French female way of life, so that she frequently enjoys eating what she loves, but in small, sensible increments. For instance, to satisfy a craving for sweets, she might indulge in just one square of chocolate, or perhaps a slice of fruit, or a small dessert. Perhaps no place in Saigon is more suited to satiate your craving for a small indulgence than the Cafe des Beaux-Arts, which serves delightful gourmet treats, tea, and cocktails with an elegantly French-inspired aesthetic from 7 am - 10 pm, so you can treat yourself at any time of day.
4. Walk Everywhere
Anyone who stays in Paris for even just a day will notice something remarkable. People walk, everywhere!
There is perhaps no better and healthier way to consistently maintain an active lifestyle than to walk from A to B whenever possible. This is one of the easiest secrets to looking fit, feeling energetic, and embracing a slowed-down lifestyle that really allows you to take in your surroundings. Don’t have time to set aside for intensive, heavy workouts? A small, incremental change in your lifestyle, like walking more often, can help you stay active anyway!
5. Embrace Aging Gracefully
French women do not give up on their beauty, charm, and grace after “a certain age.” In France, age is truly a number--not an inhibitor to enjoying life, looking your best, and doing what makes you happy. French women over 40 like Isabelle Hupert, Isabelle Adjani, Juliette Binoche, and Ines de la Fressange are revered worldwide for their astonishing beauty and class, even as they approach their latter years.
Eating right, maintaining a balanced and active regiment, and embracing your age--these are all characteristics of women who treat their bodies with the utmost care and respect. French women frequently “treat” their bodies to facials, long baths, special skin treatments, spa days, and massages. These moments in life are not seen as “luxuries,” but rather absolutely essential to well-being. If you can’t take the time to care for your body, you won’t be able to live your life and care for others to the fullest.
Coach Lane enjoys Saigon’s spectacular sunset in the infinity pool at Social Club Rooftop Bar
Le Spa Des Artistes at the Hôtel Des Arts Saigon specialises in spa treatments for every aspect of the feminine physique. Specially catered to female travellers, there’s no better way to relax and unwind--especially in the midst of a hectic travel schedule--than with a day (or 2!) at this world-renowned facility. The staff at Le Spa Des Artistes are self-care experts who can guide you through an unforgettable reward for your body’s hard work.
7. Beauty Rest is Essential
French women know that a healthy sleeping routine is essential for a vibrant, energetic lifestyle. Everything from the right lighting, to the temperature, to the layout of your room, to the things you eat and drink before you sleep can affect one of the most important cycles of your day-to-day life.
Stacie Flinner enjoys breakfast in bed in one of Hotel Des Arts Saigon’s luxury suites
Hôtel Des Arts Saigon features some of the finest sleeping quarters in the city, showcasing chic, modern Indochina interior design. Luxurious bedding complete with Pillow Menu and daily turndown service, full marble bathrooms, freestanding Bordeaux bathtubs, and a quaint old-world elegance creates a positive, tranquil environment. It is the perfect way to make sure you keep sleeping comfortably during your travels, no matter how far you’re coming from.
8. Outer Confidence, Inner Beauty
French women are confident. They celebrate themselves. They don’t fuss too much over makeup, over what they eat, over trying the latest fad exercise trend or diet. They appreciate the good things in life and don’t withhold good things from themselves, but instead enjoy them in moderation. They treat and pamper themselves not out of excess, but out of necessity. They embrace their age as they grow older, and as they grow in maturity, they grow in confidence.
Image source: Hôtel des Arts Saigon