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La Belle Vie: Underground Paris, winter sales and how to dress like a French person

Genevieve Mansfield
Genevieve Mansfield - [email protected] • 6 Jan, 2023 Updated Fri 6 Jan 2023 08:51 CEST
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People eat and have drinks on restaurant and cafe terraces in Paris (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY / AFP)

From how we become more French (without even realising it) to the best French ski resorts (when there's snow) and everything you need to know about French shopping sales, this week's La Belle Vie newsletter offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like a French person.


La Belle Vie is our regular look at the real culture of France – from language to cuisine, manners to films. This newsletter is published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences or adding your email to the sign-up box in this article.

The longer you spend in France, the more you might find yourself adapting to French culture in ways you did not previously expect. For Brits, that might mean drinking your tea without milk, for Americans it might mean that your taste buds have slowly become less accustomed to spicy foods (it is, unsurprisingly, harder to come by a delicious taco smothered in cholula sauce). 

As you adapt to eating and drinking à la française, you might even start craving a bite of cheese after a meal. These are some of the habits you might see change over time:

18 ways your eating and drinking habits change when you live in France

Another part of your life that you might notice slowly changing while in France is your fashion sense. I've noticed it in myself recently - my wardrobe has become notably more neutral, and when it comes to makeup, I've invested in more lipstick. I've also noticed that fellow Americans who have lived in France for some time tend to enjoy trying to guess whether the person on the opposite side of the street is American or simply enjoys 'athleisure'.

Dressing French can feel like an accomplishment - that you have reached some level of chic-ness, and the "How to look French" Google-search is still a popular one. While I will give the personal disclaimer that articles on this topic, in my opinion, have a tendency to focus more on how to look wealthy and Parisienne (France is no monolith), there might be some rules that tend to apply across the board.

How to dress like a French woman: Five tips to remember (and five to forget)

Regardless of whether a way to dress like a French woman truly exists, I do appreciate one traditional French way of thinking regarding fashion: that clothes should be an investment, and instead of buying several cheap pieces it is best to save your money for one staple item you will be able to pair with several other things.


One way you can do this is affordably is to plan to do your shopping during the French sales - and no I do not mean Black Friday. In France, the sales - or soldes - are highly regulated, and they only happen twice a year. In fact, there is a pretty fascinating history surrounding the soldes, and why they are the only time French stores are allowed to sell items for less than what they purchased them for.  

Everything you need to know about France’s 2023 winter sales

If you are visiting France in the winter, you can enjoy the soldes and (hopefully) some skiing too. 

France is home to thousands of kilometres of slopes, and there are options for all types of ski holidays - whether that be a family-friendly resort, one with great nightlife, the best slopes or a place with some options for non-skiers. You also can branch out from the Alps mountain range, and test out some of France's other peaks which can be just as stunning.

From high altitude to family friendly: 15 of the best French ski resorts

Unfortunately, however, skiing may be in danger in the coming years due to the climate crisis. Even this year, several resorts have had to close due to warm temperatures and not enough snow coverage. If you are looking to enjoy a ski holiday, you may want to prioritise a high altitude location, or plan to do so in the near future.


Looking on the bright side, resorts in France have begun to prioritise non-ski activities so that they can continue to offer fun, winter vacations in the years to come. Some are expanding and diversifying, to provide other activities like hiking and snowshoeing. 

How climate change left French ski resorts fighting for survival

Finally, visiting if you are visiting France's capital city during the winter, where the weather is likely to be overcast and chilly, you could always head underground. From the catacombs to the sewer museum and World War II relics, Paris' subterranean world is expansive and surprising. 

Skulls, beer and a ‘cathedral’: Discover the secrets of underground Paris



Genevieve Mansfield 2023/01/06 08:51

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