How the French find Joie de Vivre in daily life

Written by on July 15, 2013 in Guest Blogs

 joie de vivre

“She wanted to live, and live fully, and to give life, she who loved life! What was the good of existing, if you couldn’t give yourself?”

― Émile Zola, The Joy of Life

Joie de vivre. A love of life. Joy in living.

The sound of those words lights the spirit, makes one want to gulp up life, travel, explore, laugh, love and enjoy. Ah!

Life’s lovelies flood France. Joy and excitement are walking down every charming street, sitting in every café. It’s simple, you might say, to be in love with life when surrounded by such adorable enjoyments.

But there is a secret, of course. It’s not that easy. There is a hidden switch: it’s simple to discover adorable enjoyments when one is in love with life. Joie de vivre.

As the summer holiday season spans before us, simple pleasures, when relished and absorbed, fully evoke the good life in France. You’ll find fragments of luxury, thoughtfully inserted, establish a refined sense of taking one’s time. I can’t imagine anything more calming, more centering that being gently guided to take one’s time (guilt free, easy with the pressures).

joie de vivreBeing invited out of the sun, under a large café umbrella, so lightly touched by a warm breeze, to share a glass of wine, a small plate of herbed nuts, with a loved one…or a friendly stranger that can spin a story…or a mutty dog that rests peacefully at your feet. And why not? What else is there to do when these little things are so divine.

It deepens the breath, expands the mind. These things are not to be forgotten.

A lovely linen napkin, carefully folded. A milk-white cup and saucer filled with black coffee. A bottle of wine, half-full (the other half in your belly).  These pleasures create a purifying pause, a sit-back in one’s chair. And from that view you’ll miss nothing. You’ll see the happiness all around. It’s what drives the cars, hugs the children, wears the hats, picks the herbs…

My husband I shared a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc last week, legs stretched out, weekend ahead of us. It was divine in spirit, felt  fabulous. The conversation was about jalapenos (an odd finish), melons (a lovely nose), peppered gouda (a misguided choice with the wine) but it trailed, and went everywhere. It was a moment of love and happiness. It was a joie de vivre moment.  Later that weekend we picked basil, watched birds, discovered an outdoor concert. All experiences handed out by the universe, waiting to be enjoyed.

The French have been envied and observed for this knack, they make it look easy to stroll into pleasure and treats. Here’s their secret: it is easy. What’s waiting for you?

 Jill Barth is a writer who thinks you’d like a lovely glass of wine. She lives a darling imaginary life at Small Things Honored.

Related Articles

Honfleur | The Belle of Normandy

Honfleur | The Belle of Normandy

Written by on August 8, 2019 in Guest Blogs

Honfleur is a French fishing village in the department of Calvados, Normandy. It sits on the southern bank of the Seine estuary where the great river flows into the Atlantic Ocean. If you love authentic old French towns, then you will find Honfleur one of the most beautiful there is. What to see in Honfleur […]

Continue Reading

The Lot-et-Garonne | Authentic France in Fongrave

The Lot-et-Garonne department is in the southwestern of the Nouvelle Aquitaine region (previously Midi-Pyrénées). It’s has been described as “the France that you always hoped existed but could never quite find”. It’s idyllic; a paradise… Discovering Fongrave I looked over at my friend as she was talking feverishly about the still, quiet beauty of the […]

Continue Reading

Vintage Cars and Campers, Bicycles and Bader in Saint Omer, northern France

If you’re looking for a fun way to visit northern France, Les Belles Echappees in Saint Omer fits the bill. Located within the peaceful Ferme de L’Abbaye at Clairmarais, this family run organisation hires out restored classic vintage vehicles. Choose from sparkling VW camper vans to prestigious Citroen 2CV cars and VW convertible Beetles. There’s […]

Continue Reading

What did the Pont d’Avignon originally look like?

Sur le Pont d’Avignon L’on y danse, l’on y danse Sur le Pont d’Avignon L’on y danse tous en rond Many of us learned that song as kids, about the famous Pont d’Avignon in Provence (real name: Pont Saint-Bénézet). For those of us lucky enough to visit Avignon and see the bridge in all its […]

Continue Reading

How the French do politics

I live part of the year in Provence and one day I was reading Le Monde and a headline about a “sexy politician” caught my eye. “Well, those are two words you don’t see together very often,” I thought. So I read the article and found out that there had been a poll asking French […]

Continue Reading

Subscribe

If you enjoyed this article, subscribe now to receive more just like it.

Subscribe via RSS Feed

Comments are closed.

Top