It’s probably pretty obvious at this point that our love for all things French runs deep. What can we say? There’s just something so aspirational about that je ne sais quoi: the fact that Parisian women manage to look both completely put-together and impossibly effortless at the same time. In truth, we know that the secret is balance. French girls really do care how they look, but they also know not to fuss too much about it. And this almost laissez-faire approach happens to align with their summer fitness and diet strategies as well.
I didn’t completely understand how French women managed to indulge in all their local goodies without gaining weight until I lived in Paris for several months in college. I can still smell the fresh baguettes I enjoyed on a daily basis; I still have the dozens upon dozens of corks I amassed from all the wine bottles my friends and I worked through during our stay. No joke: I used to wander into different chocolate shops just to sample sweets. Yet somehow, I never gained a pound. It seemed miraculous at first, until I began to observe tiny lifestyle shifts that were foreign to my life at home in the States.
I walked constantly, for one thing. Yes, I enjoyed lots of wine, but it wasn’t uncommon to sip on a single glass for a few hours as I read a textbook at my local café. When I went out to eat, I enjoyed incredibly fresh meals, often crafted from local, seasonal produce… in much smaller portions than would typically be served at an American restaurant. (Fun fact: Taking doggie bags to go is not an encouraged practice in France.)
Of course, these are my own personal observations gathered over a relatively short period of time. Which is why we thought it only fitting to head straight to the source to better understand exactly how French women manage to stay slim while also maintaining a healthy appetite—and, in turn, their sanity. Below, see some must-know tips from Parisian models, beauty gurus, and more.