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Lessons From Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris [Anglais] [Relié]

Jennifer L. Scott

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Description de l'ouvrage

22 novembre 2012
Bring home the chic Parisian world of style and charm
When Jennifer Scott arrived at the doorstep of a grand Sixteenth Arrondissement apartment as a foreign exchange student, she was greeted by Madame Chic, the woman who would become her mentor and the inspiration for the way she lived long after her time abroad was over.
Each chapter of Lessons from Madame Chic reveals a valuable secret Jennifer learned while under Madame Chic's tutelage in Paris-tips you can incorporate into your own life, no matter where you live or the size of your budget. Embracing the classically French aesthetic of quality over quantity, aspiring Parisiennes will learn to master the art of eating (deprive yourself not), dressing (the ten-item wardrobe), grooming (le no-makeup look), and living à la française. Lessons from Madame Chic is the essential handbook for anyone wanting to incorporate that Parisian je ne sais quoi into her daily life.

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Lessons From Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris + Forever Chic: Frenchwomen's Secrets for Timeless Beauty, Style, and Substance
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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Introduction

I relax in the upholstered living room armchair. The smell of tobacco lingers in the air. The grand windows are open, allowing the warm Parisian night breeze to flow through the room, and the exquisite tapestry drapes end in an elegant puddle on the floor. Classical music plays on the vintage record player. The dishes are nearly cleared away but the last coffee cups still remain on the dining room table, along with a few crumbs of that day’s fresh baguette, so eagerly consumed earlier with a slice of Camembert cheese—the roi du fromage.

Monsieur Chic sits smoking his pipe in tranquil contemplation while nodding his head slowly to the music as though conducting the orchestra in his imagination. His son paces by the open window, holding a glass of port. Madame Chic walks in, removing the apron that so efficiently protected her A-line skirt and silk blouse. She smiles contentedly, and I help her remove the final coffee cups from the table. It has been another satisfying day in Paris—where life is lived beautifully, passionately.

In January 2001 I went to live with a French family in Paris as a foreign exchange student. I left the casual comforts of Los Angeles, boarded a plane with my fellow students from the University of Southern California (with two very large, overstuffed suitcases), and embarked on an adventure that would alter the course of my life in the most profound ways.

But, of course, I didn’t know that then. All I knew was that I was going to spend the next six months in Paris. Paris! The most romantic city in the world! I confess my excitement was clouded by some concerns. When I left California, I had only taken three semesters of French—my command of the language was clumsy at best. Also, six months is a long time to be away from one’s family and country. What if I got homesick? What would my French host family be like? Would I like them? Would they like me?

So a few nights after I landed in Paris, when I found myself sitting in the formal and austere dining room of Famille Chic, partaking in a five-course dinner, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows and precious antiques, I was already in love with my new, fascinating family. This family who was beautifully dressed, eating a well-cooked homemade meal (in courses!) on their best china on a Wednesday evening. This family who took tremendous enjoyment from the small pleasures in life and who appeared to have mastered the art of living well. This family with their nightly rituals and immaculate customs, built on tradition. How could this simple California girl, who was so accustomed to flip-flops and barbecues, have found herself living amongst the Parisian aristocracy?

Yes, Famille Chic (the name I will use to preserve their anonymity) were of an aristocratic heritage. Their tradition of fine living had been passed down to them from their illustrious ancestors, and generations upon generations of Famille Chic had practiced their art.

And who was this enigmatic Madame Chic? She was a mother and a wife. She worked part-time and volunteered. She was very traditional in her style; she never wore jeans. She was a brunette with a no-nonsense Parisian bob. She had very strong opinions. She was kind and nurturing and she could be bold and blunt (as you will see). She was a woman who knew what was important in life, and her family was the most important thing of all. She was the head of this household that lived so well. She made all of those delectable meals. She managed the intricacies of everyday life. She steered the ship.

In the beginning of my stay I thought all French families lived like Famille Chic—in a traditional and ceremonious manner. Then I had the pleasure of getting to know Famille Bohemienne (another host family in my study abroad program). Their household was run by Madame Bohemienne, a single mother with curly hair, a rosy outlook on life, and warmth and charm that illuminated her wild dinner parties. In contrast to Famille Chic, the Bohemiennes were casual, relaxed, boisterous, and well, bohemian! Yes, the two families lived their lives very differently, but both families lived passionate lives and lived them very well. It was my pleasure and privilege to observe them both.

This book originated on my blog, The Daily Connoisseur, when I did a series called The Top 20 Things I Learned While Living in Paris. I received so much interest from readers, I decided to elaborate on the lessons I learned from Famille Chic and Famille Bohemienne and record them in this book.

Each chapter presents a lesson I learned while living in Paris. Many of these lessons were learned directly from Madame Chic, whom I had the pleasure of observing in her own home and who so kindly took me under her wing. I learned some of the lessons from Madame Bohemienne. Some lessons I learned from the City of Light itself.

As a young college student, I had many ideas about what I’d learn while living in Paris, but I didn’t expect to learn so much about how to live life. How to really live it. How not just to exist, but to thrive. Ah, but I am getting ahead of myself . . .

Revue de presse

'Part tribute to the effortlessly glamorous Parisian way of life, and part tutorial for suburban women in America on how to emulate the French je ne sais quoi.'-Daily Mail

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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  239 commentaires
116 internautes sur 120 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 J'adore! 6 novembre 2012
Par Simply Luxurious - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
Jennifer L. Scott's Lessons from Madame Chic is certainly a must-have for Francophiles, but it is also a wonderful resource for anyone who wishes to cultivate a more simply luxurious way of living. Through beautiful narrations, Madame Chic's lessons are shared in three different parts on the subjects of Diet & Exercise, Style and Beauty, and lastly, How to Live Well.

Based on Scott's time as a foreign exchange student in Paris as a young woman, she is now a mother of two young daughters, happily married and living in southern California, so she converses with her readers from a relatable platform. Immediately upon reading it again, I was reminded of another author who shares her insights and tips on living well with inspiration from the French - Mireille Guiliano. Scott's tips are weaved skillfully into her experiences and time with Madame Chic and her Parisian family, so much so that you feel you are having a conversation with a trusted, yet wiser girlfriend.

And the beauty of discovering her book was that it didn't have to end once I finished reading it. As the founder of the blog The Daily Connoisseur, readers are able to enjoy a regular dose of inspiration and YouTube video instructions on how to continually integrate the fine art of French living into their every day lives.

The re-released edition of Lessons from Madame Chic (279 pages) contains the same content I initially raved about in my review in April, but is now adequately accessorized with illustrations found throughout the entire book from the talented artist and designer Virginia Johnson.

Filled with specific advice, anecdotes and descriptions of Madame Chic and Madame Chic's entire Parisian family, Scott shares ways to live a fulfilling life that are not only simple, but help to create a luxurious life that is rich and focused on what most all of us seem to want to put at the top of our priority list - healthy relationships, good health and the ability to be our best selves.

As I was reading I found myself underlining a sentence or two on nearly every page that I didn't want to forget, and after going back over these annotations I realized that the lesson of living formally doesn't have to take the beauty or the spontaneity out of living, but in fact it can enhance it. By showing respect to the life we've been given and then continue to create for ourselves we consciously make it all the more enjoyable.

Below are a few ideas for welcoming in a bit more formality and at the same time simplicity that I especially took favor too. Have a look:

1. Play classical music throughout your home

If you don't have any Bach cds laying around the house, simply go to Pandora on your computer, iPad or iPhone and search classical symphonic music, and it will create a radio station for you for free.

2. Eliminate snacking

Each meal that you sit down for is an opportunity to eat well. Scott explains how dinner in Paris with Madame Chic's family always included at least three, sometimes four, courses and one was always a cheese platter, yet still her host family was slender because when they ate it was mindful.

3. Create rituals to look forward to

Maybe every Saturday morning you wake up and stroll down to your favorite coffee shop for a tasty treat and chat with a good friend, or you play checkers with your son every Sunday evening in front of the fire or perhaps you take a bubble bath and savor a glass of wine after Monday has wrapped up. Take time to discover the activities that you enjoy doing either alone or with those you love and make them regular occurrences that are something to look forward to.

4. Wear luxurious lingerie

The mistake that seems to be perpetuated regarding lingerie is that it is worn for someone else. This is not entirely correct. In fact, a woman should wear beautiful, high-quality lingerie for herself. Simply knowing you are keeping something to yourself and at the same time have treated yourself to something luxuriously wonderful is certain to raise your confidence at least a smidge. While it will take time to build your lingerie wardrobe, know that you are worth investing in.
155 internautes sur 180 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Unintentional Commentary on US Lifestyle 17 décembre 2011
Par Khezla Durr - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
I enjoyed this book tremendously and found the chapters on skin care and makeup especially interesting to me personally. The author comes across as honest and candid about her feelings regarding her experience with French culture. Several things she says have also been discussed in Mireille Giuliano's books, so there is consistency.

However, I could not help but think about how much easier it would be for Americans to have a better work-life balance if so many people I know didn't have to work overloaded jobs at 50 and 60 hours a week to keep from getting laid off, plus deal with 2-hour daily commutes, and bosses who complain vigorously if a person leaves one's desk for anything more than a trip to the restroom or the company microwave to warm a frozen lunch, never mind a refreshing lunchtime walk. This is why we have gyms and home exercise videos, to replace what the French people get naturally in the course of a day's business. Also, it would be easy to turn out beautiful, gourmet meals and have an uncluttered house if the working women I know only had to work part-time like the lady of the house for the French host family of the author. The habit of the Frenchmen to pick up after themselves is a big help to the uncluttered look of a house, as well. How gallant of them.

The big secret of the French weight control seems to be lots and lots of walking and stair climbing. We're just not set up for that. Things here are laid out in a spacious manner conducive to driving and many, many areas, both commercial and residential, are too dangerous to walk in, whether because of pit bulls, no sidewalks, or demographics. The neighborhoods compact enough to walk in for any food marketing are generally older, and simply not safe. These are also the areas being referred to now as "food deserts".

I have just read that French workers receive 30 mandated vacation days per year, plus 10 holidays. When was the last time the majority of U.S. workers you know took any more than a total of 10 business days in a year's time -- and maybe not even that if there have been layoffs in the company, so now extra work is piled on an already overloaded job.

A wonderful book about the French lifestyle, and a sad commentary on ours.
49 internautes sur 57 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Primer for an elegant lifestyle 19 mars 2012
Par SwissMiss - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I just bought the Kindle version of this book over the weekend. It is a short read, and I skimmed over the last half of it. I enjoyed the concept, and I'm thoroughly impressed that this book began as a self-published title. It has received a lot of reviews and acknowledgment (an article on CNN.com!). I have also lived in Western Europe as an exchange student to Switzerland, and I wanted to see if Ms. Scott's observations/experiences were similar at all to mine.

Overall, this book is a good primer for those looking to bring refinement and simplicity to their lives. I agreed with many precepts and already utilize nearly all of her tips in my own life. Thus, I did not necessarily learn anything new from this book. However, for someone who has not traveled much or someone who wishes to give a book to someone looking for a more European/upscale lifestyle this book has much to offer.

For some however, this book many not resonate due to the banal advice. The grammatical errors and the colloquialisms detracted from Ms. Scott's overarching messages of elegance, grace, and formality as well. For instance, in the Kindle version, the word "tenant" is used when describing a Parisian lifestyle approach. From the sentence context, "tenet" would have been the correct word choice. These kinds of oversights can be easily forgiven when someone understands the spirit of the book. However, to me and other bibliophiles, this kind of mistake might be distracting. This is not to criticize Ms. Scott's efforts to make seemingly difficult lifestyle changes accessible; rather it is merely a comment or warning for readers who might be looking for sophisticated French cultural commentary or analysis.

On the whole, I enjoyed this book, and I have started reading Ms. Scott's blog The Daily Connoisseur as a result.
28 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Wonderful book! 26 novembre 2011
Par Hiromi - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I am an avid follower of Ms. Scott's blog. She keeps the same elegant, thoughtful, witty vibe of "The Daily Connoisseur", but it's all new stories and advice. I loved this book, and highly recommend it to all of her many fans! I find it centering to read Lessons From Madame Chic each day as I incorporate Ms. Scott's suggestions into my daily routine.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Sweet Paris Read 14 décembre 2011
Par LMKofIN - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
Do you love to read about anything French? Well, put this one on your must read list! Anyone searching for a peek on how they live will enjoy this. Jennifer writes of two polar-opposite Parisian households. Granted, she is a guest in their homes, so is treated as such, but isn't that part of the mystique?

Am a follower of her blog, "The Daily Connoisseur", where she opens up even more to the lessons she was taught, and how her stay affected her life forever now back in the USA. As a self-confessed Francophile I've certainly enjoyed her insight and tips.
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