It’s a common stereotype that French women don’t fear aging, but it’s not necessarily true for all French women.
However, those who have been to France will agree with me that French women are really something. No wonder they are considered to be representative of the standards in style, the embodiment of chic and sophistication. They even age beautifully, becoming even more luxurious with age, like expensive wine. You will be surprised by the number of well-groomed and well-dressed women who are over 50 on the streets of Paris. They calmly wear short skirts and look very harmonious in them, even if their skin isn’t perfect.
French women are eternally in love with life and with themselves. Their smile sparkles with warmth, and the ease of movement catches the eye. They look amazing at any age. It seems that time has no power over them at all.
What are their secrets?
Find out below… or watch our Youtube video.
“Joie de vivre”
The French cultural emphasis on “joie de vivre,” or the enjoyment of life, may have something to do with it. French culture places a strong value on enjoying life’s simple pleasures, such as good food, wine, and spending time with loved ones. This emphasis on living well may contribute to a more positive outlook on life, including aging.
In France, it is generally accepted that after forty, the second youth comes. So much has been achieved, much has been learned, and it is time to enjoy still good physical shape and experience as a result of life decisions and mistakes.
The first thing that French women learn is to always devote time to themselves. They learn this from childhood. Even if a heap of urgent problems has accumulated, Madame or Mademoiselle will always set aside a few hours or minutes for herself to stay in shape and look her best.
French women are very fond of themselves and their bodies, so they are admired by the whole world. They listen to their desires, never reproach themselves for anything, and do not suffer from remorse. This approach allows them to be beautiful, young, and loved, regardless of age.
A Frenchwoman, especially in adulthood, will not think even a bit about whether to buy her new shoes for herself or a game console for her teenage son, for example. Shoes, of course! They make expensive purchases, travel on their own, and spend money on themselves and their personal pleasures without hesitation. And this is considered entirely normal.
With age, French women allow themselves more, not less—good food, travel, expensive clothes, etc.
Even middle-income women buy expensive and comfortable things for themselves – cashmere, silk, good shoes, and at least one expensive bag. Together, this adds up to the elegant style of mature women, which is so admired by tourists.
French women are calm about age and wrinkles. They believe that at a certain age, the absence of wrinkles in a woman is more of a sign of mental problems than a reason for envy.
The recipe in this plane is very simple: do not take yourself too seriously, and do not dramatize your own age. Gallant French are very sensitive to the second period of passion and mature femininity, which comes closer to 50 years. And no one would seriously worry about it.
Freedom of self-expression
At any age, you can wear what suits you. In France, there is no concept of “clothes not according to age.”
French women, even at 50, calmly wear skirts above the knee and skinny jeans. Mom and daughter often buy clothes of the same style. It is clear that by the age of 40, taste and financial capabilities change; more often, they prefer the classic style. But in no other country there are so many women 45-65 years old in tiny neat dresses and tight jeans!
The French approach to beauty and fashion
French culture also values personal style and individuality, which can contribute to a more confident approach to aging. French women often prioritize their own unique style and beauty routines over following trends, which can create a sense of authenticity and self-assuredness.
They are known for their chic style and effortless beauty, which may include a more natural, understated approach to makeup and hair. This can create a sense of confidence and ease around their appearance, regardless of age.
If you are able to look in the mirror and see who you really are and not who you once were or who you think you are, then taking some positive actions, you can make the second half of your life richer and fuller. Mireille, in her book French Women Don’t Get Facelifts, calls it “aging with attitude.”
“I am a mature woman, I have achieved a lot, and I enjoy myself, the city and this moment,” is the manifesto of a beautiful French woman in her fifties drinking her glass of wine in a café overlooking the Champs-Elysées.
Celebration of cultural icons at every stage of life
One possible reason for the perception that French women don’t fear aging is that the French tend to celebrate their cultural icons and icons of beauty at every stage of life. For example, actresses like Catherine Deneuve and Isabelle Huppert are often praised for their beauty and style even as they age. This can create a sense that aging is something to be embraced and celebrated rather than feared or hidden.
In many countries – and in our society too – you can often see how lively girls grow into beautiful girls, then become young women, then disappear somewhere, and the eye catches grandmothers, often tired of everything and lost interest in life. Brisk, cheerful seniors, who can be found in the pool or on the ski track in winter, are either former athletes or, rather, an exception.
In France, hiking, climbing mountains, kayaking, playing tennis, running in parks, skiing, etc., is a way of life, not a commitment to sports.
An active lifestyle is part of the French national culture, and no one would think of abandoning it because of old age. Even on vacation, the French seniors are more likely to be seen diving or surfing instead of lying on the beach under an umbrella.
With all this, French women are not too eager to bother themselves with serious sports, unlike the Americans, believing that any violence against themselves does not bring anything useful to a normal, healthy woman.
A healthy sense of humor
The famous French sarcasm helps French women not to perceive their age and aging as a drama. No other language has such a number of proverbs and jokes on the topic.
Healthy humor and the ability to laugh at themselves help French women treat aging normally and not be horrified by how quickly time flies.
Food as religion
The French obsession with food translates into a desire to eat elegantly and beautifully. French women generally eat little and often in restaurants and cafes, enjoying mini-portions, wine, and good company.
Between quantity and sophistication, French women choose the latter. And with age, when finances allow, they more and more appreciate the process and taste.
With age, such a desire to give oneself pleasure only intensifies while the appetite remains still low: food for the French is not only a physiological satisfaction of hunger but also a social act, a way of happy communication with friends.
French women do not sit on diets but remain in shape thanks to their sense of proportion.
Nimble social life
Unlike American women, who often prefer TV and home leisure to social life, French women, especially in large cities, are becoming more active with age. Children have grown up and do not require constant attention; life is established – it’s time to go to parties, guests, good bars, cinemas, and biennales. An active social life keeps them on their toes.
An active social life is always fueled by self-care: hairstyle, manicure, elegant outfit. And, of course, high-quality shoes with low heels. French women appreciate comfort very much.
In terms of health and wellness, French culture places a strong emphasis on preventative care, including regular check-ups, healthy eating, and exercise. This can help to promote overall health and well-being as women age, which in turn can contribute to a more positive outlook on life.
American Rebecca Plantier wrote a whole book about how French women manage to live to the fullest at any age. It is called “Lessons in Beautiful Aging: Secrets of French Women.” The writer lived in Paris for some time and watched the local ladies of mature age. She told how they manage to live beautifully and not be afraid of age-related changes. You can buy her book on Amazon (just click the image).
It’s worth noting, however, that there are certainly French women who do fear aging, just as there are women in every culture who may struggle with aging-related anxieties. The perception that French women don’t fear aging is a stereotype that may not hold true for everyone. Ultimately, each woman’s experience with aging is unique and shaped by a wide range of factors.