Eat Like a Parisienne, Work Out Like Une Americaine Part II

Apr 24, 2012 | Recipes | 19 comments

A little about Parisienne’s…

It’s been hashed over and talked about so much it’s almost redundant for me to even write this part of the series but you and I know, those darn Parisienne’s eat much different than us, their American sisters and we can’t seem to get enough of learning their tricks…

But first off – let’s be real.
I mean, come on.
Have you seen a “real” Parisienne?

Lord love ’em, I am not trying to stereotype – this is all in fun…
but girlfriends are, for the most part, positively Napoleonic in size.


Once I was on the metro, and you’ll pardon me for saying this, but I could not stop staring at this women’s derriere, IT WAS SO SMALL!  And I don’t mean small like, Hollywood small, I mean small, like a CHILD’S or something.  I just kept thinking,
“I didn’t know an adult butt could be that small!”

So many of them, not all of course, but so many of our French friends are just… small.
It can really make a girl feel like Sasquatch.

Once I was in this little boutique (my favorite in Paris) on the
Blvd. St. Germain…

perhaps you know it…
Les Filles a la Vanille… 

Isn’t that the COOLEST place???  Well, anyways… David…
“Daa-veed” had to break the news to me that I wore the largest size in the store as he was helping me put an outfit together.


So, they have that going for them… those petite Parisienne’s and…
they smoke.
OK, not all of them.  But lot’s.

Audrey  Toutou

I wish I smoked.

I am kidding of COURSE!
But darned if you don’t always have something to do if you are a smoker.
You would never have to eat out of boredom, you could just light up a ciggy and die your slow death.
And, they smoke while dining out too… which I imagine breaks up their meal a bit, giving their brain time to realize they don’t need to eat anymore.

I’m serious.  Think about it.
If you’ve ever people watched at a Paris café then you know what I mean.
Smoking, talking, hands waving in animated gestures, nibbling here and there.

They also have that whole, amazing food going for them.
Good, glorious, colorful, decedent, sweet, herb infused, delicious food.

It seems that our Parisienne sisters don’t live in constant
fear of food like their paranoid American counterparts.
Jenny Craig hasn’t landed on their South Beach, holding hands with Dr. Atkins while snarfing down a Grapefruit but dreaming of a Slim Fast
 They have a real Nutrisystem and it’s called REAL FOOD.

Come on… that was good.

Delicious food.
The Parisienne surrounds herself with it.
From crepe stands to open air food markets in her neighborhood.
From her local baker to her favorite cheese shop.
She eats delicious, flavorful, full fat food and she does it often… because food is a PRIORITY for the French, and not an afterthought, she knows she will have such good food again and again with regularity so she doesn’t have to binge on that wedge of Brie, desperate for it’s creamy goodness… she knows she can easily have some more in a day or two.

I imagine the Parisienne has a sense of shame.
In that I mean, in many aspects Americans have done away with the shame to being very overweight – we accommodate ourselves with extra large movie seats, airplane seats, special plus sized stores and if we get too big we can use a little moped to drive around the grocery store.

Meep. Meep.

But for the French… well… if you are going to be told at a normal, healthy weight that you are the largest size in the store…
I guess that would limit your options a bit wouldn’t it?

It’s my guess that in such a beautiful culture there is a certain amount of pressure to garder la ligne 
or maintain ones figure.  I suppose that is good and bad for them just like our fading lack of shame is both good and bad for us.

In the meantime, I love to be inspired and I do find aspects of it very inspiring.

Now… how to eat like a Parisienne?
Stay tuned…

And for more info on the wonderful subject you must read the guru of eating like a Parisienne.   You can shop by clicking on the books.  Shopping Amazon thru Parisienne Farmgirl supports the time invested in this blog and my family and I thank you.

All images found with Goole images and are stock photography, source unknown,
from company websites such as the boutique photo (linked) or are public domain.


  1. Tutti Chic

    lol-they almost all smoke heavily-I think that has something to do with it. most europeans seem to smoke. the girls in milan Italy are pick thin but smoke like chimneys. they are enviable but smokey-lol!

  2. Papa, Mama and Buniq

    Tutti, the fact that they tend to eat real fats is going to have a great deal to do with the thinner frames. Butter, non hydrogenated lard and tallow, and raw coconut oil promote a less body fat, help keep the metabolism higher, and also keeping the arteries clear.
    Its a myth that fats that are solid at room temp are bad for you. They are soft and liquid at body temp, and never get sticky and hard like processed seed oils.

  3. Splenderosa

    Oh Lord, I haven’t a clue on this one…the lovely French girls are also very angular…not at all curvy. I have always thought this is why they can be topless on beaches. But I do know they eat portions far smaller than ours and seem to know they will eat again, whereas we sometimes load up like we won’t see a dinner table until next week. The smoking has a great deal to do with it also. But the diet of all Europeans seems to be more normal and organic than ours.
    You, of course, know what I mean.

  4. Rachel

    I’m reading a book that’s just out called French Kids Eat Everything. Very interesting about how the French raise their kids with regards to food, introducing them to things at a very early age that I’ve never eaten. It’s written by a PhD in Vancouver whose husband is French. They moved back to France for a year when her 2 girls were very small and picky eaters. It’s the store of how her family learned to eat the French way.

  5. Parisienne Farmgirl

    Sounds very interesting – you may like a series I did a few years back – “Teaching your Kids to Eat”
    Thank you for your comment!

  6. Anonymous

    first time i landed on your blog… you made me laugh so hard… tres funny… and so true. Just got back and do they smoke… and drink wine…

  7. Lylah Ledner

    Absolutely fun reading while farm chores wait and French Press is brewing. I should be out feeding baby goats….but instead….you captured my attention. Delightful friend….xoxo lylah

  8. Corrine

    From birth there are differences. In general, I think you are correct in that the French genetic heritage brings forth a smaller size and stature for the French lady. Their introduction to food, as children, is as stated. Everything is tried and tried again. No Happy Meal instead of asparagus for these little darlings.

    The drive to maintain the figure is a life-time pursuit there as well. As is the 20 hour work week. You have time to savor each morsel when your schedule is so forgiving. You can wander the markets, choose only very special items for each freshly cooked meal, no supermarket stock up once a week. I think this sounds a little snarky, that is not the intent, but their lifestyle is so different from ours.

    And last, but certainly not least, is a personal observation. When last in Paris I too noted the small size of a charming lady assisting me in a Perfumerie. She was dressed in a lovely black pencil skirt, knee length, a white blouse, a black with white trim cardigan-style Chanel sweater, multiple strands of pearls and chains and black stiletto’s. Blouse was not so clean at the collar, that bothered me. Closer examination showed the sweater needed dry-cleaning. But the big thing was the over-powering scent of cigarette smoke and one of their signature perfumes. Yuk! Breaks the spell of French style for me.

    Your interpretation of French style is, to me, right on. Not false or superficial. You are lovely and represent the best the American style has to offer. Keep up the great work and the wonderful writings that force us to think beyond our own experience.

  9. cestMoi Sandy

    Hey Angela,

    Too funny tres funny indeed!
    You forgot to add one thing though…
    if you don’t mind adding to your funny article that just made me totally laugh.
    They all drink a good glass of wine.
    It is a must. Starts already at a young age.
    Here they all think it is so bad for us. So teens tend to overdo it because they are not allowed to…
    So in Paris (and Holland) for that matter we had a good glass a wine before or during our lunch and dinner.

    Also… I think we/us you all that are Americaine and Born and raised here grew up to much with all that stuff that is prepacked, prefixed easier for the consumer type of meals. I had not ever heard of a tv dinner before I came here.
    The preservatives and everything else added… the diet, the low fat, the pasteurized, it is all NOT good for us.
    Even sadder, I think the makers no it too.

    Well, anywho… If you would visit Holland my dear you would be considered a Medium…
    Woman are a little taller and heavy boned there.

    I think we got away from our good meals that we used to have and changed our diets because of convenience… the running around with the kids.

    Well, I could go on forever, but I need to give someone else a turn.
    Would love to go there and visit that boutique and say hi to Daa-veed – Hey Angela? Wanna go together (lol) and have a glass of wine while we are at it?

    Make it a wonderful day!

    Thanks for the laugh

  10. à la parisienne

    I agree that the French tend to have much better eating habits and the result is a populace with less weight problems. (It doesn’t hurt that they also walk everywhere–too bad everything in Texas is so spread out!) In all of the times I’ve visited France (not just Paris) I think I only saw two or three overweight women. Even the older women whose metabolisms have slowed down were slim–to me that was the most incredible thing to witness.
    I remember returning to Chicago O’Hare airport from a 10 day trip in France and Italy and my husband and I were honestly shocked by the number of obese people we saw just in the airport in 20 minutes. I guess being away from home just 10 days made us more sensitive to the state of our own country.

    I just finished reading the book French Women for All Seasons (the sequel to French Women Don’t Get Fat)and found it very interesting and inspiring!



  11. africanaussie

    Oh I am looking forward to the sequel. It just sounds too easy doesn’t it? I do think they walk everywhere as well… and carry a tiny basket to buy fresh food from the market daily. Or out to the garden to pick fresh produce.

  12. Susan Hawthorne

    I loved this post-that little store looks adorable! Wonderfully witty post!

  13. peggy

    I love that you are doing this series right now, as I am half way through my 7th wee of doing weight watchers. I am learning to bulk up my diet with fresh veggies and fruits, then adding healthy grains and protein. But, I am sorry to say that I inherited the ginormous Danish bones of my dad, not the delicate French ones of my mom. Oh well, I love learning how to eat better and am looking forward to exploring the numerous farmers markets we have here in Portland.
    Thanks so much.
    Oh and did you get the little book? The Laura Ingalls Wilder one? Just wanted to make sure it got there in one piece.

  14. Erika Roberts

    Oh my goodness, I love this post! Hilarious and so TRUE. Everything seemed so fresh when I went there to visit and they walk everywhere. On cobble stone, up and down stairs to the metro and all in heels it seemed. Looking forward to more on the subject!

  15. La Dolce Vita Girl

    Oh, now THAT is funny! Excellente post! Although, I am sure that those French babes eat very few carbs! 🙂 Thx Angela, I needed the chuckle.

  16. baju muslim murah

    This really is wonderful article ! I simply love’d it !

  17. Joannah Labrador

    So true! When I was in Paris, I was excited about doing a little shopping. I was 5’8″ and 135# at the time. Could hardly find anything to fit! My broad shoulders posed a problem in finding cute tops or dresses that fit. My sister, who is 5’6″ had an easier time.

    While I was there, I ate to my heart’s content, and I enjoyed a glass of wine with lunch and dinner. Oh, I so want to go back to France!!! It’s been seven years. Too long…

  18. Lisa DeNunzio

    You certainly have sparked some great conversation with this post. Yes, the French seem to eat cheese and pate’ like its going out of style, but with no adverse effects. I remember when I was tres young, living in NYC, I would weigh myself every day. It wasn’t until I stopped obsessing that I actually lost some pounds. Go figure. Best, Lisa



  1. Eat Like a Parisienne, Work Out Like an American: Part III - […] after.   If you’ve missed it, You will want to start at the beginning of this series with  Part…

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