Best tips to acquire that French “Je Ne Sais Quoi”

Best tips to acquire that French “Je Ne Sais Quoi”

We like to have a bit of fun once in a while, so I thought I would put together a few tips on how you too can show off a bit of that Parisian “Je ne sais quoi”. With tongue firmly in cheek, here we go:

How to acquire that French "Je Ne Sais Quoi"

Yield: 1 Parisian
Active Time: 7 days
Total Time: 7 days
Difficulty: Easy

Wondering how where French people get that delightful "Je ne sais quoi"? Wonder no more, with these tips you too will be able to pull off that can Parisian insouciance.


  • 1 Striped shirt
  • 1 baguette
  • 1 bottle of wine


  • One Parisian sneer



  1. Wear matching underwear.
  2. Claim to not own a single sweatpant or set of tights.
  3. Dress up fully before you go outside to throw out the garbage.
  4. Wear a black bra under a white t-shirt.
  5. Buy your spouse a mauve slim-cut pant.
  6. Laugh at tourists walking around with a beret.

With Friends

  1. Know how to say "putain" to express sadness, anger, joy, disgust, surprise, and confusion.
  2. Know how to pull off the multiple "la's" in Ohh la la la la la la!
  3. Do not respond to messages from friends who ask you if you are available for drinks.
  4. Plan drinks with friends 3 months ahead of schedule.
  5. Do the "bises" to everybody (man or woman).
  6. Never talk about money.
  7. Regularly complain about the government in power.
  8. Spend 4 hours over dinner complaining about the government in power.

Food and Drink

  1. Two sips of coffee in a tiny cup is fine, you do not need a Starbucks size mug.
  2. Line up for 20 minutes up to buy a €1.50 baguette.
  3. Buy a €30 wine from Nicolas (a fine wine store) when a €3 wine from the supermarket would have been fine.
  4. Have a piece of baguette, ham, and cigarette for dinner.
  5. Eat only soup in the winter, but declare that you don't diet.
  6. Don't be afraid to tell anyone if they have lost weight or put on a few kilos.

Around Town

  1. Carry a reusable tote bag everywhere.
  2. Ride a bicycle regularly without a helmet.
  3. Be confident enough to ignore the rules of the road when riding that bike.
  4. Know where to place your Pass Navigo in your purse/wallet so that you can scan through the metro without taking it out.
  5. Buy flowers regularly.
  6. Know that the correct way to carry your flowers in the metro is upside-down.
  7. Visit the doctor because your legs feel "heavy".

At Home

  1. Do not put curtains or blinds on your windows so that everyone can see your "je ne sais quoi".
  2. Live in a building with no elevator. It is good for the butt anyway.
  3. Scoff at people who move outside of Paris.
  4. Move outside of Paris when you expecting your first baby.


If you feel yourself losing your "Je ne sais quoi", book a flight to Paris immediately to re-immerse yourself in more Frenchness.

So how Parisian are you? Do you have that “je ne sais quoi yet”? Comment below and let me know! A bientôt!

☞ RELATED POST: Living in Paris: the Good, the Bad & the Ugly


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