Being French – More Than Just a Book Review

By Audrey van Petegem, Chief Editor

Let me start this article by saying that I want to share with you a book that has literally brought new life into this aging body, mind and soul of mine. I learned about this book when Esther Perel recommended it after reading my article that mentioned her TedTV video on Love and Desire in a Long-Term Relationship.

Being French Book

The author, François Roland, is a self-proclaimed quintessential Frenchman, who knows personally about women, making love and living a sensual life. Not sure if this was a book for me, I grabbed the sample chapter for my Kindle to see if it was all that it claimed to be. Let's just say I quickly bought the book after reading the first chapter!

Encouraged by many to write the book, Being French! A Frenchman's Guide to a More Sensual Life, François felt that he may have something to offer on this topic, particularly to North Americans. And he did not fail to deliver. He gives hope to those who have not found love or a sensual life, shares how to reignite the passion in one's marriage and gives insight to both sexes on the opposite sex.

As I read through the pages of this book, I not only felt the changes that were happening in me but I could actually see them. I could see I walked more confidently with a new lightness in my step. I was starting to feel better about myself. I felt empowered. As he expresses in his book, “I make you see your own beauty and just from that you stretch even more beautiful. You let it blossom because it starts to radiate from inside you.” How could you not feel different after reading those words!

I really started noticing some major changes when I took François' advice and bought some sexy panties. I know this sounds crazy but it is true. There is a reason he dedicates a whole chapter on this subject. He encourages women to treat themselves and wear sexy panties for the pure “sensual femininity” of it. He goes onto say that it is important to “create an inner picture of the sensual woman you feel like being today”.  It makes a big difference for one's self-image to be wearing sexy lingerie instead of granny undies. I must say, French women may have something here! I do feel sexier just knowing that under my plain jeans I am wearing some very fine lingerie.

Further in the book, François addresses self-image in a chapter aptly titled, Real Bodies. He not only gives us permission to accept our bodies as they are, but also explains why a real body is far more sensual than one that is perfect (even though there is no such thing). A body devoid of lines, scars, hair and imperfections is like eating a rice cake for dinner. A full course meal with all the extras is far more appetizing! Do you not agree?

So, here I sit, reading this book while wearing my sexy undies, feeling my body is beautiful and I get to the chapter on Images and Sensual Life.

But wait, before I continue, I must digress for a moment to tell you what my husband said to me. One morning as I am dressing, he looks over and says, “Are you working out?” I stared at him with a quizzical look on my face. He continued to say that my body is looking great. Hum, I find this interesting because no, I am not working out. What I am doing is feeling better about myself. I am feeling more sensual and it is actually showing! Woot! François' words are working their magic!

So, back to the chapter on Images… I took this chapter to task and started photographing myself with gusto! I am here to tell you that to look at yourself in a mirror is very different than seeing a photo of yourself. Initially I was taking photos with my face in them and I found I was paying too much attention on how I “looked” as opposed to studying my body. When I took my face out of the equation it became a very personal and sensual journey to self enlightenment. I saw the good, the bad and, quite frankly, the ugly. But what also surprised me was that I was a little turned on by my body. It was indeed sexy and desirable. I started playing Being French photowith different locations, lighting and so on. I started dressing provocatively, such as with just my husband's shirt on. Initially I did these for me and then I really wanted to share them!

These photos have completely transformed our marriage. Our sex life, of course, has changed over the years with all sorts of ups and downs, with my libido waning to almost nonexistence over these last few years. My husband would always say to me, “What can I do?” and I always rebutted saying that it was not about him but me. I had no idea how true this statement was until I read this book.

Since I have learned to enjoy my aging body by touching it, looking at it and appreciating it for what it is, it has, in turn, wanted me to be touched, to be seen and yes, desired. It has brought back much of the joy in our love making.

If I could, I would love to sit down with François, over a cup of tea, and tell him how his book has transformed this woman of 50 into someone whose sensuality has been reawakened by his wit, cleverness and steamy stories. 50 Shades of Grey has nothing on real life. Oh la la!

You can buy his book on Amazon.


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7 Responses to Being French – More Than Just a Book Review

  1. Love this and love the idea of photographing yourself. I wrote a 30 day series on my blog about awakening the sensuous and in the process had a similar sort of revelation. The more I read and thought of myself as ‘that’ person, the more engaged and sensuous I became.
    Great review–I will be buying the book and going back to read/ watch Perel again.

  2. Sylvia says:

    Last weekend my Mr French took me dress shopping. Super fun (and hot) to watch him eat me alive with his eyes as I played dress up trying all different kinds of looks!

  3. Cacie says:

    I was delighted to stumble on your fabulous and very courageous review of a book I absolutely adore.  This book changed my life too, making me see myself in an entirely new way … entire, whole, complete.  Before reading Being French! I was a wife, an employee, a friend … but I’d lost touch with something vital in my life … my sensual being as a woman. As you say, I now dress differently for myself and I feel more confident not only in my clothes but also in my skin.  I love the chapter on sleeping naked, something I hadn’t really done before.  It’s surprising what a little change like that can bring.  Since reading Being French, it’s the only way I sleep, and it feels luxurious to lie in bed with just the soft sheets against my skin.  All of the sensual stories are exciting, intriguing, and just plain fun to read, and I’ve also worked my way through the recommended movies at the back of the book, each of which offers insights on living more sensually.  Thanks for telling other women about this life-changing book.  I’ve been recommending it to my friends too.

    • Audrey says:

      Wow Cacie! Thanks for sharing! Monsieur Roland does have a way with words, which is, most definitely, part of his charm, but it his advice that really hits home. This is a perfect book for a book club to talk about!

  4. -> Sylvia

    I had some delicious moments like that with my « chéries » and yes there is « toujours » an obvious benefit to be company for a woman shopping for dresses, let alone panties! And maybe that is the reason why Frenchmen are said to be so easy and patient around women shopping. You know it’s like children on their best behaviours in the kitchen, when mommy is baking cakes. Not that they are big fans of handing things, helping and washing the dishes after, but hey, they get to lick the mixing the bowl. So it makes you sort of the cream in the bowl! 🙂

    Now maybe let me give a little excerpt of Being French in the “Flirtation” chapter, where I address Frenchmen ways around women:

    “In French Toast, a very witty book about our French nature, Harriet Welty Rochefort, an American woman married to a Frenchman, brings an interesting light on this propensity of Frenchmen to so easily come on to a woman but to just as easily draw back with no sign of anger, if she doesn’t wish to respond. It’s fun to see how this ping-pong of French and American cultures goes, since Harriet quotes Elisabeth Badinter5 on the easiness of Frenchmen to be around when women are doing women’s things and on something I’d surmised already, that the Rambo or Terminator super macho kind of guys have no equivalent in France.

    Summarizing the range of possible outcomes from French flirtations, yes, while they can go nowhere at all, from time to time they can absolutely lead to real sensual encounters, and it’s up to people to go there or not as they see fit. So, in any group of French men and women, all these nuances in flirting will offer each one the level of involvement he or she wishes to have. But one of the best results is that it will tend to soften all the little conflicts that can arise in work situations.”

    Voilà 🙂 More on the book in my blog :

  5. Oki, I really liked it! Well done and very nicely said, Audrey!

    I’m giving echo and doing justice to this striking and so encouraging article, here:

    The Succulent Wife : A Very Witty Review on Being French

    Yours truly, ladies!

    François Roland

  6. Pingback: Defining My Own Beauty Now That I’m Fifty | The Succulent Wife

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