If I say 'parisienne' (which incidentally means a woman from Paris as opposed to 'parisien' which means a man), what image does it conjure up in your mind?
Eiffel tower, baguette, French music, perfect hair? ....
As hard as it may be to generalise, there are some stereotypes that work. As if the women in paris become the archetypes of la femme française. We live in the country, although only an hour from Paris, and it's always easy to spot a parisienne in a dinner here.
Physically the real Parisienne is neat, well dressed and beautifully presented. She likes to stay very slim, and is very careful with her diet. (no surprises there!)
She enjoys Paris, can't imagine life possible outside of the city! She likes to snob the country dwellers but is actually delighted to be invited out of the city at the weekend.
She wears a minimum of make up, often choosing to emphasise either eyes or lips, rather than both. Her hair isn't always perfectly blow dried, often simply caught up in a soft unruly chignon à la Bardot.
She likes to dress well, but that doesn't always mean designer labels. The Parisienne will often mix one really good piece, be it a LBD, a great bag or wonderful shoes, with other more ordinary items from her wardrobe.
She works hard and runs around Paris all day long. She knows the Metro off by heart and is happy to jump on a velib to gain time and get some extra exercise. If she has children, she must find a jeune fille to pick them up from school and help them with homework until maman gets back.
She shops at small stores in her quartier, and in the Parisian street markets for her food. For her clothes she'll have a couple of favourite addresses.
If she's really sporty she'll take part in the race that carries her name 'La Parisienne' a half marathon run every May in Paris.
She loves to meet with a girlfriend for lunch, sitting out on terrace, chatting over a salad and espresso coffee.... and some things just never change!
photos 1 and 4 from La parisienne by ines de la fressange; other photos google