I could write an entire series of books on the wonders of living in Paris but one of the most wonderful things that I learned was to embrace the French culture of the weekend. When you first go to live in another country it takes only a few short weeks to feel like you are the greenest greenhorn that ever lived. The fact that 99% of shops are shut on a Sunday felt like the hardest thing to overcome. I wondered how on earth you could get everything done in just one day.
The first thing I learned was that the so called ‘big shop’ that we love and embrace in the UK does not exist in the same way in France. I have no idea what is different about the fresh produce but here in the UK it seems to last longer than it should, something I never really thought about until my first weeks in Paris. The fruit and vegetables did not keep for as long and it tasted way better, trust me on this. So smaller shops would be done on the way home, we would see what looked great and plan our meals accordingly. Of course other basics would be bought but without the ‘big shop’ a huge chunk of Saturday was free once more. A small food shop and still time to go and buy other things you needed.
So what do you do with Sunday? Sunday the parks are filled with families, people running, friends enjoying a picnic. Art galleries are full, museums too. And then there is brunch, brunch is course after course of leisurely food enjoyed with loved ones. We are all so aware that we have little time that we rush around all the time and we do not spend our downtime mindfully.
In this world where we are always ‘on’ and rushing around we have forgotten about how to truly slow down. I want to combat the fact that the concept of slow living has been reduced to a hashtag with another hashtag. I am fully aware of the irony but if you follow #leweekend52 on Instagram there will be weekly prompts and I invite you all to share your own quiet weekend.
- Write a letter
I used to be quite an avid pen pal, I found my buddies in the back of Wild About Animals magazine, please no judgment. I still have a box of special letters that I received tied up with ribbon, you cannot do that with an email! Whilst I appreciate every comment on stories and thumbs up I get nothing quite matches up to the joy of sitting down to read a physical letter except perhaps sitting down to write one. Get pen and paper out or even dig out an old typewriter if you have one, I have several. Write what comes into your head, spill your soul to a friend, spend the day returning to it, drink coffee and stare out of the window whilst you ponder what words you want to write next.