Do you ever find yourself in a moment of inexplicable, utter contentment? There are times that inspire universal satisfaction. Tearing into a freshly baked loaf of bread. Seeing the first snowfall of winter. Being able to crawl into bed at the end of a busy day. These are times that exemplify the joy of living, or what the French call joie de vivre. Here are a few ways to incorporate joie de vivre on your next vacation or in your everyday life.
The French are known for keeping daily rituals, no matter the time they take. In cosmopolitan cities throughout the world—and in practically every city and town in the United States—taking more than an hour for lunch is unheard of. Not in France! Those who have lived in France know that they take mealtimes seriously. There’s no such thing as rushing through meals to meet a deadline. There’s a reason why the French population has a relatively low obesity rate. French culture dictates one should savor every bite of the meal, and pair it with the perfect vintage, more often than not. After all, it gives your appetite a chance to catch up to your fork.
In smaller French villages—such as Villefranche-sur-Mer—it’s common for shops and banks to close for two hours in the middle of the day so employees can walk home or to a nearby restaurant for lunch. Even tinier cities like Toulon are known for taking an extended midday break. For visitors to these lovely, more intimate cities, take the opportunity to enjoy the serene nature as you peruse cobblestone streets in search of a welcoming café.
Unlike other Western countries, namely the United States and Great Britain, France does not have an affinity for binge drinking. Like their attitude with food, the French choose to savor wine along with the meal. And while other places throughout the world enjoy an aperitif—a drink taken before the meal—and a digestif—a drink enjoyed after a meal—this is not a common habit in France. True joie de vivre attitude involves lingering over the same glass of wine for hours and enjoying the conversation and togetherness rather than only the drink.
The best part of this way of living is that you can apply it anywhere in life—or anywhere around the globe! Sipping cocktails in the Caribbean? Let the sun wash over your face and enjoy being with people you love, rather than worrying about your next piña colada. It will only make your memories that much brighter when you look back on your vacation fondly.
Take time throughout your vacation to appreciate the small things in your day. Walking through town is a common habit in France, and it helps you get in exercise without planning. Only about half of the population even owns a car, compared to the 9 in 10 rate of car ownership in the United States. Set off on a garden stroll to breathe in refreshing, floral scents along your path. Need an unscheduled break? Enjoy stopping at a local café or bakery to indulge in a delicious treat. Meander down an unfamiliar street and find a cozy bookshop or a small museum waiting to be discovered.
Again, this is a wonderful habit to embrace anywhere. Try it the next time you’re walking down the street—or along a romantic beach—with your loved one. Being in the moment is always the right place to be.
Can’t wait to experience your place of contentment? Contact one of our travel advisors today to plan your dream itinerary. And with regular sailings to France and other world-renowned destinations on Royal Caribbean, you and your family will embrace true joie de vivre in no time.