The Little Black Book of a French Woman is a closely guarded secret.
This carnet d’adresses contains the detail of every boutique, seamstress, butcher, winery, florist, salon and food shop that she holds dear. It is how she hosts a stellar dinner party, why she is perfectly coiffed and where she finds the most extraordinary pieces for her home.
French society post monarchy was based on equalizing the population. Never again would the classes be at such extreme odds.
However being equal doesn’t have to mean that all things are equal and no one knows this more than a French woman.
To share a name with you is a sign of respect….of letting you in to her circle of trust. It doesn’t happen easily and it definitely does not happen if you ask.
You must be patient.
France is a word of mouth country. Many of the best places to eat, sleep and shop are not found on the internet. They are locations whose names are passed along verbally. Their reputations have been built over time and they have a steady, comfortable pace of business.
In other words, they are happy with what they have and prefer to retain the quality and service that they are known for.
To find these sources you have to be willing to put in the time and effort to unearth them.
Do I have my own carnet d’adresses? Absolutely.
It has been built up over years of travel and refined by years of living here full time.
My recent time in the north of France was spent driving and testing possible additions. Many new addresses made it in to my book. Many did not.
After all, a French woman needs to keep her standards high, n’est ce pas?
All photos via my french life board