Harriet Welty Rochefort
Thomas Dunne Books
An engaging exploration of the style that permeates all things French—perfect for anyone looking to achieve that classic French flair
For Harriet Welty Rochefort, an American who has lived in France for many years with her very French husband, it’s clear that the French truly are singular in the way they live, act, and think—from the lightness of their pastries to the refinement of their Hermes scarves. They simply exude a certain je ne sais quoi that is a veritable art form. The French revel in the moment, appreciate the time spent in preparing a perfect feast, pay attention to the slightest detail--whether flowers on the table or a knockout accessory on a simple outfit--and work hard when not enjoying their (considerable) leisure time without an ounce of guilt. Their joie de vivre can come where you least expect it: for the French it’s better to have a chagrin d’amour than no amour at all, and for the Frenchman a day without discord is a day without a kick. They have fun (yes, fun !) when they fuss and feud, squabble and shrug.
When it comes to joie de vivre, Harriet is convinced the French are unbeatable. With good humor and genuine affection for the prickly, paradoxical, and pleasure-seeking Gauls, she takes the reader on her own personal journey through the often byzantine French mindset, sharing tips and tricks such as how to diet like a Frenchwoman and project confidence like a true Parisienne. In her signature warm, witty, and entertaining voice, Harriet shows how joie de vivre permeates the French way of life, precisely because it doesn’t include a “pursuit of happiness.” Fortunately, she discovered, you don’t have to “pursue” happiness in France. It pursues you.
“Rochefort, an American married to a Frenchman and living in the country for four decades, is a foreign observer of what it means to be French and, with wit and insight, offers advice on loving life the way her adopted country does…. Rochefort makes it hard to argue with a philosophy that advocates slowing your pace, being fully engaged by what’s in front of you and incorporating four-course meals into your week.” –Publishers Weekly
“Francophiles will love this book… Rochefort follows in the steps of Pamela Druckerman’s Bringing Up Bebe and Mireille Guilano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat.” –Library Journal
“Once again, Harriet Welty Rochefort perfectly deconstructs the mind and spirit of the French. Joie de Vivre picks up where Welty Rochefort's classic French Toast leaves off, exploring the French in all their alluring and baffling ways. Welty Rochefort's inimitable brand of humor and insight plus decades of expatriate living make her a consummate observer of the French. Culling from all walks of life and dipping into history, Joie de Vivre is a sheer pleasure, sure to become a must-read in the canon of books about the French.” –Debra Ollivier, national bestselling author of What French Women Know
"With humor and authority, Harriet Welty Rochefort provides the keys to understanding the French, while unlocking the secrets to 'the good life.’" -- Eleanor Beardsley, France correspondent for National Public Radio
“Wit, wry humor, and some deliciously withering words of wisdom make Harriet Welty Rochefort’s latest book a must for anyone hoping to understand French expressions of joie.”—David Downie, author of Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light.
“A great adventure of joie de vivre to read without moderation…” --André Cointreau, President of Le Cordon Bleu International
"Revelatory, rich in stories, Harriet Welty Rochefort’s insider take on the French is a compellingly entertaining read." –G. Y. Dryansky, author of Coquilles, Calva, and Crème
“Many writers have come to France and tried to write about its people and customs, with varied results. But very few "get" the French as well as Harriet Welty Rochefort. That's in part because she had the good sense to marry a Frenchman who is himself an astute observer of his own culture. But it's also due to Harriet's own unmatched powers of observation, openness to the subtleties of another society, and great skill at conveying to readers what she has found--as she demonstrates once again in the perceptive, lively and entertaining Joie de Vivre.” –Michael Balter, Contributing Correspondent for Science, food and travel writer, and adjunct professor of journalism at New York University
"This is more than another guide to France or an essay on some of its peculiarities. It's a very humorous, well-written, yet respectful cultural analysis of those aspects of French life too often hidden to the casual visitor, but necessary to know if one wants to experience the "joy for life" that defines that nation and its fascinating citizens." --Ronald C. Rosbottom, Professor of French and European Studies, Amherst College
Praise for French Toast:
"A classic!" —Diane Johnson, author of Le Divorce