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Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide To Finding Her Inner French Girl
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Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide To Finding Her Inner French Girl

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  1,914 Ratings  ·  177 Reviews
Provocative and practical, lively and intelligent, Entre Nous unlocks the mystery of the French girl and the secrets of her self-possession. Why do French women always look inimitably stylish? How do they manage to sit in a café for a three-course lunch and a glass of wine...by themselves? What gives them the certainty that allows them to refuse anything-whether a man, a j ...more
Paperback, 242 pages
Published May 1st 2004 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published 2003)
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Les Misérables by Victor HugoA Moveable Feast by Ernest HemingwayA Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensMy Life in France by Julia ChildThe Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Books About Paris
47th out of 458 books — 477 voters
Entre Nous by Debra OllivierAll You Need to Be Impossibly French by Helena Frith PowellLessons From Madame Chic by Jennifer L. ScottWhat French Women Know  About Love, Sex and Other Matters of ... by Debra OllivierWords in a French Life by Kristin Espinasse
French Allure
1st out of 19 books — 9 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Eleanor
Jan 15, 2009 Eleanor rated it it was ok
Okay, I knew this book would be silly, but I have to say, it's pretty dumb. If all French girls are white, heterosexual and rich then maybe the author has a point about how to live like a French girl. For example, she says things like "Every French girl has a country home..." uh, really? She does dispense some good advice, like be self-possessed, think before you speak, edit your wardrobe, enjoy life and don't count calories, but are those trains particularly French? I'm not sure. The best part ...more
Rachel
Jul 15, 2010 Rachel rated it liked it
My intellectual pride doesn't want me to list this on my bookshelf (could that be why I just remembered to review Jorge Luis Borges?), but I actually found this more interesting and thought-provoking than expected (and an exceedingly quick read). I checked it out from the library after seeing it somewhere, and I was expecting to chuckle all the way through at the stereotypes before throwing it down in self-righteous disgust.

Of course this is lightweight chick nonfiction, and best stayed away fro
...more
Hilari
Apr 25, 2009 Hilari rated it it was ok
Well, it started off strong, but then it started to feel like Ollivier was the geeky chick in the lunch room who wants so badly to be liked by the popular girls that she fails to realize they are making fun of her. By the end of the book I no longer wanted to find my inner French girl, I really wanted to have her exorcised. The author is impressed by the French and their connection to family - maybe she needs to examine her own lack of family ties because it didn't seem that odd to me. And yet i ...more
Jennifer Holland
Aug 17, 2007 Jennifer Holland rated it really liked it
Okay, I read the first half of this book with relish (wine and chocolate with every dinner? nights in with Proust? Oui-oui!) and then sort of lost steam. That French women think baby showers are bad luck and like bed ruffles is not as interesting to me as their coquettishness and rampant nude-bathing, on which I wish Ollivier had further expounded.

The book is worth reading if just for the film recommendations and "French Girls We Love" profiles.
Nicole
Aug 17, 2011 Nicole rated it did not like it
I'm a hardcore francophile but this book disgusts me. It's snide and stuck-up and overly generalistic. I've lived in France and I could count on one hand the number of women I met who fall into the author's stereotype. There is NOTHING original about her grand statements either. "The French girl is always fashionable. The French girl loves food. The French girl doesn't live to work." Blah, blah, blah. The worst thing about this book though is how hypocritical it is. The whole "point" of the book ...more
Olga
Jun 12, 2011 Olga rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Debra Ollivier is a California girl who’s lived in France for 10 years. There she married her husband, had two children and discovered what being a French girl is all about, beyond the stereotype of thin and stylish. And let me tell you, it's not all about wine and cheese and fancy lingerie.

I’ve always had a soft spot for all things French. Some of my favorite authors are Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas Pere, Anne Golon and I dream of being able to read their books without translation. The little
...more
Sandra
It's fine, a quick read. I like it because I love lists--it had lists of "things every house should have" (e.g. "lavatory paper" and "eggs" ... I don't know, I love the mundane... and something called "Spontex"...), lists of clothes, etc.--this is why it's 3 star instead of 2 star. But I don't really recommend it for anyone else for any other reason. It's sort of only skin deep, but if you're looking for a light read, it fits the bill.

If you really want some deeper insight into French culture, h
...more
Taraelliott08
Jan 16, 2013 Taraelliott08 rated it it was ok
While it is a fun read at times, it is filled with ridiculous generalizations of both French women and Americans. I was constantly offended by the American stereotype and I end up yelling things like, "I can cook!" "I'm not fat!" "I'm not vain, shallow, or fake!" "I don't wear pajamas out of the house!" Also, every quote coming from the author's French friends was offensive and did not help the snooty French stereotype. It was so infuriating! I also found offensivee the idea that Americans don't ...more
Jaymi Boswell
Mar 29, 2008 Jaymi Boswell rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: all Francophiles and those that think they are better than the French.
Recommended to Jaymi by: Anthropologie.
Shelves: non-fiction-fun
I bought this at Anthropologie. I love that store. I can't fit the clothing there, so I buy all the books. This book is great. I read it once a year at least. It's very silly. It tells you how to awaken the inner-french girl in you. Purrrrr. I like that each section gives you suggestions on books, movies, and has great little French quotes. Oooh la laaaah.
Helynne
May 19, 2009 Helynne rated it really liked it
I have always been astounded at the sheer number of books of this ilk that describe how the French have a certain "je ne sais quoi" that the rest of us philistine Americans can and should emulate. And it's always the French who seem to hold our fascination and inspire our desire to imitate. For example, you never see this kind of a book urging us to find our inner German, Italian, Japanese, Swedish, Russian, Mexican or any other kind of a girl. We just all seem to want to be more French. (Well, ...more
Jeanne
Aug 18, 2008 Jeanne rated it liked it
Recommends it for: women
Recommended to Jeanne by: Karen
I really liked some of this book and really hated other parts. First, the ugly--The author promotes the French amoral, socialistic, atheististic values, or lack thereof, and wonders why Americans aren't more liberal. Huh? Anyway, I prefer the old-fashioned American values, like open doors, honesty, and hard work.

This was an easy, fast read, and was fun to read about French history, authors, and other French things, which I love. I liked the promotion of the idea of "living a beautiful life." --n
...more
Phyllis
Jan 08, 2014 Phyllis rated it it was ok
I was about 98% I would mainly be reading this book for irritainment purposes, but I had no idea just how off the charts irritating it would get. For starters, that "Finding Your Inner French Girl" subtitle. I didn't realize that Debra Ollivier basically makes the term "French Girl" a total state of mind and possibly trademarked brand name, and it's used constantly. On every page. And since one of my ultimate pedantic crank pet peeves is when people refer to women as girls, this got really, real ...more
Susan
Sep 02, 2013 Susan rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the read and the ride through Paris via Debra Ollivier's eyes. I am so proud to be an American but have always loved France aussi. I hope American/French cultures continue our
friendship. I now want to return to Paris...but if not meant to be...I now have lots of les Films and Les Livers to explore...and I will. In fact, I ordered Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris' from Amazon just last night when I finished reading this uplifting book on Paris. Oh , musique aussi,
I am playing 'Amelie'
...more
Kerry
Aug 20, 2016 Kerry rated it it was ok
The largest issue with this book is that the advice contained only works if you live in France or among others who share French cultural norms. Cultivating "mystery" by talking only about politics or books to people who are used to being open--and used to others being open--will only result in alienation and misinterpretation--particularly if you continue this tactic for eight years, like one of the author's friends . . . you'll be lucky if those "friends" stick around for so long. Likewise, unl ...more
Bookish Jen
Sep 02, 2015 Bookish Jen rated it it was amazing
What is it about French women? They eat rich, calorie-laden food, yet are impossibly thin. They are effortlessly stylish, doing more with one scarf than most women do with an entire outfit. They are sophisticated and intellectual, not crass and fatuous. French women just have that, how does it go? Ah, oui, je ne sais quoi.

Yes, I do know I just described French women using a few clichés (great French word, cliché, non?), but sometimes clichés are clichés because they are true. And being a huge Fr
...more
Redfox5
Sep 21, 2014 Redfox5 rated it it was ok
This is another one of those books that was given to me and I read just incase I miss anything amazing. It is not a book I would have picked out for myself, I have no desire to find my inner French girl but apparently I've already found her.

I have the French attitude to my looks, I like them. I wouldn't want to look like anyone else but me. Saying this out loud to fellow Brits and I guess American's makes me sound vain, like it's wrong to be happy about how I look. I guess I'd fit right in with
...more
Marsha
Witty, insightful and filled with tips, advice and careful observations, this book is about living the French way, the happy way, a way filled with insouciance, style, leisure, pleasure and, above all, self confidence. There is no uncertainty bred into the French girl’s way of living. She’s not constantly re-inventing herself or trying to be all things to all people (multi-tasking? Who has the time?). She learns to be who she is and doesn’t define herself by what she does for a living. She knows ...more
Nicky
Nov 07, 2011 Nicky rated it it was ok
Shelves: borrowed, xx, 2011, ooh-la-la
Most of the advice was kind of obnoxious and generic. French girls savor their food. French girls take care of their skin. French girls save up for a Birkin bag and wear it for the rest of their lives. French girls don't care if their husbands have mistresses.

The most useful part was the bit about how to shop for fruit at a farmer's market.
Ambreen
Aug 27, 2007 Ambreen rated it liked it
I should be Clementine in my next life. I really just LOVE how Europeans, especially Latin women, live. Lovely ladies, read this book, and smile as you live as pleasantly, tastefully and yet humbly like these women.

FOR A FUN COMPARISON OF A PERFECTLY PARADOX AMERICAN LIFE, READ: The Joys of Much Too Much.
Shannon
Sep 04, 2007 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit it. I'm a little embarrassed to be adding this to my list. But I can't help it - it's one of those books that I love going back to and re-reading chapters when I'm stuck in bed with a cold. Or if I just want a push to rent a movie. Unfortunately, the Blockbuster in Yardley never had Jules et Jim.
cloudyskye
Feb 06, 2013 cloudyskye rated it did not like it
Way too gushing and unrealistic. Pity, the book looked so nice and promising, which is why I actually bought it. But how can I take someone seriously who considers going topless the height of sophistication which she longs to achieve? Please!!! Chucked this one out, and good riddance.
Christine
Jan 17, 2014 Christine rated it really liked it
I got this from my sister for my birthday and really liked it. I’m interested in all things French so it was really cool reading about the whole French lifestyle. I really liked the way they recommended French films like Chocolat or Amélie and mentioned different French women we love. It made me want to go back to France again – I’d do some research this time though and not end up in the dodgy end and would avoid the metro at night.

Only thing that disappointed me about this book was the way the
...more
Kristine
Nov 23, 2015 Kristine rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot recommend this book. I am ashamed that I paid for it. Upon completing it, I felt like the author owed me several hours of wasted time and a full refund.

This book is not about finding one's inner French girl.

This book is nothing more than page after page of an author complaining about France not being America and the French not being American. Perhaps if the author had not be obsessed with the notion that the French should live as Americans do, she may have been able to write about her F
...more
Erica
Dec 01, 2008 Erica rated it it was amazing
First, a warning: this book would definitely be considered “women-oriented.” (What my fiancé would call a “chick-book.”) It is chalk full of cultural comparisons between American women and French women. Differences in how we dress, shop, eat, travel, and live mainly comprise the saucy book which includes many fun French vocabulary words to attempt. While the book is more self-help than fiction, it is fun to read in terms of comparisons of the two cultures it examines. The best part of the book i ...more
Kate  Maxwell
Apr 21, 2011 Kate Maxwell rated it liked it
Recommends it for: who wants to learn a little more about French women and themselves
Recommended to Kate by: my daughter
This little book that is supposed to help you find your Inner French Girl is more of a very quick recount of what makes the French Girl who she is...the way she takes care of her skin, her innate sensuality, her passion for rich foods while maintaining a perfect figure, being secure with whatever her figure is, and how her house has that certain je ne sais quoi, while never letting her secrets out. I was left wanting... wanting to be able to incorporate some aspects of a French Girl’s world, and ...more
Celeste Rousselot
Mar 08, 2013 Celeste Rousselot rated it really liked it
What a fun, relaxing book! Wouldn't it be cool to be a French woman, for a while anyway? The author married a Frenchman years ago, and in so doing observed and adopted enough French culture to find herself part American/part French. She points out the less harried, more family-oriented spirit of the French seems to be so much healthier. More Latin- than Puritan-oriented, they do not believe in or do multitasking well. When they cook, they cook; when they eat and drink wine, they take a long time ...more
JDAZDesigns
Feb 21, 2012 JDAZDesigns rated it liked it
Just because I love French wine, Le Cordon Bleu, pate de foie gras, Hermes and some form of le tour eiffel can be found in every room in my house, does not mean I'm a Francophile.

I also don't read self-help books. Unless you consider The Gospel According to Coco Chanel, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics or Confessions of a Window Dresser to be self-help books.

I don't want to be a girl. Thankyouverymuch. I'm comfortable being who I am. It took me long enough to get here, I'm going to enjoy it.

But
...more
Rebecca
Dec 17, 2013 Rebecca rated it liked it
Shelves: etiquette
A recent reviewer of this book said, "My intellectual pride doesn't want me to list this on my bookshelf (could that be why I just remembered to review Jorge Luis Borges?), but I actually found this more interesting and thought-provoking than expected (and an exceedingly quick read)."

She is spot-on. I'm an American woman with very strong German and Greek presences in my family....I enjoy French culture, but do not desire to BE a French woman out of some insecurity about my own roots. I love rea
...more
Evin
Feb 14, 2009 Evin rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Evin by: My Mom
Years ago, I was given Entre Nous: A Woman’s Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl by Debra Ollivier for Christmas from my mother. At the time, I thought it would be a novelty read with bits about style and being chic without trying, but it offered much more than that. I read it in bits, which works with its composition and how the piece is broken into sections and sidebars. Some may find it trite, but I found it to be lovely. I came away focused on quality over quantity. One major lesson was t ...more
Nina Singhapakdi
Mar 09, 2016 Nina Singhapakdi rated it liked it
This book was okay... I found a lot of the info to be generalizations instead of reality. It was a fun entertaining read. Another reviewer described the author as coming off as someone who believes she's one of a certain group without realizing that everyone in that group is making fun of her. As harsh as that sounds, that tone did reveal itself. Most of the info in the book, I already knew being raised by a French mother and so the book was very sentimental.
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Ollivier lived in France for over ten years, had her two children there, and became a dual citizen. She currently divides her time between Paris and Los Angeles, where she lives with her family, and is at work on a historical novel.
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“She is focused on living her own full life, following her own agenda and cultivating her actual self, rather than reinventing herself or pining away to be someone she's not.” 9 likes
“Feed your mind. Cultivate impressions and opinions. Know what you think.” 8 likes
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