I’ve come across this good article on the BBC about the French art de vivre and its decline in France. Worth a read. I particularly like this quote, which I find somehow a bit true:
“The old French art de vivre is still there. It’s an ideal. It’s a bit like the ideal of an English gentleman. You don’t often find an English gentleman, but the ideal is there and it informs society as a whole,” he says.
“It is the same with our art de vivre. Of course times have changed, but it still survives. It is that feeling you get in France that in human relations we need to do more than just conduct business. We have a duty to entertain, to converse. And in France – thanks to our education system – we still have that ability to converse in a general, universalist way that has been lost elsewhere.
“That is the art de vivre. It is about taking your time. And wine is part of it, because with wine you have to take your time.
“After all, that is one of the great things about wine. You can’t swig it.”