Elaine’s 1999, Photo by Larry Fink

Living Lé Bon•Vivant Lifestyle

The photo above being captured by the late, great, lovely Larry Fink, in my opinion, is a picturesque perspective of what it’s like living a Bon Vivant Lifestyle. I came across this photo recently in search of some snazzy synonyms for “lifestyle blog”. Suddenly, Bon Vivant popped out of the page. have been divine timing, because I ended up finding the inspiration I so very much needed. Now, you might be asking yourself, what’s it mean to be a Bon Vivant? How does one go about living their kind of lifestyle? Or perhaps you’ve never heard of the word at all, either way, allow me to explain…

The phrase Bon Vivant is an expression adopted from the French, referring to “one found of good living” or as Americans say, “living the good life”. There are a few more definitions to describe the phrase like “A person who enjoys a sociable and luxurious lifestyle” which is probably the most associated term. My personal favorite is the one shown below.


bon vi·vant /ˌbän vēˈvänt/

A person devoted to refined sensuous enjoyment.


Bon Vivant’s are sensationalists at heart and anything that stimulates their sense is always at the top of their list. They live for adventure and love to explore, seeking a thrill from experiences unknown. They attain a certain admiration for a variety of cultures, cuisines, music & art, and the diversity of languages and literature.

They navigate through time and space, unapologetically, enjoying the ebb and flow of every experience they come to encounter. Graciously savoring the essence of each affair in a sweet and leisurely fashion. I remember when I used to moonlight as an Eastern European Model and flew to Cabo to meet a man I had an “arrangement” with for 10K a month. One of the most exciting and certainly the most adventurous trips I’ve ever taken. I was 24. Youth & Time are both fleeting. Enjoy your youth, enjoy your time, and remember it’s all about the journey.

George Plimpton, Jared Paul Stern, and Cameron Richardson, Fashion Shoot, Elaine’s, New York City, January 1999

To merely put it, bon vivant’s are your modern-day free spirit, gifted with grander and confidence in their character. They tend to carry a certain, how’d you say “Je ne seis quoi.” This social self-assuredness enables them to find something to talk about with almost anyone. They’re fun to have around, enticing, inviting & easy to understand. Entertaining, to say the least. If you’re ever feeling down and out, you’d be lucky to have a bon vivant bestie. You can always count on them to find a way to lift your spirits and help you find your spark again.

Bon Vivant’s love variety, just as much as they do when trying new food. Consider them cultural connoisseurs or equally elegant epicureans. Their world-class citizens and experts in their field. Essentially, they know that the external world is solely a series of seasonal events, and that the highest good and ultimate pleasure is freedom from worry and disturbance of peace. To simply exist in the zenith of sweet serenity. Troubles may come, and someday they will, but do your best and never fret. Bon Vivant’s are resilient and recover quite quickly in the face of adversity.

Being the realistic optimists that they are, they have an innate knowledge and inner knowing that things will balance out soon enough. That keeping positive mindset and plan of action produces positive results. So, if your ever stuck in a rut or feeling down and out always remember “This too shall pass”. More often than not, the term Bon Vivant is misconstrued with living luxuriously. Although a bon vivant’s bliss isn’t necessarily, always based on extravagance. The amount of money they have is secondary to the type of lifestyle they lead. Essentially, it’s anyone who exudes genuine gratitude in the luxury of living a leisurely life. Read that again.

As my grandmother Pearl would say, “Never tell anyone you don’t have any funds, just say your moneys in rotation.” Many of them aren’t anywhere near wealthy and aren’t driven by financial gain. But since they seek such sophistication and care for the quality of their experience, somehow, someway, they always seem to find the funds needed to finance their desires. If you genuinely like nice things and whole heartedly love the peaceful, happy feeling of doing what you enjoy brings you, then money should never be an issue. More often than not, it somehow seems to magically appear and when it does, don’t think about it too hard. Just consider it a wink from the universe.

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