A Woman Of A Certain Age

When I had shingles over the summer in France, I went to see the local doctor who inquired about my age. I laughed a bit at his question as I tried to be coy and said that I was not very young. The said doctor then explained to me how shingles can be very serious for those who are 60 plus years old. When I finally told him my age, he said to me in French, “Madame, you are not young or old. In France, we simply say that you’re a woman of a certain age.”  A certain age…wow.

Despite the blunt honesty, the doctor and his remarks kinda made me laugh. In my 20s and 30s, I came across articles on French women and aging. These articles often talked about how women of a certain age in France seem to embrace their mature selves without succumbing to surgical work and the desire to look young. When I read those articles, I always had an image of some chic matron in her 50’s as that older woman.  I just had NO idea that I now belong to the the demography of THE older woman, une femme d’un certain age (even though I am not yet 50).

Over the weekend, Richard pointed out some wonderful photos of French actress, Isabelle Huppert, in Madame Figaro. Relatively unknown here in the US, Huppert is known for playing obscure and complicated roles in film.  I googled some other photos of her on the internet and couldn’t stop admiring her understated glamour and femininity.  Can you believe she’s 61?  Now, that’s how I imagine a woman of a certain age would look…

Isabelle-Huppert-001.the guardian.1 Image via here

Isabelle Huppert 3 grain de music.1 Image via here

isabelle_huppert_2003_05_20 spokeo.1 Image via here

isabelle-huppert-16-03-1953-4-g.1 Image via here


  1. First of all, I am sure le medecin didn’t even believe you when you said your age since you look significantly younger. Secondly this actress is refreshingly beautiful and elegant and I wish more people would honor their age and see the beauty in it.

    • Tara – He did not show any reaction when I told him my age:-) I agree with you on how women should try their looks at whatever age. Bien dans sa peau, n’est-ce pas?

  2. Oui bien sur. My mom is a good example. I love her silky gray bob hair. Beautiful.

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